Android 14 just gave your old Pixel a big update — here's how

Google Pixel 7 review
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The Google Pixel 8 may have been in the spotlight since its launch last week, but Google hasn’t forgotten about the phones that came before it. Google's incoming Android 14 update is on the way with an extra-special bonus for the Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 7, designed to improve both battery life and the phones’ bad habit of overheating during use.

People have taken to Reddit after noticing the change in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 devices, noting that the latest Android release has left their phones running a lot smoother and cooler than before. It’s speculated that the latest Android version includes some under-the-hood optimizations for the phones’ Tensor chipsets — reducing their workload to reduce heat and power draw. 

The main problem with Google’s Tensor chips is that they’re a little bit behind the likes of Qualcomm and Apple. By relying on Samsung’s Exynos 5-nanometer node, the Google-designed chips aren’t as efficient as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and Apple’s A17 Pro, which use TSMC’s 4nm and 3nm process, respectively. 

Less efficiency generally means a chip has to work harder to get things done, which in turn increases the heat levels and requires more power from the battery. In fact, this could be why the last two Pixel phones have had such dreadful battery lives.

A secret upgrade

Google hasn’t revealed the specifics of this change, with no mention of CPU optimization in the Android 14 changelogs. Android Police speculates that it may have changed the CPU scheduler, and reduced the usage of the CPU's high-performance cores. You know, the ones that work harder and generate both heat and loss of battery in the process.

This isn’t going to magically boost your old Pixel’s battery life to levels comparable to an iPhone 15 Plus, nor will it completely eliminate heat production. But if what has been claimed over on Reddit applies to everyone, you may see a noticeable difference in the performance of your aging Pixel. And when your battery life is as bad as we found the Pixel 7’s to be during testing, you need all the help you can get. 

It is a little bit weird to see people aren’t complaining after a major Pixel software update though. Normally there’s outrage that something has gone wrong, and frankly, I’m glad to see things working out for the better for once.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.