Everything New in the June 2021 Pixel Drop Update

Everything New in the June 2021 Pixel Drop Update

Google is rolling out its latest Pixel Drop as part of the June 2021 Android security update. For those who don’t know, Pixel Drops are released throughout the year and add Pixel-specific features alongside the usual security patches all Android phones receive.

This month, Pixel users get several helpful features, like Locked Folders in Google Photos, a new Night Sight video mode, and a bunch of new Pride Month-themed wallpapers (which you can check out here).

All variants of the Pixel 5, 4, 4a, 4a 5G, 3, and 3a smartphones can download the update, but just like past Pixel Drops, some features are only available for specific Pixel devices. Below, we’ll cover all the new features in the June 2021 Pixel Drop, and note which phones can use them.

Night Sight is perfect for taking astrophotography videos [Pixel 4 and newer]

If you have a Pixel 4 or newer, your phone’s camera can now turn your Night Sight photos into videos, making it possible to take long-exposure photos and videos of the night sky at the same time. Night Sight exposures can last up to four minutes; your phone will speed up the footage into a quick time lapse of the stars moving across the sky.

Everything New in the June 2021 Pixel Drop Update

How to take a Night Sight video:

  1. Open the Camera app.
  2. Select “Night Sight” from the slider menu at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap the shutter to take the photo. (For best results, stabilise your phone with something secure like a tripod or stand.)
  4. Wait for the photo exposure to complete.
  5. When it’s done, tap to view the preview.
  6. Swipe right on the photo to see the video.

Put for-your-eyes-only images in a Locked Folder in Google Photos

Google Photos now lets you create a password-protected Locked Folder to store your “sensitive photos and videos,” as Google calls them. We know what you really mean, Google.

The Locked Folder is secured using a password or biometric lock (such as your face or fingerprint), and everything in the folder is stored locally — nothing is sent to the cloud or remotely accessible.

Everything New in the June 2021 Pixel Drop Update

How to set up a Google Photo Locked Folder

  1. Open Google Photos
  2. Go to Library > Utilities > Locked Folder
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions.

You can save new photos and videos directly to the locked folder upon taking them, or move content in your Google Photos library to the folder like so:

  1. Open a photo or video in Google Photos.
  2. Tap the three-dot icon and select “Move to Locked Folder.”
  3. Tap “Move” to confirm.

Google Assistant can answer your phone for you [Pixel 4 and newer]

When your phone rings, you can now ask Google Assistant to accept or reject the incoming call, hands-free:

  • Say “Hey Google, answer call,” to answer a call.
  • Say “Hey Google, reject call” to send it to voicemail.

These commands work for Pixel 5, 4, 4a, and 4a 5G devices that have Google Assistant set up.

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse
Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

Listen to the Heads Up reminder

The “Heads Up” reminder is a Digital Wellbeing feature that aims to keep you more aware of your surroundings while you’re staring at your phone.

With the feature enabled, your phone will recognise when you’re walking and looking at the screen and will send periodic reminders to look up and check on what’s happening around you.

You can enable and configure Heads Up reminders for your Pixel device under Settings > Digital Wellbeing > Head’s Up.

Gboard text copy is now smarter

The Pixel’s stock Gboard keyboard can now recognise links, contact info, and other information from a block of selected text, and will offer to paste that info to any applicable apps, your clipboard, or other destinations.

Earlier updates have expanded to new regions

Several older features, including Call Screening, Car Crash Detection, and the Recorder app, are also expanding to other regions.

  • Call Screening is now available in Japan.
  • Car Crash Detection is now available in Spain, Ireland, and Singapore. (Does not support Pixel 3a devices.)
  • The Recorder app now recognises four additional English dialects: Australian, British, Irish, and Singaporean.

How to download the June 2021 Pixel Drop

Again, the June 2021 Pixel Drop is rolling out now to all Pixel 5, 4, 4a, 4a 5G, 3, and 3a Pixel devices, including XL models. To download the update, go to Settings > System > Advanced > System Update to see if it is waiting for you. Note that some features may require additional app updates, so not everything will be immediately available.

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