This year, the Google Pixel team decided to go back to the drawing board and reimagine the Pixel lineup of Android devices. However, the end result is basically a downgrade from the previous year’s Pixels.
The Pixel 5 has neither the Soli sensor that powered the Motion Sense gestures nor the dual front-facing stereo speakers on Pixel 4. It also uses a mid-range Snapdragon chipset rather than the flagship one. The back panel is made of a bio-resin that’s more durable than plastic, yet it feels less premium than glass.
Even with the certain compromises, Pixel 5 is an overall decent “mid-range” phone. However, it also gets rid of the pressure-sensitive sensors, which are responsible for the Active Edge gestures found on the Pixel 2, 2 XL, Pixel 3, 3 XL, Pixel 3a, 3a XL, Pixel 4, and 4 XL.
If you owned one of the following Pixel devices and have recently upgraded to the Pixel 5, one of the features you definitely miss out on is the squeeze gesture to activate Google Assistant – provided that you used it quite regularly.
Fortunately, you can use a simple app named SideSqueeze+ to get this feature back on Pixel 5. It uses data from the device’s other sensors to detect when little pressure is applied on the sides. Although the app asks for advanced system permissions, you don’t need to root your phone.
This guide has everything you need to get the squeeze gesture for Google Assistant back on your Pixel 5. We have given detailed instructions to help you set up the SideSqueeze+ app.
- 1 Step 1: Download and install SideSqueeze+
- 2 Step 2: Go through the first-time setup tour
- 3 Step 3: Enable the Accessibility service
- 4 Step 4: Disable battery optimization
- 5 Step 5: Configure the squeeze detection
- 6 Step 6: Enable the squeeze gesture
- 7 Step 7: Remove the persistent notification
- 8 Squeeze your Pixel 5 to activate Google Assistant
Step 1: Download and install SideSqueeze+
To get the Active Edge gesture features back on Pixel, you must install the SideSqueeze+ app first. The app is currently available on the Play Store in early access, so it may not show up in the search results.
Instead, you can tap this link to get redirected to the SideSqueeze+ app page on the Play Store. Once you are there, all you have to do is tap Install and wait for the app to get installed on your Pixel 5.
Step 2: Go through the first-time setup tour
Once you launch the SideSqueeze+ app for the first time, you should see the welcome screen. The amount of information you get on each tab is quite dense, which will take you two minutes or so to completely get through.
However, you can skip the info cards by tapping the forward-arrow icon at the bottom-right corner of the screen. Tap Finish in the end and proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Enable the Accessibility service
You will now get a prompt to grant SideSqueeze+ a few essential permissions, starting with the accessibility plugin. Tap OK in the prompt to continue. It will send you directly to the Accessibility settings page.
Tap SideSqueeze+ on the following page, then toggle the slider next to the “Use SideSqueeze+” option. Finally, tap Allow under the pop up to give the app full control of your device.
You can now return to the SideSqueeze+ app window to continue through the set-up process.
Step 4: Disable battery optimization
Upon returning to the SideSqueeze+ app, you will see an app changelog, which you can skip by tapping Continue. Right after that, a disclaimer window will pop up regarding the risks of squeezing your device too hard. Tap Agree if you understand.
Another pop-up window will appear on the screen, asking you to disable battery optimizations for the app. When you tap OK, it will take you to the Battery optimization settings menu.
In the menu, tap the Not optimized option and select All apps from the drop-down menu. After that, scroll down the list of apps and choose SideSqueeze+, tap Don’t optimize in the pop-up and then tap Done to disable Android battery optimizations for the app.
Once again, you can go back to the SideSqueeze+ app window to further configure the squeeze gesture.
Step 5: Configure the squeeze detection
When you return to the app window, you might be asked to grant advanced permissions over ADB. Since you don’t need to enable it for the squeeze gesture, tap Not Now.
You should now see the SideSqueeze+ app’s main screen. Start with toggling on the “Enable Squeeze Detection” option above, followed by tapping the Calibrate button right below the Squeeze Trigger Strength row.
Once you are on the Squeeze Calibration menu, tap the Start button below and proceed to gently squeeze the sides of your Pixel 5 to create a profile. After successful calibration, the app will ask you once again to “set gain to -75” for better results. Tap “OK, Do It” and go through the calibration process again.
When you see the “Calibration Complete!” window, tap the Set Release Threshold option to finalize the calibration.
Step 6: Enable the squeeze gesture
After you go through Step 5, return to the main screen and toggle on the slider next to Single Squeeze. Make sure to also toggle the slider next to the “Primary action while screen is on” option.
Now you should see a drop-down menu box under the gesture options you just enabled. Tap the box, then scroll down to Launch Default Voice Assistant in the drop-down menu and select it. Leave the pair of tick boxes set as they are by default.
You can also enable and assign actions to Double Squeeze and Triple Squeeze options, but we won’t focus on them in this guide. It’s similar to how we have shown the process of setting up the Single Squeeze feature, so you can do it yourself.
Step 7: Remove the persistent notification
To ensure that your Pixel 5’s memory management doesn’t close the SideSqueeze+ app from running in the background, it always keeps a persistent notification in the notification shade.
If you don’t want unremovable clutter on your status bar, simply long-press the SideSqueeze+ app notification and tap the “Turn off notifications” option. You can now toggle the slider off next to All SideSqueeze+ notifications, and tap Apply to remove the persistent alert. Note that it won’t affect the app process from closing in the background.
Squeeze your Pixel 5 to activate Google Assistant
That’s all you need to do to get the Active Edge functionality working on your Pixel 5. You can now squeeze the bottom half of your phone from the sides to activate Google Assistant.
If you ever have to restart the device, make sure to launch the SideSqueeze+ app after the boot to get the squeeze gesture working again.