Pixel Shortcuts Adds Shortcuts For Certain Hidden Apps


Google's update to Android 9.0 Pie for Pixel phones brought a wealth of new features, but the decision to hide the new Digital Wellbeing app in the phone settings inspired the creator of Action Launcher to make an app that allows users to bring those hidden apps front and center. The app can create shortcuts in the app drawer, which can be dragged onto the home screen, or it can create widgets on the home screen that lead to those hidden apps. The latter option will continue to work even if you uninstall Pixel Shortcuts, but when you get rid of the app, non-widget shortcuts go with it.

The app is designed to bring hidden apps front and center to make them easier to access. It's not that these apps are not supposed to be accessed by users, but in many cases, they only come up in certain system calls, such as some system launchers like Samsung's TouchWiz launcher only coming up when the phone asks to display the launcher switcher, or they may be hidden in the phone settings or other areas, as is the case with Digital Wellbeing. In either case, Pixel Shortcuts will make these apps appear in the drawer. It also allows you to make widgets for them, which can work anywhere widgets are supported, including certain lockscreens.

This incredibly simple app doesn't bring any new functionality to the table, per se, but simply makes it easier to access features and apps that are already present in your phone. It was created because of Digital Wellbeing, but will work with any hidden apps, as stated above, possibly including certain testing apps found on devices from the likes of Samsung and Xiaomi. Certain apps like Action Launcher can create custom shortcuts that can actually call up activities within these apps as an alternate way to get into them, but Pixel Shortcuts is one of the easiest ways to get into apps that aren't normally accessible via normal means. It's worth noting that this app does not require root privileges, and despite what its front page says, does not actually require Pixel Launcher or Digital Wellbeing in order to perform its core functionality. It's also worth noting that Digital Wellbeing is still not working for non-Pixel devices on Pie just yet, and this app will not fix that; you'll be able to access Digital Wellbeing, but it won't do anything until Google rolls it out to all devices.


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Senior Staff Writer

Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, Voice assistants, AI technology development news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]

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