The entire Pixel phone lineup recently received a handful of new capabilities thanks to the first “Pixel Feature Drop” update, but it looks like Google managed to sneak in a few extra Pixel 4 updates in as well.
Both XDA Developers and Android Police spotted a trio of Pixel 4 enhancements that weren’t covered as part of the initial feature drop package, despite including new features most Pixel 4 and 4 XL users would probably be excited for—such expanded eSIM support and better accuracy for GPS features and facial recognition.
Below is a quick rundown of the new Pixel 4 features included in the December Pixel Feature Drop, which itself is part of the December 2019 Android Security update for Pixel phones. You can download the update on by going to Settings > System > Advanced > System Update.
Better face recognition
The Pixel 4’s facial recognition capabilities will now get better over time thanks to machine learning.
Every time you unlock your Pixel 4 using the face unlock, the phone’s camera will snap a quick photo of you and use it to update its facial data. This will help your phone recognise you more quickly, and potentially at slightly different angles or lighting.
It’s worth noting that these extra photos are stored locally and securely in the phone’s Titan M chip, and don’t appear to be shared with Google or anyone else.
Dual-frequency GNSS support
Back in the original blog post for the first Pixel Feature Drop, “enhanced Google Maps accuracy” was listed among the Pixel 4 improvements, and it appears that dual-frequency Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signal support is part of that. In simple terms, this will enable your phone to connect to new signal frequencies so it can communicate with GPS satellites using two simultaneous frequencies for better location accuracy—specifically L1 and L5 or E1 and E5a frequencies.
T-Mobile eSIM support
The third shadow-dropped Pixel 4 feature is T-Mobile eSIM support. This will let your device download and use a virtual T-Mobile SIM card for network access and carrier services rather than a physical SIM card. eSIM support also means you can activate and use your phone on two different networks simultaneously by using an eSIM and physical SIM card for different carriers in the same phone.