Google's most recent December Feature Drop delivered plenty of new features for the company's Pixel phones. But one specific change is still missing for many device owners: the new grid size options in the Pixel launcher. I know it sounds pretty minor, but a surprising number of people were looking forward to the feature, which allows you to set custom grid sizes and adjust the density of icons on your Pixel's home screen. It can even help with accessibility for those without much in the way of fine motor control. But, unfortunately, the option still isn't present for everyone.

We've seen a smattering of reports regarding the missing feature, which debuted on the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G and allows you to adjust the grid size for icons and widgets in the stock Pixel Launcher. We can also confirm the same issue is present on some of our own devices. Reports indicate all Pixels which didn't previously have the feature and which received the December 2020 Feature Drop (i.e., Pixel 3 series and later, excluding the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G) can potentially be affected.

The symptoms are simple: Even with a fully up-to-date Pixel, including both Play Store app updates and system updates, the "grid" tab that should appear in the Styles & Wallpaper section (accessible via either a long-press of the home screen or in Settings -> Display) simply isn't there, and that means you can't adjust the grid size.

Note the inclusion/omission of the "Grid" tab at the bottom between the Pixel 5 (left) and Pixel 4a (right). 

We've noticed the same inconsistency in the feature's presence on our own devices here at Android Police. Testing from a pool of on-hand Pixels, my Pixel 3 has the grid option setting, while my Pixel 4a, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3 XL, and my Pixel 4 don't. Reports elsewhere indicate the omission is widespread, and the January update doesn't appear to have fixed things.

The feature lets you adjust grid size for icons and widgets on the home screen, useful for both aesthetics and accessibility. 

At first, we thought the feature may just take a while to trickle out — sometimes aspects of these Feature Drop changes are tied to app updates that take time to hit everyone — but it's been nearly two months now, and the setting is still missing for many. App versions for things that could potentially affect it (like the Pixel Launcher, Live Wallpaper apps, etc.) also matched between devices we tested, and the inconsistency was still noted.

The one known fix is a factory reset, which is a pretty extreme move to take for such a relatively minor issue, but it does work in all cases, according to reports.

We reached out to Google previously for more information regarding this issue, and we'll be sure to let you know if we hear more.

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  • Mastiff Li