+ Thursday November 21st, 2019

If you’ve read our hands-on preview of the Google Pixel 4 series, you’d be aware that the Motion Sense feature – using the Soli radar sensor – can be a little hit and miss.

It seems we weren’t alone in this assessment, but perhaps we weren’t using it properly.

We found this tip on Reddit this morning, and were pleasantly surprised to say it helped:

Redditor sycho91 writes:

I’ve been quite frustrated with the way motion sense worked when I unboxed my Pixel 4 yesterday.

It didn’t seem to work really, I tested it on YouTube Music and it was broken, I’d say 2/3rd of the time it didn’t work.

The thing is : when I gave the phone to my girlfriend, it worked flawlessly. Straight up magic.

Now I don’t know if I’m saying something completely obvious, but I noticed that I was making my “swipes” above the sensor/radar at the top of the phone, because obviously as a tech nerd I knew it was there.

So I tried to wave NOT aiming for the sensors, but simply above the screen, and I felt dumb because this way Motion Sense works 100%, it’s actually really cool.

I really don’t know if I was being stupid or if this post is going to be helpful to anyone, but yeah, that’s it.

TLDR: Don’t wave at the sensors, simply wave at the screen.

We’ve tried this with our Pixel 4 handsets and it does seem to make a difference. Try it with yours and see if Motion Sense works a little better for you too.

Chris Rowland   Managing Editor

Chris Rowland

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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Geoff Fieldew
Ausdroid Reader

Ok, thanks for this. It’s working better for me now too. Sometimes being a tech nerd doesn’t help.


This happened in the store too. I was watching tech youtubers fail at it but when I tried it in the store, waving above the screen, it worked 100%.

Luke Vesty
Ausdroid Reader
Luke Vesty

Still flaky for me. It’s the only underwhelming Pixel 4 feature so far in my book. Even the battery has been more acceptable than my experience with gestures.

I hope for some big improvements with software updates over the coming months.

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