Two questions about Android 12 on Pixel 6a
1) What is the area at the top of the screen called? Not the very top that has little icons, but below that. See attached screenshot, the area circled in red.
2) How can I get rid of it? It takes up too much room. I want to put app icons there.
This isn't an Android 12 feature, it's a feature of the current version of the Pixel Launcher.
I've not used the current version, but with earlier Pixels Google would decide that you had to have a search bar and you had to have their clock/info widget in the places they decided you should have them, with no way of changing this. So I'd not be surprised if the only way is to change the launcher. Fortunately the Google launcher on my Pixel 2 was quite unexceptional in every other respect, so I had no qualms about replacing it .
I use Nova launcher myself, but others are available. Try one or two and see what you like.
From what I've read, that 'At a Glance' widget is permanent on the Pixel launcher. Changing the default launcher is the only method I know of to circumvent it.
Doesn't change the ugly notifications/clock style on the lock screen though, or the goofy shapes widgets that Google pre-loaded elsewhere, either. What's Google thinking? Is it still 1976 where they're at? All they need to make it more 1970s is add in some fonts like the ones Burger King is using today to complete the set!
But you don't have to use Google's widgets, you can use others. And with a suitable custom launcher you can change the app icons to your liking with an icon pack. Heck, many phones allow you to change the system fonts (though my Pixel 2's support for that was not brilliant as I recall).
I never see the lock screen anyway: press a thumb or finger on the sensor and it unlocks, that's it. The only purpose the lock screen has for me is that it's a place I can put an email address for people to contact me if they find the phone (not a GMail address associated with the phone).
Doesn't Android force you to enter your PIN or alternate password after so many hours/uses of biometrics or is that just a Samsung thing? The only thing I got running Stock Android is a Walmart tablet running Android 11 and it ultimately forces use of the password over face unlock after so many hours. So it's not just a 'tap sensor and never see lock screen'
Often I look at my lock screen to check notifications since they got rid of the convenient notification LED (Why?!) so when I have to see it it might as well fit me, and Android 12's doesn't fit me. As far as I am aware, no replacement lockscreen can change the notification shapes at all. They add features and modules like Good Lock but you're stuck with whatever crazy scheme Google's cooking up at that time otherwise.
Believe me, I'd love to change everything. If I could bring back the classic Gingerbread stock slide to unlock UI on a modern phone I'd have done it by now.