This story was originally published and last updated .
Your Pixel 4a has been a good phone, right? Its unflashy exterior may not be much to write home about, but for the price and pocketability — which is a real selling point given today’s expensively gigantic devices — it’s an undeniably endearing handset, even in 2021. If you’re looking to hold onto your Pixel 4a for another year or so, you should really consider wrapping it in one of our favorite cases below.
It's that time again, every* Pixel owner's favorite day of the month: security patch day! Updates for the Pixel 3, 3 XL, 3a, 3a XL, 4, 4 XL, 4a, 5a 5G, and the Pixel 5 should all be heading out via over-the-air update over the next few days. And since there's a (sort of) new Pixel on the block, let's all welcome the Pixel 5a to its first monthly security patch.
Criminals use cell phones. And because police agencies know this, they tend to be a little more cautious about said phones than regular users. Cautious enough to, say, buy a special fully-encrypted phone that purports to be 100% untraceable, and use the completely hack-proof messaging app contained within. Some of those criminals came to regret it as they discovered their super-secret phones and messaging service were, in fact, provided by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and other police forces around the world.
If you're not the one to tinker with camera settings, Google's Pixel phones are your best bet to get breathtaking shots of starry nights. Taking a photo like the one above is as simple as placing the phone on a tripod and letting it do its thing for a few minutes. Pixels can't take astro time-lapses currently, but this could soon change with the next Pixel Drop.
For the last few years, the Android Beta Program has been one of the biggest highlights of Google I/O, which continues to be the case this year. Now that Google has announced the exciting changes coming to Android 12, many of us will be eager to try it for ourselves. Naturally, the Beta will only be available on select devices, so find out if your phone is eligible below:
Pixel device owners, start your Wi-Fi radios. The monthly security update for Pixel phones has been posted by Google. The updates are available as both direct download of the firmware and OTA files, but it should be showing up on at least a few phones starting today.
The Pixel 4a launched in 2020 to great acclaim (... from me), but it had one rather annoying limitation: color options. Google's barn-burner of a budget phone excelled in almost every way, though at launch you'd have to settle for a fingerprint-prone and rather drab black as your only choice of shade. The limited edition Barely Blue launched later on, but I'd heard from around the Pixel rumor campfire that other hues had been planned and shelved due to pandemic supply chain problems, but I never laid eyes on any such examples myself. It seems Google (or, more likely, the studio Google hired to shoot this spot) kind of forgot about that if this since-pulled Instagram story is any indication.
Google is responding to reports from multiple sources claiming that its Pixel 5a phone has been canceled, saying that it expects to launch a version of the device in the U.S. and Japan later this year.
Some Pixel owners have noticed over the last couple of monthly updates that their phones have lost Widevine L1 status, falling to L3 and rendering them incapable of playing back some DRM-protected content at high quality. More simply, that means they can't play HD content in apps and services like Netflix. By far the majority of devices are not affected and the cause isn't immediately clear. Google tells us it's aware of these reports and working on a fix, and devices from other manufactures may also be affected.
Google's Pixel updates for April are here. This isn't one of the big feature drop updates (that was last month), but device owners can look forward to the latest security patches and a handful of fixes and improvements. This time around, Google specifically calls out improved photo quality in some third-party apps and even GPU performance improvements for on the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5, plus a handful of fixes addressing issues on several Pixel models, including a problem that dates back to a missing December Feature Drop feature.