How to Disable Motion Sense Radar on Pixel 4/Pixel 4 XL

The new Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL have a number of interesting features that are expected to enhance user experience. In addition to great software and an incredible camera, one of the most exciting features is the Soli radar technology. Named motion sense radar, this feature creates a kind of field around the smartphones and can detect movements and gestures.

Depending on what is happening on the screen at any time, motion sense radar will help Pixel 4 users perform a number of functions without making physical contact with the device. By waving your hand across the phone, you can accomplish such tasks as skipping tracks while listening to music, increasing or reducing the volume of songs and alarms, silencing alarms, silence your phone when there is an incoming call etc.

Though it is a cool feature by all standards, motion sense radar has its downsides. There are privacy concerns, even though Google has strongly vowed that all radar data will be stored locally on the device. There is also the issue of battery drain as a result of leaving the feature on. Whatever your reason for wanting to disable motion sense radar on your device, it is important you understand what it can do for you and think things through before going ahead with it.

It is also important to state here that you can tweak motion sense in a number of ways instead of turning off the feature completely. You can disable the gestures individually but first, you need to get to the motion sense menu. We will discuss how to get to the menu and the individual functions.

The Motion Sense Menu

The motion sense menu in your Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL is located at the system setting. You can get to it via Settings > System > Motion Sense. The menu is divided into two sections: Quick Gestures and Ambient Display. The individual functions on the menu can be enabled or disabled using the toggle that appears when you click on them.

  • Skips Songs: This is pretty self-explanatory. The feature allows you to skip a song when your device is playing from a playlist. It is a lot cooler than many people imagine. Using this feature allows you to either skip forward or backward. All you need to do is pass your hand in front of your device from left to right or from right to left to go to the next track or return to a previous tack. The feature is not confined to your music app and will work anytime you are listening to music. Also, it doesn’t matter how your hand is held while making the gesture. You just have to make sure that your hand is not too far for the sensor to pick up the gesture.
  • Silence Interruption: For some users, this is the best functionality offered by the motion sense radar in the new Goggle flagships. This is actually a two-part feature as it will allow you to lower the volume of the device or silence it completely when it is interrupting. You can lower the volume of an alarm and even a phone call. The feature can also be used to wave off an alarm, snoozing it for 10 minutes. You can also silence a timer alarm entirely by using the skip song gesture. Though you can’t dismiss an incoming call through this feature, you can completely silence one.
  • Reach to Check Phone: This is another interesting function of the motion sense radar that you will enjoy using. When you reach for your phone, the efficient radar detects your hand motion and lights up the lockscreen to display the time and notification icons. It will also activate the infrared face unlock cameras to make unlocking the device easier. The interesting thing about this function is that it is only activated when you actually reach for your phone as the sensor can distinguish between reaching to check your phone and waving across it. This is faster and more efficient than the ‘raise to wake’ feature, which is also present on the Pixel 4s.
  • Show Display when nearby: This function works when you have enabled ‘always-on-display’ on your Pixel 4 device. When it is enabled, your smartphone will only activate the display when you are nearby. This is an important function if you want to enable ‘always-on-display’ as it can help improve battery life.

Completely Disable Motion Sense

As mentioned earlier, you can enable and disable the different functions of the motion sense feature individually. If you just want to do away with the entire features, follow the steps below:

  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll down and tap on System
  • Select Motion Sense
  • Tap on the toggle next to the Motion Sense to deactivate

Note: Disabling Motion Sense will shut down all the Soli features offered by the phone. This, however, does not break any of your phone’s functionality but can potentially help save battery life.