A major Google Pixel 9 display upgrade may have just leaked

Google Pixel 8 review back straight
The Pixel 8 launched in 2023 (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

At some point later this year we should be treated to the arrival of the flagship Google Pixel 9, and one of the key upgrades over the Pixel 8 might be in the display department, if a new leak is to be believed.

As per Android Authority, there's code hidden in the latest Android 14 beta that mentions an "adaptive touch" option in the Display section of Settings. When enabled, "touch sensitivity will automatically adjust to your environment, activities and screen protector" according to the code.

That sums up what adaptive touch is pretty well: it changes the sensitivity of the screen, so you'll need a harder or softer tap to register a press. If you've ever unsuccessfully tried to use your phone screen in the rain or while wearing gloves, that's the problem adaptive touch is designed to fix.

Screen protectors can interfere with touch sensitivity as well, and a variety of phones – including Samsung Galaxy handsets, the Pixel 8, and the Pixel 8 Pro – already have a toggle switch you can enable to boost sensitivity when a protector is in place. Adaptive touch would make that sort of adjustment automatically, it seems.

Coming soon

Based on the digging done by Android Authority, this isn't a feature that's coming to existing Pixel phones first – there's a 'P24' flag in the code that most probably means 2024 phones, so the Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro. Whether or not it'll be rolled out to older handsets later remains to be seen.

The Pixel 9 phones are unlikely to launch before October, but the leaks and rumors are already starting to appear online. The upcoming flagships are expected to feature a new Tensor G4 chipset designed by Google, and the indications are that it might solve some of the problems the Pixel 8 has had with heat and efficiency.

We've also seen leaked renders of both the Pixel 9 and the Pixel 9 Pro, showing a redesigned camera bump and sides that are flat rather than rounded. The images suggest that camera upgrades could also be in the offing, but of course this is all speculation until Google makes everything official.

We should also see Android 15 being rolled out at the same time as the Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro. In addition to adaptive touch, the new software might also bring satellite messaging capabilities to Android for the first time.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.