Android 12 brings with it lots of useful additions including the ability to natively take scrolling screenshots, wallpaper-based dynamic theming, a privacy dashboard and more. Google has also slipped in a little something for mobile gamers in the latest updated. Called Game Dashboard, it’s a feature aimed to enhance your mobile gaming experience. However, the option is a little hidden so many users might not even realized it’s there. This article shows you how to activate and take advantage of it.
What is Game Dashboard?
Android 12’s Game Dashboard basically brings a series of in-game options to your mobile device. These are accessible via a small controller-shaped icon which appears on the side of the screen (whether you’re in a game or not), once the option has been enabled. Users can move it around and place it anywhere on the screen to best suit their needs.
When tapped, the icon reveals a list of options to choose from including Optimization, FPS and others (will be discussed in full below) that can be activated while in-game. To be able to take advantage of these functionalities, you’ll need to turn on the “Game Dashboard” feature first, which is not very intuitive.
What Phones Support Game Dashboard?
So far, the option appears to be limited to only Google’s Pixel lineup. “Game Dashboard” first appeared on the Pixel 6/Pixel 6 Pro, but since then it has made its way to older Pixels, as well. These include:
- Pixel 3
- Pixel 3 XL
- Pixel 3a
- Pixel 3a XL
- Pixel 4
- Pixel 4a
- Pixel 5
- Pixel 5a
While Google itself hasn’t officially confirmed the information, “Game Dashboard” is probably bound to arrive on more Android 12 phones as the mobile OS makes its way onto more and more devices.
How to Enable Game Dashboard on Your Device
If you have a compatible Pixel device these are the steps to activate the option on your device for a superior gaming experience.
- Open Settings on your smartphone. Interestingly, if you search for “Game Dashboard”, you won’t get any results.
- Instead, go to Notifications.
- Scroll down and select “Do Not Disturb”.
- Press on Schedules.
- You’ll see a list of Schedules including one for Gaming. Make sure this option is set to On.
- Now tap on the cog wheel next to the Gaming option.
- Toggle on the “Game Dashboard” option.
- The option is now enabled, but don’t rush to launch a game just yet. You might have a hard time spotting the Game Dashboard icon if you do so immediately. You see, the floating icon might be hidden on your display. Take a look on your screen and you should notice an a handle with an arrow on it on the right side.
- Tap on it to reveal the Game Dashboard icon. Indeed, you don’t need to be in-game to see the icon. Once enabled, the option will be present on your home screen.
How to Use Android 12’s Game Dashboard
Once the feature is on, you can go ahead and run a game you have installed on your smartphone. The floating bubble will be there. While playing simply tap on it to enter the Dashboard where several options to choose from.
The first batch are shortcuts which can be added to the Dashboard sidebar for easier access during gameplay. You’ll get the following options:
- Screenshots – allows you to quickly take screenshots while playing supported game.
- Screen recording – offers the option to record your gaming sessions without exiting the game.
- Frame-per-second counter (FPS) – shows your FPS rate in real-time
- Do not disturb mode – when activated users will only get notified by important people and apps while in-game.
Additionally, there are three more options the Game Dashboard puts at your disposal:
- Game Optimization – this is not available for most games, so it will just appear grayed out in the majority of cases. In cases when it’s functional, Game Optimization will let you choose between three modes: Performance, Battery Saver and Standard. This to allow users to adjust the performance and visuals of the game based on individual preferences. While Battery Saver will reduce the frame rate of the game, Performance mode enables a smoother experience with higher frame rates.
- YouTube Live – adds YouTube streaming integration (if your account allows it).
- Achievements – shows you all the achievements you’ve scored so far in that particular game, provided you’ve logged in with your Play Games account.
How Unique is Android 12’s Game Dashboard?
Are there alternatives to Game Dashboard? The answer is yes. Other manufacturers such as OnePlus have been offering their own “Game mode”, which offers features that are similar.
Once activated, “Game mode” can be accessed in-game by swiping downwards from the top of the screen on the right side of the display, like you would for bringing up the notification shade. Instead, players will be presented with a set of options including:
- Social apps – by tapping on them you’ll be able to send a quick message directly from the game.
- Pro Gaming Mode – once toggled on, the option will 1) block all notifications and calls 2) restrict background to boost your game 3) stop secondary SIM to enhance network.
- Notifications – the option will block any notifications from going through to you.
- Mistouch prevention – accidental swipes or touches won’t pull down the notification drawer.
- Screen Recorder (you’ll have to swipe right on the Game mode panel to view this option and the next two) – allows you to record your gaming session.
- Rewind recording – allows you to recapture the last 30s of your gaming session simply by tapping the screen.
- System status – shows you game stats such as FPS rate, as well as GPU/CPU usage stats.
But if Game Dashboard extends its availability to all Android 12 devices, you won’t be required to have a Pixel or an OnePlus phone to take advantage of game boosting features such as the ones detailed above. You’ll just need to upgrade your phone (if it’s supported) to the latest Android build.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. My Game Dashboard floating icon keeps disappearing or doesn’t show up at all. What can I do?
First of all, make sure you’ve enabled the feature by following the instructions above step-by-step. If it’s still not showing up, make sure you’ve opened a few other apps and games on your phone and simply bring up the Recent apps, for example, by swiping your finger from the bottom of the display and tapping the square icon. Switch to another game, and the icon should appear now.
2. Game Dashboard takes blank screenshots. How to fix?
Try disabling and enabling the feature again. Then go ahead and try to screenshot in the game again. If it’s still doesn’t work keep in mind that some games might not support screenshots from the Game dashboard yet. While the Game dashboard floating icon can be present in any game, after being enabled, not all games are fully compatible with the feature just yet. It’s the case of Time Guardians, for example.
3. Which games are fully supported by Game Dashboard on Android 12?
There is no official list, but we can assume that games have achievements in Play Games will also show these achievements in the Game Dashboard. Chances are screenshots will also work with these games, but “Game Optimization”, for instance isn’t available for many titles. Even in the games where you can screenshot in “Game Dashboard” such as Alto’s Adventure, Alto’s Odyssey, Temple Run 2, Fallout Shelter or Sniper 3D. For the time being, knowing exactly which game is fully supported by Game Dashboard is a trial-and-error affair.
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