Google pixel

A Look at the New Rules System of Google Pixel

Google rolled out the March update to all supported Google Pixel Android devices recently and with it came a few changes and new features. One of these changes is a new rules system that Pixel owners may use to create automated rules. If you now think IFTTT (IF This Then That) you are in for a disappointment as the first release version of the rules system is quite basic.

Basically, what it allows you to do right now is to define automated actions based on location. Pixel owners who have installed the March 2020 updates for the device find the new options under Settings > System > Advanced > Rules.

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Note that you need to allow the app to always run in the background. Select next on the screen and then allow to give the app the permission.

First thing you will notice is that Google enabled suggestions to the rules system. Rules will be suggested automatically by the device “based on changes” made to the system setting. If you don’t want these, toggle the option to off to block that from happening.

A tap on “add rule” opens the rules creation configuration. There you find only a few options currently. What you may do is link one of the available rules to a Wi-Fi or a location.

  1. Tap on “Add Wi-fi network or location” to get started. Wi-Fi is the easier option of the two as you select one of the saved networks of the device. Location requires that you type an address and select a radius for the location.
  2. Once done, select one of the four available actions:
    • Turn on Do Not Disturb.
    • Set phone to silent.
    • Set phone to vibrate.
    • Set phone to ring.
  3. Select Add to create the rule.
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You may repeat the process for additional locations. Rules are active automatically after they have been created.

Closing Words

The available rules are quite basic at the time of writing. While these may be useful to some, e.g. to set the device to silent when you enter your workplace or to ring when you leave work, functionality is too limited to be of much use.

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Google limits rules based on location but not time of day or other events, e.g. activity on the device. The rules are limited to changing the state of the device but lack any other options. It is possible that the new automated rules system will be expanded in coming releases but Google has not revealed plans to do so.