This hidden Pixel feature supercharges copy-and-paste

This hidden Pixel feature supercharges copy-and-paste
Based on all the text and images we interact with on our phones every day, it’s not surprising how often we use the ubiquitous copy and paste. Unfortunately, copy and paste has a number of limitations, but Pixels manage to sidestep them with a little-known trick baked into the software.

Ever wanted to copy just part of a text message? Too bad, because generally the only way is to copy the whole thing, paste it somewhere, delete the parts you don’t want, and copy it again. Or want to copy an Instagram caption? You’d better find it on the platform’s limited web interface, because the only other way is to take a screenshot and use something like Google Lens (if your device supports it, that is). Yeah. 


Enter Google’s Pixel phones, which don’t have to face this problem because they can copy literally anything with this simple and brilliant trick—all you have to do is swipe up. That’s right, the Pixel app switcher has a hidden superpower, and it’s incredibly useful. 

You can copy text that’s otherwise inaccessible with just a long-press, wherever that text may be. In the aforementioned scenarios, you can click and drag to copy just part of a text message or an Instagram bio. Even more exciting, text is only the beginning.

The app switcher can also copy pictures and graphics on your screen, such as album covers from Spotify, which can then be shared with others or saved to your archives. Though it’s a small feature, it’s incredibly versatile and useful in many scenarios. 

But the coolest thing about this is that it can even copy text that isn’t recognized elsewhere—such as text in screenshots. Clearly, Google pulled some strings with its own image recognition magic to make this possible, and as a result, you can copy things no other devices can.

Despite being such a powerful feature, I can’t seem to find much mention of it online, or even an official name. So far, it seems to be Pixel-exclusive from Android 10 on, as it doesn’t work on Samsung or OnePlus devices even on the latest version of Android.

To be fair, just normal copying from the app switcher has been available across manufacturers since Android Pie, but Google’s version is far more advanced than anything else. In any case, this is another example of Google’s small software optimizations that make daily life a bit easier.

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