Purchased a Google Pixel 8a? Here are 9 essential steps to get you started

Google Pixel 8a displayed in Aloe.

Prior to Google I/O 2024, Google unveiled the Google Pixel 8a, and it’s emerging as a standout phone value at the moment. It features a stunning OLED screen that now boasts a 120Hz refresh rate, the Tensor G3 processor, Gemini Nano, an enhanced battery, wireless charging, and a revamped design with some lively new hues. In brief, there’s a plethora of features to delve into.

There are many aspects to appreciate about the Google Pixel 8a, and consequently, we understand if you’re uncertain about where to begin. If you’ve recently acquired one, then ensure you complete these initial actions!

Activate Smooth Display

Google Pixel 8a main screen.

The Pixel 8a marks the first device in the Pixel A-series to provide a 120Hz refresh rate on the screen. Google only supplied 60Hz on the Pixel 6a and 90Hz on the Pixel 7a. This is a significant upgrade over its predecessors and a major reason why the Pixel 8a is a worthy upgrade.

However, the default setting on the Pixel 8a is 60Hz to conserve battery life. It’s a considerate move by Google, but if you desire the full Pixel 8a experience, you’ll want to enable the 120Hz refresh rate for smoother scrolling, improved animations, and an overall better user experience.

To switch on the 120Hz refresh rate, navigate to Settings > Display > Smooth Display and ensure that the toggle is activated. This will automatically increase the refresh rate from 60Hz to 120Hz on certain content, although it will lead to higher battery consumption. Nevertheless, it’s worth it!

Enable Notification Log

Google Pixel 8a notification log.

Possibly, like many others, I frequently feel overwhelmed by notifications each day. These notifications arrive from my email, work-related messages, social media platforms, news updates, new subscription content, and more. I appreciate the notifications, but sometimes I desire to reduce the clutter on my lock screen or notification panel because it becomes excessive.

Since transitioning to Android, one of the most beneficial features I have come across is Notification Log. On my iPhone 15 Pro, once I dismiss a notification, it’s gone forever. Occasionally, I unintentionally dismiss an important notification and then regret not knowing its content. I’m grateful that Android includes Notification Log, and it’s a feature I activate on all my Android devices.

With Notification Log, you can review recently dismissed notifications and notifications from the past 24 hours. I find this useful if I need to revisit something. If you haven’t already enabled this option, I strongly recommend you do so.

To activate this setting, proceed to Settings > Notifications > Notification Log and ensure that it’s switched on.

Experiment with the wallpapers and customization

Google Pixel 8a wallpapers and customization.

With the Google Pixel 8 lineup, Google introduced some AI-powered features, including the ability to generate wallpapers. Additionally, there are new wallpapers, clock styles, and other enjoyable elements that you can adjust to personalize the Pixel 8a to reflect your taste.

Utilizing the generative AI wallpapers offers various themes to select from. By modifying the text prompt, you can obtain truly unique wallpapers. Likewise, you can create a personalized emoji wallpaper or opt for existing photos or the provided wallpaper collection.

Moreover, Android 14 introduced several new clock faces for the lock screen, providing the Pixel 8a with a more personalized touch. The clock and overall theme color can coordinate with the wallpaper image or you can choose a different color scheme — the choice is yours.

To explore the generative AI wallpapers and additional style settings, visit Settings > Wallpaper and Customization. Here, you can also modify the lock screen shortcuts, activate the always-on display, adjust Now Playing, and more.

Evan Brooks

Hey there! I'm Evan Brooks, a tech journalist based in New York City. With a knack for distilling complex industry jargon into engaging narratives, I've… More »

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