Gradual ringtones make their way to Google Pixel phones

Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL
Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL (Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Ramping Ringer is rolling out to all four generations of Pixel phones.
  • This update is not dependent on receiving the November security patch and may appear in your sound settings at any time.
  • Upon receiving a phone call, the phone will vibrate for 5 seconds and then proceed into playing your audible ringtone after that.

Vibrate first, ring later. That's the M.O. of Google's latest behind-the-scenes Pixel update that's debuted without any kind of fanfare at all. XDA Developers found the feature during the Android Q beta program, but Google hasn't officially implemented it until sometime today. All generations of Google Pixel phones appear to be receiving the feature, which can be found in the system settings by navigating to "Sound", "Vibrate for calls".

A new option plainly titled "Vibrate first then ring gradually" basically explains it all. When someone calls your Pixel phone, it will now vibrate for 5 seconds before emitting any kind of audible ringtone. Even then, the ringtone will ramp up in volume as you continually ignore the person so desperately trying to reach you.

That's a fantastic addition for many people, as a loud ringtone can often be embarrassing in a number of situations, especially ones where you should have set your phone to silent. This gives users a few seconds to figure out what's happening and silence their phones before the moment at hand is so rudely interrupted by an obtrusive sound.

Given that my Pixel 4 XL is still on the October security patch and hasn't received the latest November patch yet, this update is not at all tied to having the very latest version of Android on your phone. It's all down to the wizards at Google to flip the switch on your device, so if you don't yet have the option in your sound settings, be sure to periodically check throughout the day.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu