A new Android feature would warn users to refrain from using their phones while walking.

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Have your head held high.

Are you one of those people who, when walking along, becomes so engrossed in their screen that they refuse to look up? It’s a tradition that all of us engage in. Fortunately, Google’s “Head’s Up” mode for its Digital Wellbeing programme reminds people to remain aware of their surroundings.

 

The folks at XDA Developers spotted the feature in a teardown of the Digital Wellbeing app back in September. A beta version now appears to be rolling out, with Twitter user @jay__kamat receiving it on his Pixel 4A handset.

When you unlock Heads Up in the Digital Wellbeing app’s ‘Reduce Interruptions’ segment and grant location (optional) and physical activity permissions, you’ll be notified if action is observed while the screen is working. “Be careful” and “Look ahead” are among the alerts, though Google cautions: “Use with caution.” Heads Up should not take the position of paying attention.”

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9To5Google reports that the feature has appeared in both the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 within the Digital Wellbeing beta build.

Using a phone while walking has been a concern in many countries, leading to a rise in pedestrian-vehicle accidents. In 2016, we learned about a German community that installed hidden pedestrian traffic lights so that phone users would not have to look up from their phones. The same experiment was carried out in Australia and Holland. Of course, the only way is not to wander around with a phone in your lap.

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