If you’ve used a newish Bluetooth audio device, you might’ve seen the words ‘Fast Pair’ somewhere on the box. As you might’ve guessed, it’s Google’s solution for quickly pairing a Bluetooth device to your Android phone.
With devices that support it, putting the device in pairing mode near your phone should result in a popup with a picture of the device asking you to ‘Connect’. Tap that and that’s it. You needn’t fumble through the Bluetooth menu, pick a device and hope it connects the first time. It also saves the device to your Google account to make reconnecting easier.
Ignoring notifications made easy
As cool as that is, there was still much room for improvement. Google wants to fill some of that room with an update. The company is adding the ability to automatically switch audio from different sources and the smarts to know when to do that.
Devices that support Bluetooth multipoint can connect to two or more devices at the same time. That varies between devices but usually, those can only play audio from one device at a time. So you might still have to go to your Bluetooth menu and switch manually if you’re listening to music on your laptop and get a phone call.
With this update, Google is making switching between devices easier and smarter with categories to prioritise sounds from different places.
“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.” Google explains in a blog post.
What’s more, users will have the ability to switch back to the original device with a single tap from a notification.
The update will be available on Google’s new Pixel Buds Pro first and will roll out to select Sony and JBL headphones later. Support is limited to Android for now but Google says it plans to expand the feature in the future.