A cool little feature in the Android P Developer Previews was that you could select text and images from any item on the Overview screen. Unfortunately, it stopped working on original Pixel devices — intentionally, it seems, as Google support marked an Issue Tracker complaint about it "Won't Fix (Intended Behavior)." But the feature has now made it to the full release of Android 9 Pie, even on 2016 Pixels.

The functionality is now present on all Pixel phones from both generations. Just head to your overview screen, press and hold on a bit of text, and there you go: text selection, complete with the option to copy as well as contextual actions like navigating to addresses or listening to music (depending on what you've selected). You can also select images to share them.

Overview text selection on a 2016 Pixel with both gesture and traditional navigation.

On a related note, we've received at least one report that Overview text selection isn't working on a Pixel 2 XL running Pie, but this behavior seems to be isolated; several AP staff members' updated Pixel 2 XLs are working the way they ought to.

Several commenters have pointed out that copying text from Overview is only possible when the system language is set to US English. If you're really itching for it, you can change your phone's language in Settings > Languages & input > Lanuages. From there, tap "Add a language," select English, then United States. Then you have to drag US English to the top of the list. This is all annoying for people outside the US, but hey, Google gonna Goog.

  • Thanks:
  • Alexander,
  • Tyler,
  • David