Always-on Display on Google Pixel and Nexus Devices
Always-on Display on Google Pixel and Nexus Devices

Google recently released the successors to the Google Pixel smartphones which have been named as the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL. Now, the smartphones have many great features bundled into them like the latest Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB of RAM, Portrait mode for front and back cameras along with many other things. However, there is also another important feature that is built into the Google Pixel 2’s display which is available on both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. This feature is the Always-on Display mode which is available on the smartphone. Today, we’ll help you get the Always-on Display on Google Pixel and Nexus Devices.

Talking about the working of Always-on Display, we have known that there is already a feature on Android devices known as Ambient Display which is triggered when there is any notification. As soon as the notification arrives on the phone, the Ambient Display shows the notification on the screen but it is shown in Black and White and turns the screen on automatically so that we can have at the notification and then it turns the screen off again after some seconds. The Always-on Display works in a similar way but the only difference here is that whenever we lock the display on Google Pixel 2, the Always-on display comes into action and turns on the display to show Date/Time and whenever there is a notification from any app, it shows the notification also but in Black and White.

Now, this feature was only available on the Google Pixel 2 smartphones up until now but thanks to an XDA Junior member, InFlames03, we have now received a way to enable this feature from the Google Pixel 2 on the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, and Nexus 5X.

Now, we have put up a tutorial for you to enable the Always-on Display on your Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, and Nexus 5X below so that you can enable this feature by yourself. Also, this tutorial does not require you to root your device but you should have Substratum theme engine installed on your device.


  • There can be serious battery drain issues after enabling the Always-on Display on non-Pixel 2 devices as the screens are not optimized for enabling Always-on Display on other devices
  • Sometimes, you will see a grey screen on your Lock screen after enabling this feature.
  • You will not be able to get to your Lock screen by double tapping on Always-on Display, you will have to tap 4 times to get to the Lock screen.
  • Also, you will not reach the Lock screen by pressing the power button once. Instead, you will have to press it twice to get to the Lock screen.


  • The Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X should be running on Android 8.1 Oreo Developer Preview 1.
  • There should be Substratum theme engine installed on the above-mentioned smartphones. However, if you do not have Substratum installed on your phone, you can follow our guide to Install Substratum on Android 8.0 Oreo devices
  • You will have to download and install Always-on Enabler apk for Substratum | Download
  • Alternatively, you can also download the Pixel Enabler apk by Sai from Google Play Store | Download (Note: The Pixel Enabler apk has more functions than the Always-on Enabler apk mentioned above and should have more features added to it in future)

Steps to Enable Always-on Display on Google Pixel and Nexus Devices

  • Once you have understood and completed all the steps mentioned in the Pre-requisites section above, you can follow this guide. (Note: It is important to follow the Pre-requisites otherwise this guide will not work)
  • Open the Substratum Theme manager on your Google Pixel or Nexus device and find the Always-on Enabler app or the Pixel Enabler app from the list of installed themes in Substratum.
  • Now, tap on the Pixel Enabler or the Always on Enabler to select it.
  • After selecting the particular application, click on “select to toggle all overlays
  • Once done, you will see a rounded floating paint roller button on the bottom-right corner once you scroll to the bottom.
  • Tap on the roller button and select “Build and Enable
  • Now, reboot your device normally.
  • After rebooting, open Settings on your phone and go to the Advanced category.
  • In the Advanced category, tap on “Ambient Display” and you will see an option for Always-on Display which you should first disable it and then re-enable so that you can enable and enjoy Always-on display on your phone.

Now, if you follow the guide to enable the Always-on Display for your Google Pixel and Nexus devices properly, you will be able to enable this feature without any problems. However, if you face any problems while following this guide then you can comment on your questions in the comment section down below and we will try to solve your problem at the earliest.

Also, note that this feature is known to work only on the Android 8.1 Oreo Developer Preview 1 as of now and it is possible that this could not work on other future builds so do not try this method for other Android 8.1 Oreo Developer Previews.

source: xda

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