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With the Pixel 8 - and Android 14 running on it - Google introduced a host of fascinating new features. Joined with some of our old favourite tips and tricks, there's a lot to sink your teeth into if you're happy to go digging.

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Google Pixel 8 Pro

1. Replace the sky or sea in your photos

Using the new Magic Edit feature, you can generate a different sky for your photos. Or even make it look like golden hour.

Open the Google Photos app and choose the photo that you want to edit. Now tap the Magic Edit button in the corner; it's a purple icon with a star on it.

On the next screen tap the coloured pencil icon at the bottom of the screen and choose either Sky, Golden Hour or Water, depending on what you want.

pixel 8 magic edit

Once you've selected it, it'll generate a new background for you. It could be a dramatic sunset, more impressive-looking water or just a dynamic sky. If you're not happy with the results you can tap the option to generate alternatives. Once you're happy, just

2. Move and enlarge subjects in your photos

Another cool magic edit feature is the ability to pick up the main subject from your photo, move them and enlarge them to make them a more prominent part of the photo.

To use it, open a photo, then choose that magic edit button again. Now tap the subject and it'll highlight them.

Tap and hold the subject, then move it around, pinch to zoom, and enlarge it. When you're happy, hit the arrow in the bottom corner when you're finished, and it'll generate options for you. Save the one you like.

pixel 8 - ai wallpaper

3. AI Wallpaper generation

One really cool feature is the ability to get Google to create a wallpaper for you using AI. To get started, tap and hold the wallpaper on your home screen and choose 'Wallpaper and Style'. On the next screen, choose 'More wallpapers' and then you'll see the AI wallpaper option at the top of the page. Tap that.

Now choose a theme to get started, and on the next screen, you'll see a command with words underlined. Tap on any of the underlined words to choose from other options, and then hit 'create wallpaper'. Now it'll generate some wallpapers for you. Save the one you like.

4. Unlock apps with face unlock

As part of the upgraded hardware, Google finally allows you to use the face unlock feature to unlock apps and authenticate payments. To enable it all you need to do is head to Settings > Security and privacy. Choose 'Device Unlock' and then on the next screen tap 'Face and Fingerprint Unlock'. Enter your PIN to continue.

Add a Face Unlock scan and go through that process if you haven't already. Once you have, toggle on the 'Verify that it's you in apps', and your phone will now use your face scan to unlock and verify within apps.

5. Audio Magic Eraser

Google has used AI to enable a feature that can remove background sounds from your videos. To use it, just record your video as normal. Open the video and then hit the 'Edit' button and on the next screen find 'Audio' and tap the 'Audio Eraser' button. Wait for it to identify the sounds, and tap on the background noise you want to reduce and use the slider to reduce the volume of the sound that you want to make quieter.

pixel 8 - now playing

6. Automatic music recognition

Pixel phones can automatically detect music playing in your area, and display the song name and artist on the lock screen. To enable it, go to Settings > Display > Lock Screen.

Find 'Now Playing' then toggle on 'Identify songs' on the next screen. If you want to, you can also toggle an option to search for songs it hasn't immediately recognised. If you want to, you can also view your entire history by tapping 'now playing history'.

pixel 8 - flash notifications

7. Flash notifications

You can have your camera LED flash when you receive notifications. Simply open Settings, then Accessibility and find 'Flash notifications', now toggle on the 'Camera flash' switch.

8. Easter Egg

Every new version of Android comes with an Easter Egg hidden in the Settings. Open Settings, scroll down to 'About Phone', tap it, then scroll until you find 'Android Version' on the next screen. Select it and on the next screen repeatedly tap on 'Android Version' multiple times until it loads a graphic on the screen.

pixel 8 easter egg

Tap and hold on the graphic in the middle of the screen. You'll feel it vibrate and show stars streaking past. Keep holding and then it loads a mini-game.

Now you can tap and drag in any direction to control your mini spaceship. If you look at the coordinates and thrust at the bottom of the page, you can direct your ship to the nearest star - the middle of which is coordinate '0,0'. Get there, and you'll crash through a big, bright star.

9. Customise your Lock Screen

Android 14 offers a fresh take on Lock Screen customisation. Tap and hold your Home Screen wallpaper, select 'Wallpaper and Style' and now tap 'Lock Screen' at the top. Now you can swipe through a few different clock styles to choose from, you can change the colour theme and also choose which Lock Screen shortcuts you want in the bottom corners.

10. Schedule Focus Mode

Focus mode lets you block access to specific apps that you find distracting. If you want to get work done, it's a godsend. To activate it, just go to Settings > Digital Wellbeing and select 'Focus mode'.

On the next screen look through all your apps and select the ones you find distracting. Now either turn on Focus mode or select the 'Schedule' option to have it come on at specific times and days.

11. Flip to Shhh

One cool feature is to have the phone enable 'Do Not Disturb' mode whenever you flip the phone on its face. Open Settings > Digital Wellbeing and find 'Flip to Shhh'. Now toggle it on.

12. Silence notifications while driving

Pixel can automatically detect when you're driving and enable 'Do Not Disturb' mode whenever you get behind the wheel if you let it. Just go to Settings > Safety and Emergency then choose 'Silence notifications while driving' and toggle on the switch on the next screen.

13. Pro Mode

If you have the Pixel 8 Pro you can use a 'Pro' camera mode, giving you access to manual controls for shutter speed, white balance, ISO and even a manual focus. Just open the camera and tap the settings icon in the bottom right of the screen. Now you can tweak all of those settings and fine tune the image before taking a photo.

14. See if someone's tracking you

With the rise of Bluetooth location trackers, there's a feature in Android 14 that can notify you if a tracker is near you, but separated from its owner. Open Settings > Safety and Emergency and find 'Unknown tracker alerts' at the bottom. It should be enabled by default, but switch on the 'allow alerts' toggle if it is. Or, if you want to, hit 'scan now' to manually scan at any time.

15. Monochrome mode

Android lets you theme your entire interface to match your wallpaper colours, but if you'd rather, you can turn the whole thing black and white. Just long-press on your wallpaper and select 'Wallpaper and style'. Now where you see the colour palettes, choose the grey and black version, and your system will be monochrome. For a more full monochrome feel, you can toggle on the 'Themed Icons' options.

pixel battery share

16. Use your Pixel as a wireless charger

If you have an accessory with wireless charging, you can use your Pixel to charge it. Head to Settings > Battery and then 'Battery Share'. You can either toggle it on manually, then turn your phone over and place your accessory on top. Or enable the feature that switches the Battery Share for a short while as soon as you plug it in.