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Pixel 8 and 8a could get this Gemini Nano toggle very soon (APK teardown)

You'll need to activate this toggle in developer options, which will be a bit of a deterrent for wide adoption.

Published onMay 29, 2024

Google Gemini logo on smartphone stock photo (1)
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • An APK teardown of Google’s AICore app shows the expected toggle for activating Gemini Nano features on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a.
  • Google said Nano would come to these phones through Developer Options, so this suggests that the launch is imminent.
  • However, it’s also possible this would allow users to opt out of Nano on the Pixel 8 Pro, too.

There are many versions of Google’s Gemini. Only one of them actually works using the hardware built into smartphones, though, which is Gemini Nano. So far, Nano support only exists on a handful of phones. Notably, this includes just one Pixel: the Google Pixel 8 Pro. When Google confirmed that Nano support wouldn’t come to the Pixel 8, there was a slight uproar — so much so that Google backtracked and agreed to bring Nano support to the Pixel 8 and, even better, the Pixel 8a, too.

The caveat, though, is that Google is going to force users to manually enable Nano support on the Pixel 8 and 8a through a toggle in developer options, while Pixel 8 Pro users already have the features automatically enabled. This means that the vast majority of Pixel 8/8a users won’t use Gemini Nano features because so few of them will know it’s even an option. Now, thanks to an APK teardown of the recent AICore app from Google, we can see the supposed toggle for this feature, suggesting an imminent launch. Interestingly, it might also mean more control of the feature for Pixel 8 Pro users, too.

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

First, let’s show you what we found. In the screenshot below, you can see the two toggles we expect to appear in Settings > Developer Options > AICore Settings on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a. The first toggle gives permission for AICore to use as many resources as possible (which you will almost certainly want to leave activated), and the second actually turns on Nano.

Gemini AICore Toggle Leak
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

We can’t say anything for certain until Google actually announces this, but we assume both of these toggles will be “off” by default. That’s how Google described it, so that’s what we’re going with for now.

In other words, this is the order things should go:

  • Google announces a Feature Drop that brings Nano support to the Pixel 8 and 8a
  • Pixel 8 and 8a users will need to activate Developer Options
  • In Developer Options, you’ll need to activate the second toggle in the screenshot above and, optionally, the first one

Theoretically, once you do those steps, you should be able to use Gemini Nano features on your Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a.

The very fact that the AICore app has this means we should expect Google to announce Nano support for the Pixel 8/8a very soon, possibly in just weeks or even days.

What about the Pixel 8 Pro?

One of the interesting side-effects of this toggle’s upcoming existence on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a is that it might also come to the Pixel 8 Pro. This would, in theory, allow Pixel 8 Pro users to disable Gemini Nano — something that’s currently not possible. As mentioned earlier, Nano support is enabled by default on the Pixel 8 Pro already, and without a toggle like this, there’s no way to turn it off.

Obviously, most people wouldn’t feel the need to disable Nano support, but it is possible that this toggle could give those folks the option. Just like with Pixel 8 and 8a users turning the feature on, Pixel 8 Pro users could follow the same steps to turn it off.

Samsung already allows users to disable/enable specific AI features through its Galaxy AI interface, which is built right into Android settings. Unfortunately, this toggle buried in Developer Options on Pixels wouldn’t be nearly as convenient, but at least it would give users more control, which is almost always a good thing.

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