Google's Pixel Feature Drop For June Brings Camera Upgrades, Better Security And More

Pixel 7 Pixel 7 Pro
Google's Pixel phones come with excellent Android software, free from the bloatware of other phones, while also offering useful extras. Google is also living up to its promise to update Pixels with new features in regular Feature Drops. The last few have been a bit underwhelming, but the June 2023 Feature Drop for Pixels adds a raft of features around safety, customization, and health.

The June update comes with the usual assortment of bug fixes, so everyone should install it regardless of whether or not there are new features. And for most phones, there won't be. Google is alone in using monthly patches to promote new features for its phones, so those with Samsung, Motorola, or OnePlus phones won't get any of these new features in the June OTA. It's only a Feature Drop for Pixels

If you've got Google's most powerful Pixel phone, get ready to get up close and personal with video. The Pixel 7 Pro's macro mode has now been expanded to video. This feature requires autofocus on the ultrawide sensor, which the cheaper Pixels don't have. All of Google's Pixel phones can take advantage of the new Cinematic Wallpapers. Simply snap a photo, and the phone uses AI to separate the subject and background to produce a neat parallax effect on the home screen. Google is also following in Apple's footsteps with emoji-based background images.

Google's Safety Check features can help if you find yourself in an unsafe situation, and they're getting more capable in the Feature Drop. You can set up safety checks for the future by voice now. Simply say, "Hey Google, start a safety check for [period of time]," and the phone will have you check in at the appointed hour. If you don't, it will alert your emergency contacts with your location. In a similar vein, the Pixel car crash detection feature is gaining the option to automatically notify your emergency contacts in addition to emergency services if you get in a crash.

The Feature Drop also extends to the Pixel Watch, which launched with the hardware to track blood oxygen but no software support. The June Pixel Drop changes that, enabling SpO2 tracking on the wearable. The watch can also offer low and high heart rate warnings as well. Google hasn't completely forgotten about Fitbit— those devices are getting an assortment of new watch faces, new workout options, and more. 

There are a few smaller additions, too, like video exports from the Recorder app, less noisy haptics from the Pixel 6a and 7a, and AI optimized charging. You can wait for the OTA to arrive naturally over the coming days, or you can sideload the OTA file by downloading it directly from Google.