Forget iPhone 16 — Google Pixel 9's on-device AI features revealed in new leak

Google Pixel 8 Pro held in hand.
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Google has emerged as one of the leaders in phone AI features, though Apple is looking to make waves in the AI space with the iPhone 16. The Tensor chips enable the company to push many on-device AI features to its phones. And it looks like the Pixel 9 is on track to have even more AI features than the Pixel 8, which is saying something considering how many that phone had. 

According to a leak from AssembleDebug to the Google Pixel blog PiunikaWeb, the Pixel 9 series of smartphones is slated to have enhanced on-device AI capabilities. The report suggests features such as text-to-image conversions, extra Magic Compose functionality, the creation of intricate auto-reply suggestions and capabilities for text categorization and embedding. And it will all work without connecting to the cloud, which could be a game changer.

Information on these new features comes from digging through the code in the latest versions of Google's AI Core app and the Google Messages beta, so it should be fairly reliable unless Google changes its mind and decides these AI features aren't ready for primetime when the Pixel 9 launches later in 2024.

While many of the AI chatbots can handle those features and then some, what makes this potentially impressive is the on-device portion of the rumor. If accurate, that means the Pixel 9 would be able to handle all of these advanced AI capabilities without connecting to a server and sending your requests over the internet. The Pixel 8 has some of these features, but that phone relies on a cloud connection for some of its AI capabilities to work.

Not only is it more secure to keep the cloud out of the process, but it also makes the AI capabilities faster since the phone doesn't need to establish a connection. It also allows generative AI to happen even if the phone has poor cellular or Wi-Fi service.

It's worth noting that some of Samsung's Galaxy AI features work without a connection. And Google and Samsung have partnered on some of the AI features available on the Galaxy S24 series, such as Circle to Search. Some of these new Pixel 9 AI features could eventually come to Samsung phones, as the AI Core app (where the code was found) is specific to Google Pixel and Samsung devices. 

The advanced Gemini model is typically exclusive to Pixel devices. However, there are rumors that a partnership with Google will make some form of Gemini available for Apple's iPhone 16 models. There's no shortage of iPhone 16 AI rumors, so we're quite confident that Apple will offer plenty of features to compete with Google and Samsung. But based on this latest rumor it looks like Google is looking to stay in the lead in the AI race. 

For now, be sure to check out our Pixel 9 hub for all the latest rumors and leaks. And check out our Google I/O 2024 hub for the latest news around Google's big event next month. 

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Dave LeClair
Senior News Editor

Dave LeClair is the Senior News Editor for Tom's Guide, keeping his finger on the pulse of all things technology. He loves taking the complicated happenings in the tech world and explaining why they matter. Whether Apple is announcing the next big thing in the mobile space or a small startup advancing generative AI, Dave will apply his experience to help you figure out what's happening and why it's relevant to your life.