How to create a rule to silence your Google Pixel phone based on Wi-Fi or location


Do you find yourself forgetting to silence your Pixel phone when you arrive at work or other important locations? Jack Wallen shows you how easy this is with Android 10 or 11.

Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

Android has a lot of tricks up its sleeve. Some trickle out such that everyone knows about them as soon as they hit, while others go under the radar. There are even some features that roll out to the platform which are device specific. This happens to be an issue that irks certain users, especially when a particular feature is really handy and it’s not available for their device.

Such is the case with some of the features that Google adds to the Android platform on Pixel devices. It happens more than you might think. Fortunately, some of those features eventually find their way to stock Android. One such feature that has yet to find its way to Android (outside of the Pixel line) is Rules automation.

What is Rules automation? 

With Google Pixel devices, it is possible to create a rule to silence your device, based on either location or a specific Wi-Fi network. Say, for instance, you always want your phone set on silent mode the second you walk in to your office. With the Rules automation feature that is not only possible, it’s really simple.

Before you squint your eyes too hard, this feature is somewhat similar to the feature that is found in stock Android which allows you to create rules for sleeping, events, or Wi-Fi connections. Although more limited in scope, the Pixel-specific feature, however, is much more refined and easier to use.

To those who have Pixel devices, I’m going to show you how to use this feature, so you can be sure your phone will always silence itself when you need.

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What you’ll need

In order to take advantage of this feature, you’ll need a Pixel phone running Android 10 or 11

How to create a rule

Let’s say you want to create a rule to silence your phone as soon as it connects to your company Wi-Fi network. To do that, open the Android Settings app and go to System | Advanced | Rules.

In the Rules screen, tap Add rule (Figure A).

Figure A

rulesd.jpg

Adding a new rule in Android 11, running on a Google Pixel 4.

In the resulting window, tap the + button to add either a Wi-Fi network or location (Figure B). 

Figure B

rulese.jpg

You can create a rule based on a network or a location.

From the popup, tap Wi-Fi network because that’s the type of rule we’re configuring this time around (Figure C). 

Figure C

rulesf.jpg

Let’s create a rule based on a Wi-Fi connection.

From the resulting list, select the Wi-Fi connection you want to define your rule. 

From the list, under Do the following, tap how you want your phone to behave once it connects to that particular network. You can select from:

  • Turn On Do Not Disturb

  • Set Phone To Silent

  • Set Phone To Vibrate

  • Set Phone To Ring

You can optionally include a notification to be sent when the rule takes effect. When you’re finished, tap Add at the bottom-right corner (Figure D).

Figure D

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Completing a new rule to silence your Google Pixel phone when it connects to a specific Wi-Fi network.

After you complete the rule, you might see a warning indicating the feature needs to run in the background to update your settings (Figure E).

Figure E

rulesi.jpg

One last thing to take care of, before the Rules feature will work.

If you see that warning, tap Next and, when prompted, tap Allow to enable the service to run in the background.

And that’s all there is to creating a rule to silence your Pixel phone when it connects to a network or comes within range of a specific location. This feature will come in handy, especially if you’re prone to forgetting to silence your device when a situation or location demands it. 

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