New ‘Heads Up’ feature nags distracted Android users to look up while walking

Android’s Digital Wellbeing service is getting a new “Heads Up” feature, which will prompt users to stop staring at their phones while walking, XDA Developers reports. The feature appears to be rolling out to the beta version of the Digital Wellbeing app, and one Twitter user reports receiving the feature on their Pixel 4A device.

“If you’re walking while using your phone, get a reminder to focus on what’s around you,” says the Heads Up setup page. The reminders include brief notifications with instructions like “Watch your step,” “Stay alert,” and “Look up,” judging by an app teardown last year by 9to5Google.

“Use with caution. Heads Up doesn’t replace paying attention,” says Google despite the obviousness of such advice. Nevertheless, the feature seems necessary with distracted walking becoming increasingly dangerous.

Digital Wellbeing is a service built into some Android phones to help manage your usage. It can be used to set limits on the amount of time you spend in specific apps, or set up a “Bedtime mode” to make a phone less distracting late at night, for example.

XDA Developers reports that Heads Up seems to be coming to Pixel phones first. We’ve contacted Google for more information on the rollout.

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