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How to disable Quick Gestures on the Pixel 4 (and stop accidentally skipping songs)

I’ve been using the new Google Pixel 4 for a few days now. The new camera’s great, I’m a big fan of the design, and the pure Android UI is lovely. Its battery life, as most people now know, is terrible, but something else has also been bugging me: the new Quick Gestures (which you may also know as Quick Controls or Motion Sense gestures). In this article, we’ll explain how to disable them, and how they work.

How to disable Quick Gestures on the Pixel 4

Gestures are a headline feature of both the Pixel 4 and the Google Pixel 4 XL, and they allow you to control a handful of features without actually touching your phone.

To skip a song when you’re playing music, just wave your hand over the phone. To go back to the start of a song or repeat the previous song, wave your hand the other way. Like so:

pixel 4 quick controls

You can also wave across to snooze an alarm, turn off a timer or mute a call. Like so:

A GIF showing Pixel 4's quick motion controls

Fortunately, disabling Quick Gestures is easy, and the process is exactly the same on both the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.

All you need to do is go to Settings > System > Gestures > Motion Sense. Right at the top of the page, you’ll find the Quick Gestures section.

To disable the gesture control for skipping songs, tap Skip Songs and turn the toggle off.

It’s on this page that you can also flip the wave direction for skipping or repeating songs.

Doing this won’t turn off the Quick Control for silencing alarms, timers and calls though.

To also disable that Quick Control, go back to the Motion Sense page, tap Silence Interruptions and turn the toggle off.

Related: Best smartphone

These gesture controls, which are powered by Google’s Soli radar chip, have received plenty of praise from reviewers, many of whom have talked up the potential of the technology, but in their current form (before third-party developers have had the chance to see what they can do with them) I’m not convinced.

And it’s the wave to skip songs gesture that keeps catching me out.

This may seem a strange criticism, but my issue is that it probably works too well. When I’m listening to Spotify in the morning while getting ready for work, I keep activating the gesture control without actually meaning to.

An obvious solution would be for me to stop getting changed next to my phone, but it’s easier said than done. In the morning, when I’m bleary-eyed and not really thinking properly (not just a mornings-only thing), I only remember to move my phone away or flip it face-down after I accidentally skip a song again.

It’s not exactly a serious issue, but it’s pretty annoying nonetheless.

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