Waiting for Google Pixel 5? Older Pixels just got these killer upgrades

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Pixel 5 might be the Google phone everyone's talking about, but the search giant's existing handsets will see a pretty comprehensive update this week that adds a number of features big and small.

An improvement made to the Adaptive Battery feature first introduced in Android Pie headlines the changes. Adaptive Battery is designed to predict how long your phone will last on a charge, and then use that information to adjust system resources appropriately to eke out the maximum possible longevity.

Google isn't precisely explaining how Adaptive Battery has been made better with this feature drop — simply that it should now extend battery life on devices as far back as the Pixel 2, which is really handy considering how poor the Pixel 4's endurance is.

Aside from battery tuning, Google also has revised one of its Digital Wellbeing features, formerly called Wind Down, into a new iteration called Bedtime. With this update, you'll now be able to configure the mode to automatically activate when you go to charge your phone at night, and you'll also be able to switch it on or off from your phone's Quick Toggles pane.

For those who have never used Wind Down, the feature turns the phone display grayscale and keeps it from lighting up overnight. A new Bedtime tab in the Clock app will also assist users in sticking to a healthier routine, especially during these strange times when so many people are working from home.

Google Recorder, one of the best Android apps out there and far and away our favorite for recording and transcription, will get even more useful with this update. Users will now be able to search, start and stop recordings with Google Assistant commands. Transcripts can also be exported directly to Google Docs, making the transition from recording to final product even more seamless.

Safety Check

(Image credit: Google)

The Pixels' personal safety suite will see enhancements, too. A new feature will allow you to set up a scheduled check-in time where you'll be required to confirm your safety. Should you fail to do so, your Pixel will automatically blast out an alert to all of your emergency contacts at once — a clever feature that, hopefully, you'll never have to use.

You can visit Google's blog, The Keyword, for more information surrounding this week's Pixel feature drop. With all the focus on the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 due closer to the end of the year, it's encouraging to see Google spread some love to its current handsets, and indicate that they haven't been forgotten in the mix.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.