The Pixel 5 is a bit different from previous pixels. Gone are the Pixel 4’s Soli-based Motion Sense gestures, the Pixel 3’s dual front speakers, and the glass back panel from previous generations. But perhaps the most glaring omission for long-time Pixel users is the lack of a squeeze gesture to activate the Google Assistant.
Fortunately, a simple app without root can bring this functionality back. It uses data from the phone’s various other sensors to detect when you squeeze the sides with a bit of pressure, then uses a few advanced Android permissions to open the Assistant. It’s a must have, but installation takes a while so I̵
Step 1: Install SideSqueeze +
The app that brings back the Pixel’s squeeze gesture is called SideSqueeze +. It is currently in beta testing so you may not be able to find it in your Play Store app. If so, tap the link below from your phone to install it.
Step 2: Go through the first installation tour
It’s a bit of a pain, especially if you’re just looking for the one feature, but SideSqueeze + has a pretty lengthy guide for the first time. So tap the forward arrow in the lower right corner several times and click “Finish” when it appears.
Step 3: Enable the accessibility plugin
Now you will get a popup asking you to enable the accessibility service for SideSqueeze +. The instructions in the popup are written for Samsung devices, so ignore them and tap “OK”.
On the next screen, find “SideSqueeze +” and tap it (not the one that says “to enable scrolling / tapping”, just the first). From there, turn on the toggle next to “Use SideSqueeze +” (again, just that toggle), then hit “Allow” in the popup. Now perform the back gesture a few times to go back to the app.
Step 4: Turn off battery optimization
Then you will get a changelog and a disclaimer – tap on “Continue” and “Agree”. Then a pop-up with the title “Another Step” will appear. This prompts you to whitelist SideSqueeze + from Android’s battery optimization measures, which is very important if you want consistent results with the app. So tap “OK” here.
You will now be taken to a menu of system settings. Tap “Not Optimized” at the top of this screen, then select “All Apps” from the drop-down menu. Now scroll down and tap “SideSqueeze +” and select “Don’t optimize” from the popup and hit “Done”.
Step 5: Calibrate the squeeze gesture
Do the back gesture twice to get back to the app, then you will be prompted via ADB to grant special permission. This permission is not required for the squeeze gesture feature, so tap “Not Now” at this prompt.
You are now looking at the main menu of the app. Here, make sure that the toggle next to ‘Enable pinch detection’ is turned on at the very top, then tap the ‘Calibrate’ button. Tap “OK” at the next prompt and then click “Start” at the bottom of the calibration screen. Now you have to press your phone three times to establish a baseline.
You will probably be asked to “set gain” after the first calibration attempt. If so, tap ‘OK, do it’ and repeat the calibration process by squeezing your phone three times. You will eventually get a “Calibration Complete!” popup, after which you need to tap on “Set Release Threshold” to exit.
Step 6: Configure the squeeze gesture
Now turn on the toggle switch next to “Single Squeeze” in the main menu of the app. This will reveal more options – toggle the toggle next to “Primary action while screen on” here.
Now you will see a few check boxes and a drop-down menu. Leave the boxes as they are and tap the “Home” text in the drop-down list. Scroll down a bit here and select “Launch Default Voice Assistant” from the list. You can now close the app.
As you can see, there are other gestures such as “Double Squeeze” and “Triple Squeeze”, so if you want you can take the time to set it up at this point. But none of them are central to the old Pixel functionality of squeeze for your Assistant, so it’s entirely up to you.
Step 7: Disable the permanent notification
To prevent Android SideSqueeze + memory manager from closing in the background, the app will post a continuous notification. If you like a tidy status bar, you can long press this notification, then choose ‘Turn off notifications’ and turn off the toggle next to ‘All SideSqueeze + notifications’ before clicking ‘Apply’. This does not affect the background process.
Step 8: Squeeze for your assistant!
You are now ready to try out the new feature. As with previous Pixels, just squeeze your phone from the sides while holding it down and Google Assistant will pop right up!
Keep your connection safe without a monthly bill. Get a lifetime subscription to VPN Unlimited for all your devices with a one-time purchase from the new Gadget Hacks Shop, and watch Hulu or Netflix with no regional restrictions, increase security when browsing public networks and more.
Buy now (80% discount)>