Android 15 might let you control your phone’s audio output right from your Pixel Watch

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Android users with Wear OS smartwatches commonly use their watch to control the phone’s audio – for example, playing and pausing videos. However, if you want to switch your phone’s audio output to a different device – say, from your phone’s speaker to headphones, you currently need to make that change on the phone itself. However, recent code changes suggest this may change with the upcoming Android 15 update.Typically, when you pair an Android phone with a Wear OS watch, you install a companion app. This app syncs your phone with your smartwatch and requests a range of permissions to access things like notifications, calls, and text messages.

Now, code changes discovered by Android Authority propose that companion apps targeting Android 15 can request a new permission called MEDIA_ROUTING_CONTROL. This permission gives the app (and connected smartwatch) the ability to change your phone’s audio output destination on the fly, even for audio originating from a different app.According to code changes spotted by Android Authority, companion apps targeting Android 15 can request a new permission called MEDIA_ROUTING_CONTROL. This permission will give the app (and therefore your smartwatch) the power to change where your phone outputs audio, even if it’s coming from a different app.

Permissions dialog for the watch device profile | Credit: Android Authority

This offers a greater level of convenience. Imagine you’re watching a video on your phone with the sound playing through the speaker. If you want to switch to headphones, you’d be able to do it from your watch without interrupting the video. Similarly, if you’re listening to music on your phone in the kitchen, but want to seamlessly transfer it to a smart speaker in the living room, a few taps on your watch could handle the switch.
While we’re unsure of the exact Wear OS devices that will support this, updates will likely be necessary for both your smartwatch and the companion app. Google hasn’t mentioned this functionality for its Pixel Watch 2Β or the original Pixel watch, but the company might be working on it behind the scenes.


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