Google Plans ‘Adaptive Thermal’ Feature for Pixel Phones

Google Plans ‘Adaptive Thermal’ Feature for Pixel Phones

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Today’s smartphones are essentially supercomputers in your pocket, sporting multiple CPU cores, powerful GPUs, and integrated cellular radios. The flip side of all that power is that modern smartphones can get toasty, which can damage the hardware. Phones can take action to limit the problem, but Google is reportedly looking at another way to manage temperatures on Pixel phones by keeping users in the loop with a new feature called Adaptive Thermal.

This feature has not been officially announced, but Android Authority has poked around in a recently updated APK to discover the groundwork for Adaptive Thermal. The code is hiding in the Device Health Services app (version 1.27). It makes reference to several “emergency notifications” that could appear when your Pixel gets too hot.

High temperatures are not a problem exclusive to Google—other phone makers like Apple also have to deal with overheating. When a smartphone gets dangerously hot, it might slow the processor or disable features like the camera to bring temps under control. In extreme circumstances, the device may simply shut off to prevent hardware damage. Adaptive Thermal appears to give users a chance to speed up the cooling process by being remarkably honest about system performance.

Pixel 8


Credit: Ryan Whitwam

The emergency notifications would appear with an alert reading “Your phone needs to cool down,” along with a link to learn more. These “self care steps” will give users an overview of the thermal situation, warning them of the various ways their phone might become less useful as it cools down. It also offers suggestions to speed up the process, like avoiding direct sunlight, improving airflow around the device, closing the camera, and exiting battery-intensive apps.

While the alerts are active, the Pixel will have a temporary temperature monitoring service that updates every five minutes. If the device does not start cooling down, Adaptive Thermal will switch to an “emergency state” at 52 degrees Celsius (126 degrees Fahrenheit). The nature of emergency mode is unclear, but Android expert Mishaal Rahman speculates that Adaptive Thermal will shut down even more features in this mode. If the phone reaches 55 degrees Celsius (131 degrees Fahrenheit), Adaptive Thermal will fire off another notification, but this one will warn the user of an impending shutdown with a 30-second countdown.

This feature will most likely become a tentpole for one of Google’s upcoming Pixel Feature Drop updates. We don’t know when that will happen, but you’re not losing any functionality while you wait. Adaptive Thermal doesn’t require users to do anything—you can ignore the notification and keep torturing the phone if you so choose. If you understand the relationship between thermals and performance, you can do all the things Adaptive Thermal will suggest without the hand-holding.

View original source here.

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