Google has two new products available for preorder on Friday, the Pixel 6a smartphone and the Pixel Buds Pro wireless earphones. The latter are especially interesting, as they’ll bring pro features to your Bluetooth audio experience. It’s not just the noise cancellation feature that’s exciting, as the Pixel Buds Pro brings support for automatic audio switching.
That’s a feature already available on similar products from the competition, including the AirPods and some Galaxy Buds models. Auto switching detects the source of the audio and switches automatically to it. You won’t have to manually pair the Pixel Buds Pro with your Android phone or computer when switching devices.
Google details the new Pixel Buds Pro feature in a blog post. The feature promises to fix the tedious process of manually repairing wireless earphones to a new device. Moving from the phone to a tablet or computer can take up some time. These devices need to talk to each other via Bluetooth. That means ditching one connection in favor of the other.
Apple already fixed the problem on AirPods, as most of the AirPods models currently in use support auto audio switching. That’s AirPods (2nd generation), AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max. Similarly, the Galaxy Buds Pro supports auto-switching technology.
How audio switching works on Pixel Buds Pro
The Pixel Buds Pro’s auto audio switching tech builds on the existing Fast Pair technology that lets you connect wireless headphones to Android devices.
Google explains that the new earphones use contextual information to determine what you’re listening to. The audio will switch based on your actions:
We have more categories that are ranked to determine how to prioritize sounds between phone calls, media and all of the sounds your devices may make. So for example, if you’re watching a video on your tablet and you receive a notification on your phone, your headphone audio will not switch to your phone. But if you receive a phone call, your headphone audio will make the switch.
Separately, a notification lets you switch the audio back to the original source.
Furthermore, Google says that users can connect up to two Bluetooth devices at a time as long as they’re audio-switching headphones that support Bluetooth multipoint.
The feature will be available on Android devices initially, but it will expand to other platforms in the future.
Finally, Google has more good news for Android users who do not want to buy the Pixel Buds Pro. Google will bring auto audio switching technology to select Sony and JBL headphones in the coming weeks. It’s unclear what these models are or when the update will arrive.
But Google advises customers who own Bluetooth multipoint and audio switching headphones to make sure the toggles are turned on in Device details.