Google’s new Heads Up feature is definitely a Digital Wellbeing tool that will can stop you through walking into light rods and other pedestrians. 


Jason Cipriani

We’ve all seen the hilarious video of somebody walking across the street and correct into a light rod while staring at their particular phone. Or maybe this wasn’t a video plus the person was a person. Google wants to assist you to avoid being the superstar in the next show of America’s Funniest Home Videos — or even avoiding near misses along with cars, bikes and additional pedestrians — with a brand new function called Heads Up, rolling away now to its Digital Wellbeing Android app. 

After switching on Heads Up, your telephone will periodically display a warn that reminds you in order to keep the head up whenever it detects you’re strolling and using your telephone at the same period. 

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Heads Up is currently rolling out to Pixel phones, as spotted by XDA Developers . After checking a few different Android phones on my desk, I only see it on Pixel phones as well. Google often uses its own Pixel line as a test bed before sharing features more widely with other Android phones, so even if you don’t have Heads Up now, pay attention, because you might see it soon. (I’ve reached out to Google to clarify which devices will fold in the news Heads Up feature.) Here’s how it works.


Don’t run into anything you shouldn’t the next time you’re using your phone while walking. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani

How to set up Heads Up to keep from being oblivious

Open the Settings app on your phone then scroll until you locate the Digital Wellbeing & parental controls option; tap it. Scroll to the bottom of the various settings where you should spot a new Heads Up option, just above the toggle switch to add an app icon for Digital Wellbeing to your app drawer. Select Heads Up and follow the setup prompts. 

You’ll need to grant Digital Wellbeing permission to view your physical activity so it can identify when you’re walking. Optionally, you can give the app permission to view your current location at all times. Doing so will allow it to identify when you’re inside — itis actually unclear if that means it’ll be more or less proactive about reminding you to look up, but let’s hope for the former. 

With Heads Up enabled, you will receive an alert whenever you use your phone and it detects you’re walking around. I spent a good 20 minutes walking around my house scrolling through Reddit and Twitter, along with sending emails and text messages and didn’t trigger the alert. My only guess is that Google assumes I know my house well enough to not run into a wall while walking around. My take? Google doesn’t know me that well. 


It only takes a couple of taps to configure Heads Up. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani

Join the Digital Wellbeing beta

If you have a Pixel and don’t see the Heads Up feature quite yet, you can join the Digital Wellbeing beta program, which should trigger the new feature upon your phone. Join the beta by visiting the app’s Play Store listing and installing it. 

You can always leave the beta at any time by visiting the same Play Store page and removing yourself from it, but I’ve always joined any beta that Google has for the Android apps and haven’t run into any major issues, along with the added bonus of getting to check out features before they’re widely rolled out. 

If you’re curious about what else you can use Digital Wellbeing for, read more about this here. Check away all of the particular hidden features every Android telephone has, too. Finally, Android 12 is coming later this year and we’re already tracked down new features that a person’ll love using.

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