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Google has released another Android feature drop for Google Pixel devices. Jack Wallen has the scoop on what you can expect.

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Image: Jason Cipriani/CNET

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As expected, the Android Google Pixel devices received a new collection of features and fixes in the official June update. These features range from the mundane to the exciting. Unfortunately, these features are currently only available to Pixel devices—and even then, not to every user. However, you should expect many of the features to trickle down to other devices soon. For those Pixel owners lucky enough to receive all of the new features, you’ll find a few bits to be excited about.

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Photos locked folder

This is one of the features I’ve been anxious about. Unfortunately, even with two Pixel phones (one running the beta of Google Pixel 12 and the other running Android 11, I have yet to see this feature appear). I’m a bit disappointed—especially given the feature was supposed to drop for all Pixel device users in this update. 

That being said, some lucky users will find the new Photos app Locked Folder feature to be invaluable. 

What does the Locked Folder feature do? Exactly what you think: it allows you to store specific photos behind password authentication. This means you could take sensitive photos (such as those specific to your work), lock them behind a password and rest assured those photos won’t be seen by prying eyes, unless the owner of said eyes knows the password you’ve set.

If you’ve updated to the latest patch, you might find the Locked Photo feature in Photos | Utilities | Locked Folder. As I mentioned earlier, neither of my Android devices have yet to receive the Locked Folder feature, even though my Android 11 Pixel device indicates it’s running the June security update. Hopefully, your Pixel device has the feature, because, for those looking to add a bit of security to their photos, this is a game-changer. Because photos stored in the Locked Folder are only stored locally, you won’t have to worry about anyone gaining access to them via the Cloud version of the service.

Astrolapse

Although this feature won’t be of much use to businesses, Android is getting a really interesting Astrophotography mode, called “Astrolapse.” To use the feature you must place your phone on a tripod, as it has to be completely still. You then open Night Sight and tap the shutter button. Once the phone starts recording, allow it plenty of time (a minute or so) to snap images of the night sky. Once you’re satisfied it’s taken enough photos, tap the shutter button again and Android will put together a fantastic image with an animated starry backdrop.

If you’re in the right location—with plenty of stars overhead—the results of Astrolapse can be quite stunning.

Other new features and fixes

Outside of the usual collection of vulnerability fixes, the Android June feature drop includes a few more added bonuses, such as:

  • Pride Month wallpapers: A small collection of wallpaper images celebrating Pride Month

  • Car crash detection: More countries now support the Google Pixel-only car crash detection feature

  • Heads up walking alert: You’ll now get a warning when walking with your phone and you’re about to slam into something—or be slammed into

  • Assistant phone calls: You can now answer your phone with “Hey Google, answer call,” or reject a call with “Hey Google, reject call”

  • Gboard clipboard improvements: The Google Gboard keyboard now has a smarter clipboard, which recognizes phone numbers, email addresses, and URLs and is capable of parsing them as such

  • Call Screen: Now available in Japan

It’s not a huge list of new features, but some of them should be considered long overdue, such as the Locked Folder option in Google Photos. Make sure to go to Settings | System | Advanced | System Update to check and see if your device is ready for the June feature drop. If so, apply it and enjoy the new additions.

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