Ramblings on setting up my Google Pixel 6 Pro

This post was written by eli on August 16, 2022
Posted Under: Android


I bought a Google Pixel 6 Pro (P6P henceforth) a few months ago, and as always, I write down what I do as I do it. The result is below. I hope this will never be useful for myself, because if it does, it means I had the phone completely reset, and not I’m starting from scratch.

I’m not a great fan of mobile phones in general, and even less playing around with upgrading and setting them up. I know that to a lot of people, that is a bit of a technology kick, but being an Electrical Engineer, I don’t need another toy to play with.

So I had my previous smartphone for six year, and it ran Android 5.5 to its last day. Jumping to Android 12 is quite a leap, and it’s quite possible that things that I write about below are related to this jump, rather than the Pixel itself.

Generally speaking, this is an iPhone-wannabe phone. The user interface has taken a sharp turn towards sweet talking, and I can’t say I like it very much. It’s clearly aimed for plain people (to put it gently). Everything is automatic and “helpful”, but it’s difficult to figure out how to get control over the machine. In short, annoying.

Another thing is that the software is designed to have Wifi available most of the time. Or at least a very good Internet connection over the cellular network. Everything is backed up to the cloud, run on a cloud server and whatnot. Without Internet, the phone is crippled.

Google does however live up to my expectation from them in the sense that there is a way to mute all these annoyances. It just requires knocking them down one by one.

Notes while setting up

The most important thing: If you want to root your phone, do it immediately as you get it, before staring to set it up. As I’ve explained in a separate post on rooting, you will have to reset the phone to root the phone. So all data and setup will be lost.

  • Do the initial startup properly and with Wifi present. Alternatively, go to Settings > System > Reset options > Erase all data (factory reset) to start over again. This doesn’t necessarily erase downloaded SIMs.
  • There’s a “Pixel Tips” app, which is useful for getting information on what the phone can do. Something to keep me busy in relatively short periods of otherwise wasted time.
  • WhatsApp’s backup on Google Cloud is perfectly fine for restoring all conversations. However it happens only on installation, so I had to reinstall the app to get the restoration kicked off. Worked like a charm, though.
  • SIM: LG G4 uses a Micro SIM, and P6P is with a Nano SIM or eSIM. The latter is non-removable on the phone, and the idea is to download the information into it. Unfortunately, Partner (my cellular provider) doesn’t support eSIM on phones, so I used a regular SIM. There’s a tool to pick out the SIM tray from the phone in the phone’s kit, but any needle would probably do likewise.
  • It’s possible to connect keyboard, mouse and even a USB stick.
  • As for the USB stick, it requested to format the driver, and I agreed. Maybe because it had two partitions? Anyhow, it formatted it into plain VFAT, but then I couldn’t access the files nor copy files into it. To be investigated.
  • Tap on the home screen (that is, on the wallpaper), pick “Home Settings” and disable “Swipe to access Google app” or else a silly news feed appears from the home screen.
  • At an early stage, enter Google Photos with no network connectivity and tap the icon at the top right. Set the app to work without an account. Otherwise, all junk that has been uploaded into the Photos account appears in the app.
  • I opted out Chat Features. SMS is old, and I don’t want any hassle with that.
  • Also opted out: Settings > Internet > Wi-fi > Network preferences > Notify for public networks (I don’t want the phone to look for them at all).
  • As for the ringtone, nothing like the LG’s good old Little Spheres.
  • I initially disallowed apps to scan for Wifi, even when Wifi is turned off: Settings > Location > Location services > Wi-Fi scanning. However it turns out that some apps (Facebook Messenger, for example) fail to start in this situation. So I turned it on again.
  • Turn off Assistant’s voice response: Settings > Apps > Default Apps > Digital assistant app > settings icon to top right (flywheel) > Spoken results. Hands-free searches only.
  • Apps to uninstall: Google One (no backups, thanks).
  • First prize for unnecessary notification: Need time to focus? Open Focus mode to pause distracting apps. So I opened the Settings > Notifications > App settings and turn off notification for Digital Wellbeing. Digital wellbeing is, among others, not being bothered by silly notifications.
  • Improving the fingerprint detection I: Settings > Display > Increase Touch Sensitivity. Doesn’t help.
  • Improving the fingerprint detection II: Press firmly, in particular in the training session. That gives the sensor more area to work with. It also appears like using different fingers each time doesn’t help.
  • Turn off autocorrect (correction while typing on keyboard). It’s better to have a lot of typos than a text that is perfectly spelled but meaning something else than intended.
  • Turn off revocation and removal of temporary files of apps that aren’t used for 90 days.
  • Limit the battery’s charging level (see below).

Disable right edge swipe for “back”

The point is to disable the feature that a swipe from the right means “back”. Swiping from the left edge is enough for me, thanks.

The official suggestion is going to Settings > System > Gestures > System navigation > Gesture Settings, set Back Sensitivity for Right Edge to Low. But that merely reduces the sensitivity, not turning it off completely.

There’s the possibility to return to three-button navigation on that menu, but left edge sweep is actually good. It’s the other edge I wanted to get rid of.

So use adb shell to hack the setting, as suggested here:

$ adb shell
raven:/ $ settings put secure back_gesture_inset_scale_right 0

This worked. Amazing, huh? Power to command-line even on Android.

And rooting the phone is not required for this one. Developer mode and knowing a thing or two with computers, definitely yes.

Copying data from old phone

At some point in the setup process, the phone asked me to connect to my previous phone. So I took the little USB C to USB A adapter that came with the phone, and connected it to the same USB cable that I usually connect with a computer.

