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The Pixel 6 series picks up the March update, gets a 5G boost with C-Band support

Google Pixel 6 Pro Lockscreen Material You Music
(Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

Update 3/21/22 4:00 PM ET: Google rolls out the March update to the Pixel 6 series following a two-week wait.

What you need to know

  • Google releases the March feature drop for its Pixel series smartphones.
  • The update brings Night Sight to Snapchat, Live Caption for calls, custom stickers in Gboard, and more.
  • The update first arrived on devices up to the Pixel 5. On March 21, the OTA update has been made available for the Pixel 6 series.
  • The update also includes C-Band support for Pixel 6 devices on Verizon.

It's March, which means it's time for another Pixel feature drop. The latest update begins rolling out to Pixel devices on Monday, bringing along several new features, including new imaging capabilities for Snapchat. The update also makes it easier for users to communicate with updates to Live Caption and Live Translate.

Night Sight comes to Snapchat

Last year, Google made it easier to access Snapchat with the new Quick Tap to Snap feature, and now Google is following up by bringing Pixel's Night Sight to Snapchat as well. With the new feature drop on the Pixel 6 series, you can now select the low-light mode on Snapchat to brighten up both images and video.

Snapchat recording a video with Pixel Night Sight

Snapchat recording a video with Pixel Night Sight (Image credit: Google)

Samsung recently announced that it's bringing a ton of its camera features to Snapchat, including Night Mode, so it's good to see the Pixel's best camera feature arriving on Snapchat as well.

Communicate better with Gboard and Live Caption/Translate

Live Caption is an impressive accessibility feature on the best Android phones, and with the March update, it's getting even better. Google is bringing Live Caption to phone calls, making it easier to communicate for users who cannot speak.

When on a phone call, use the volume button and select the Live Caption icon to enable the feature. It will transcribe what the person on the other end is saying, and it will speak your response aloud. It also includes quick responses.

Live Caption for Calls on the Google Pixel 6 Pro

You can now use Live Capion on phone calls (Image credit: Google)

Google is also improving Live Translate for the Pixel 6 series with better support for the Spanish language, such as with Interpreter Mode. Users can also enable the feature for Spanish-language videos and other types of media to be automatically translated into English, French, German, Italian, and Japanese (beta).

Live Translate video from Spanish to English

Live Translate a video from Spanish to English (Image credit: Google)

Gboard is already pretty handy at figuring out what emoji you might want to use based on the words you type and can even make them better with Emoji kitchen. Now, Gboard can take those exact words and turn them into custom stickers to fit the occasion — something your friends and family may be able to appreciate.

Gboard text stickers

Gboard text stickers (Image credit: Google)

For now, Message Stickers will be available globally for anyone typing in English, although its unclear if this will be expanded to other languages.

More information At a Glance

Google has been hard at work making more information readily available from the At a Glance widgets on Pixel smartphones. The widget was recently updated to include bedtime information, fitness activity, and more. Now, Google is making even more information available, including earthquake alerts and reminders to turn off any alarms if there's a holiday coming up. It will also integrate with the Personal Safety app to enable a safety check countdown.

Google is also making it easier to check the battery levels of your Pixel Buds and other Bluetooth-enabled devices. Not only is this information available on the At a Glance widget, but Google is launching a brand new Battery widget for up-to-date battery life information.

Battery widget for the Pixel 6

New Battery widget for the Pixel 6 (Image credit: Google)

Other updates

Some other features are receiving more minor updates, such as Direct My Call and Wait Times, which are arriving on devices such as the Pixel 3a and newer. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are also able to transcribe in Italian and Spanish using the Recorder app, and Assistant Quick Phrases are not available in Spanish, Italian and French.

Google is also launching new Curated Culture wallpapers created by UK-based artist Manjit Thapp to celebrate International Women's Day.

International Women's Day Curated Culture wallpapers

International Women's Day Curated Culture wallpapers (Image credit: Google)

Lastly, Google is highlighting Duo's new Live Sharing feature that was announced alongside the Galaxy S22, giving users the option to host watch parties with YouTube and other apps.

These features will be rolling out to Pixel devices from the Pixel 3a to the Pixel 5a starting Monday. Unfortunately, owners of the Pixel 6 series will have to wait for their update, which will arrive "later this month." Hopefully, this rollout goes much smoother than the last feature drop that came to the Pixel 6 series.

Update

Google has finally made the March feature drop available for the Pixel 6 series. This comes a week after Snapchat was updated to include support for Night Sight on Google's latest flagships. The update also comes with plenty of bug fixes from the March security patch, which should hopefully make your phone run smoothly.

One notable update comes in the form of C-Band support for Pixel 6 devices on Verizon, giving users access to the highly-coveted spectrum. However, C-Band access isn't coming to older Pixel smartphones, at least not in the U.S.

See more

The update is also based on Android 12L, which will arrive on larger-screen devices later this year. Your Pixel 6 should notify you when the OTA update is available, but you can always check manually in your settings.


Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.