An upcoming Android update will make the process of switching your Pixel Buds Pro between different devices simpler – and it’ll be coming to other wireless headphones soon too.
When the Google Pixel Buds Pro go on sale on July 28 (alongside the Google Pixel 6A) they’ll be sporting a new feature: automatic device switching. As Google explains in its blog post, if you’re listening to one of the best Netflix shows on your tablet and then your phone starts ringing your wireless earbuds will automatically connect to it so that you can hear your ringtone and talk to whoever is calling.
It's not only the new Pixel Buds that will get this feature. While they're first in line, Google has said select Sony and JBL cans will also benefit from the update, though support for those will be added later. While Google hasn't specified which models will be supported it'll most likely be recent models that support Bluetooth multipoint – meaning they can connect to more than one device at a time.
Importantly though, this tool will only work for Android-powered smartphones and tablets, so if your devices are split across ecosystems you'll have to stick with manually swapping your connections.
Analysis: The Apple of our ears?
While this update isn’t likely to drastically change the Google Pixel Buds Pro’s ranking among the best wireless earbuds we’ve tested, it's an underrated quality of life improvement that will likely save plenty of users some unwanted hassle. But more importantly, it will further improve Google products' Apple-like synergy.
The Apple AirPods aren't the best headphones ever made, but for those reliant on their iPhone 13 and iPad Air (2022), they can still be a great pick. That’s because Apple products are designed to collaborate with one another, giving you a smooth experience that could be ruined if you swap in third-party hardware alternatives.
Google does its part to make transitioning between different Android devices and Chrome similarly seamless, but some of its peripherals lack the necessary functionality. That’s clearly starting to change though, thanks in part to this latest update that enables automatic audio switching.
Thankfully though, Google isn’t taking too much from Apple’s playbook. Unlike Apple, which keeps updates like these locked to its proprietary hardware, Android audio switching will be coming to a wider selection of first- and third-party options – and we’ll hopefully see more new headphone brands and models arrive with support in the future.