How to Make the Most of The Pixel 2’s Awesome Ambient Display

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Android telephones with Ambient Display are nothing new, but it surely’s taken a very very long time to excellent them. Google lastly did that with the Pixel 2, offered you’re prepared to make just a few tweaks. Right here’s how to make it be just right for you.

What Is Ambient Display?

Android’s Ambient Display is a approach for you to see your notifications with out really having to flip your cellphone’s show on. It’s a easy black and white display screen used for fast at-a-glance entry to what’s occurring. The concept right here isn’t new—Motorola really rolled out the first model of this on the 2013 Moto X (when it was owned by Google). It was referred to as “Moto Display”, but it surely was the precursor to the Ambient Display now constructed into inventory Android.

Ambient Display works finest on telephones with some type of OLED panel, as a result of OLED shows have the means to flip particular pixels on or off, quite than the complete display screen having to be on or off. This enables Ambient Display to solely activating just a few pixels for the clock and notifications whereas holding the relaxation off, holding it extremely environment friendly on the battery. After all, not all telephones had OLED shows—in truth, Google’s personal Nexus telephones didn’t, so it felt like a bizarre inclusion.

As well as, Ambient Display used to solely work when a brand new notification got here in otherwise you picked the cellphone up. It could detect motion, then activate the ambient show. I hated that.

With the Pixel 2, nevertheless, Google did one thing nice: they made an possibility to go away the Ambient Display on all the time, not not like a smartwatch’s always-on show. Additionally they redesigned it for Oreo, making it a bit extra minimal and environment friendly—the place it used to be a black and white model of the lock display screen, it’s now its personal, a lot cleaner format.

Fortunately, that’s simply an possibility, so you may tweak it—and different preferences—to suit your wants.

How to the Pixel 2’s Ambient Display

To customise Ambient Display, give the notification bar a tug and faucet the gear icon.

From there, faucet on the Display menu entry.

Faucet on Superior, then scroll all the approach to the backside. Faucet on Ambient Display.


This menu is easy, but it surely packs a punch when it comes to tweaking the Ambient Display.

First, when you hate the always-on factor, you may disable it with the first toggle. I personally discover this to be my favourite factor about the Ambient Display, however to every their very own. You do you, man.

When you like the always-on factor however would really like to get extra information with out having to decide your cellphone up, go forward and allow Double-tap To Verify Telephone. Principally, with this enabled, you may faucet the cellphone’s show twice to wake it up and present your full lock display screen. I personally discover that this by accident prompts the show pretty typically, so I go away it disabled.


When you’re not a fan of the All the time-On show, it’s also possible to return to the outdated approach the place the Ambient Display activates everytime you decide the cellphone up. You probably have All the time-On enabled, this setting is locked to “on,” as a result of you may’t actually activate the show if it’s already on.

Once more, similar to the earlier days of Ambient Display, it’s also possible to have the show wake each time a brand new notification is available in. Since the new Ambient Display may be very minimal (solely displaying icons as an alternative of full notifications), this can be a good approach to see full notifications as they arrive in. Remember, nevertheless, that you simply’re going to see a lower in battery life with this enabled. It might be minimal, or it might be pretty dramatic when you get quite a bit of notifications.

However wait, there’s extra! We could also be executed on this menu, however there’s one different factor you may tweak if you would like: Now Enjoying.

Since we have already got a reasonably detailed publish about Now Enjoying, I’ll level you to that for the full rundown on what it does and why it’s nice. However right here’s the lengthy and quick of it: the Pixel 2 will hear for and detect any music enjoying in your surroundings, and allow you to know what the present tune is by displaying it on the lock display screen—and, in flip, on the ambient show.

To allow this characteristic (or disable it, relying on whether or not you turned it on while you arrange your cellphone), Soar into Settings > Sound > Now Enjoying and slide the toggle the “Present on lock display screen” slider to on or off.


I used to hate Ambient Display. It simply didn’t work how I needed it to—it turned the show on all the time, the “double faucet to wake” characteristic was by accident triggered all the time, and different small annoyances. With All the time-On Ambient Display on the Pixel 2, although, it’s one of my favourite options. I simply want I might see the battery stage with out having to flip the show on.

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