This new Android feature makes snapping better selfies

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Selfie with pixels


I don’t take a lot of selfies but I know a lot of people who do. Inevitably, those selfies look like the subject/photographer is trying their best to look like they’re not taking a selfie. However, when you have to hold the phone with one hand and tap the shutter button with the other, it’s very obvious. And what happens when you want to take a single photo and your arm isn’t long enough to properly frame what’s in the background?

Well, Google has created a solution for those who consider selfies as their favorite form of expression. Basically, what the developers have done is use AI to recognize a gesture. When the camera detects that gesture, it takes a selfie.

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Said gesture is called palm timer. How this is used will differ depending on your camera. The feature is baked into the phone’s Pixel line and is always on (you’ll just have to figure out how it works with the timer functionality). If you have a Samsung phone, you need to enable the feature.

I’ve tested the Palm Timer over and over and found it to be an absolute must-have for selfies, especially when your arms aren’t long enough or you don’t want to risk ruining the shot by reaching out and tapping the shutter button.

Let me show you how this is done.

Using Palm Timer on Android

What you will need: You will need an updated Pixel or Samsung phone to do this Note, however, that the version of Android on your device may either require different steps or may not even have the feature built-in. I will demonstrate this step by step on a Pixel 8 Pro and Samsung device should Work on any phone with Android 13 or newer installed.

With that out of the way, let’s make this happen.

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How to Enable Palm Timer on Pixel Phone

First, open the Android Camera app. Once the Camera app is open, tap the gear icon in the lower left corner to access Settings.

Bottom part of android phone app.

Settings are accessed via the bottom left gear icon on Pixel phones.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZdNet

In the Settings pop-up, tap More settings On the resulting page, tap Palm Timer.

List of palm timers on Android 14 on a Pixel 8 Pro.

I keep my palm timer on all the time.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZdNet

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You have two options here: “Only when the 3 or 10 second timer is on” or “Always on”. I would always recommend going with on; Otherwise, you’ll have to remember to turn on the timer every time you take a selfie. However, if you don’t need to use the palm timer all the time, you can choose the 3 or 10 second timer option.

Palm timer pop-up in settings

If you choose the first setting, you’ll need to remember to enable your timer when taking a selfie.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZdNet

This is for Pixel phones. You can now go back to the Camera app from Settings.

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How to Enable Palm Timer on Samsung Phones

This process is a little different. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the Camera app.
  2. Tap the gear icon in the upper left corner.
  3. Tap shooting mode.
  4. Tap the On/Off slider for Show Palm until it is in the On position.
  5. Go back to Settings.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZdNet

How to use Palm Timer

It is very simple. While taking a selfie, all you have to do is hold your palm towards the camera. You’ll see the camera app recognize your palm and start a countdown.

Once the countdown hits zero, the selfie is clicked and you’re ready to share it with the world (or retake it if you’re not satisfied with the results).

Also: 5 Hidden Samsung Galaxy Camera Features You Should Be Using

And that’s what Palm Timer is capable of and using to enhance your selfies with Android.

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