Some information was copied to the new phone: Photos and videos (if requested, this is slow), apps, contacts and my SMSes. But no application information: Instagram and Facebook didn’t know which user I was.. Not to mention WhatsApp conversations (but that can be obtained from the cloud backup).

But most important: The Google ID moves along to the new phone.

Prepare for a long session of app downloads, installations and upgrades after this copying.

Note that this copying can’t be repeated later on, unless the phone is reset per request.

“Room for improvement”

  • There’s apparently a need to reboot the phone before using Waze, or else the voice instructions are missing or partial. I suppose that will fix itself somehow over time with a Waze upgrade.
  • In screensaver mode, the phone usually displays the time with thin and dim numbers. However when a notification is canceled, it may display gibberish or even the wrong time (that is, the displayed time is stuck).
  • The fingerprint detection is indeed not good. It works most of the time. I speculate that there’s a suspicion level factor involved, so if the phone thinks the overall situation is somewhat fishy, it becomes extra picky with matching my fingerprint.


An anecdotal set of measurements of currents, with the Ampere app: Starts at ~4540 mA, drops to ~2150 mA at 50%. But then it may wander towards ~3100 mA at 66%. Eventually it drops to ~1600 mA at 89%. At 98% it’s down at 500 mA.

When connected to a USB 2.0 port, it charges at ~600 mA, but only when the phone is in screensaver mode (probably because there’s not enough current when it’s on).

When connected to a QC fast charger, it ran at 1400 mA (at high charging percentages).

As a lot of people (on the web) have pointed out, the phone is indeed picky with charging cables, and I’m not sure yet what makes it accept a cable to charge rapidly with.

As for USB A to C charging cables, it’s a bit of a lottery. A random cable that I got directly from China (Ebay) connects the phone as USB 3.0, and charges the phone at fairly rapid speed even with QC (it was used in the experiments above).

But then I have two USB 2.0 cables: One is a Wesdar T38 which didn’t charge neither from the computer nor a charger, and a Miracase USB Type C cable, which charges the phone from both. The peculiar thing is that the phone was detected by the computer as a High Speed device (USB 2.0), but there was no charging initiated with the former. And this cable failed to charge with a various of sources I tried, while the latter was successful with all. Go figure.

May 2024 update: The battery is a balloon

After almost exactly two years of having this phone, I noted that the phone had opened by itself on its right side. Something was pushing the screen upwards. Having seen this happening on my previous LG G4, I immediately realized it was the battery that was inflated, most likely due to overcharging.

In fact, when I looked for a new phone a couple of years ago, the first criterion was a replaceable battery. It’s only when I realized that no such phone was available that I somehow convinced myself that if the battery is hard to replace, it must not be a problem anymore. Wrong.

Maybe it’s because nobody is really supposed to have an iPhone-wannabe phone for more than a couple of years, but the reason is more likely that my phone is charging all the time. It’s merely a habit of negligence, that I don’t use my phone and don’t care about it so much. I let it charge when I don’t use it, so it’s 100% when I’m leaving home. Once again, wrong. This phone wasn’t designed for people who work from home and have better toys to play with.

And of course I had adaptive charging enabled. Indeed, it did limit the charging level to 80% occasionally, giving me the false confidence that the the battery wouldn’t become a balloon. So here’s what my battery looked like when it was eventually taken out from my phone, dedicated to all of you out there who doubt the need to keep the charging level below 100%.

Google Pixel 6 Pro's battery inflated

(click to enlarge)

It may not look very inflated, but believe me, the plastic wrapping was puffy and a bit scary to touch.

The battery’s part number of this battery is G63QN, by the way.

Having the battery replaced was a little quest of its own, as I live in Israel, and not close to Tel-Aviv. I bought the battery from Gomobile, who were kind enough to offer me to hand over my phone for repair, and get it back a week afterwards, hopefully. They also offered a replacement phone.

Had I lived in the Tel-Aviv area, I would have had the option of going to their lab, and having the replacement done on spot.

I called a whole lot of shops in my area (Haifa), and the answer was somewhere between “we don’t do Google Pixel” to “it’s impossible to get a suitable battery in Israel”. A few of them told me to get a battery on Aliexpress and they would do the installation.

In the end, I talked with Gomobile’s lab, who were kind enough to agree to sell me a battery at 350 NIS. The lab guy emphasized that they would install the battery too for the same price, but I went for buying. I brought the battery and the phone to a shop called SuperLink at Haifa’s Grand Mall (גראנד קניון), and a guy worked hard for an hour to made the replacement. Taking the phone apart was surprisingly hard, and also to remove the battery. But it also looked like this was the first time this guy replaced a battery on this phone. The advantage of this shop is that it’s so small that they don’t have any lab to hide in. So I was there during the entire thing. Just to be sure the guy was gentle (he was). That cost me another 100 NIS, which is really little for all the work put in.

Limiting the charge level

So keeping the charge level at 100% seems to be harmful, even though there are plenty of speculations out there if it’s really 100% or if the phone only says it’s 100%, but holds a lower level. It’s actually quite simple to determine with any battery monitoring app: Check the voltage and compare with the battery’s spec. Personally, I don’t care.

But as someone who barely uses the phone and has already seen one battery turning into a bag of chips, lowering the battery level to 80% sounds like a good idea. Since my life doesn’t revolve around my phone, monitoring the charging level would turn into a chore.

There are plenty of apps out there that sound an alarm when the battery level exceeds a certain percentage, so it can be unplugged. That rather ridiculous solution is common because there is no way for an app to control the battery charging unless the phone is rooted (see my notes on how to root the phone) and the app has been granted root privileges. And of course, it’s a legit method if you’re hugging your phone 24/7.

But my phone is luckily rooted, so no problem with that. I’ve written a separate post about that.

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