Skip to main content

August Pixel Buds Feature Drop: Hands-on with all the new upgrades [Video]

The very first proper August Pixel Buds Feature Drop has, well, dropped bringing with it a slew of new features that take one of the best Google Pixel companions and makes them even harder to ignore.

While the audio experience is by no means exceptional, the Google Pixel Buds are great because of the tight integration with your Google account and added features that come with this. Like the Pixel Feature Drops, future Pixel Buds Feature Drops should hopefully refine the experience as time progresses and makes that $179 entry cost a little easier to stomach.

Added functionality that doesn’t exist right out of the box is one of the reasons the Pixel Buds make for an enticing purchase.

For those still waiting to get the 550 firmware updates for their own Pixel Buds, thanks to a friend of the site Max Weinbach, there is a quicker way to “force” the upgrade on your earbuds. We’ve tested his solution ourselves and it has worked on several pairs of the Bluetooth buds.

To start, clear your Pixel Buds app data or storage and then link to your device. Play music or podcasts for around 15 minutes before returning your buds to their case and leaving for 15 minutes. In most cases, this appears to “force” your Pixel Buds to update to the August Feature Drop.

Bass Boost EQ

August Pixel Buds Feature Drop

Part of a new “Sound” section, Google has addressed some of the audio complaints in the very first Pixel Buds Feature Drop. While it’s hard to tell if any major boosts are made, you can enable “Bass Boost” from within this enhanced Settings menu.

You can’t adjust the EQ setting for Bass Boost but it should hopefully give your Pixel Buds a little more “oomph” in certain tracks and result in a fuller overall audio experience. Given that earbuds rely on much smaller drivers than headphones, your mileage may vary though.

Attention Alerts

August Pixel Buds Feature Drop

If you are listening to music, podcasts, or watching videos, then the experimental new feature called “Attention Alerts” might be pretty useful. Like “Adaptive Sound” this feature will adjust the audio volume when the earbuds detect a baby crying, dog barking, and emergency vehicle sirens, therefore making it easier to listen to audio and still be alert.

Disable touch controls

August Pixel Buds Feature Drop

Thanks to the August Pixel Buds Feature Drop, you can now disable touch controls and eliminate accidental touches, taps, and swipes. What’s even neater is the ability to either delve into your device Settings to make this change, or the ability to just ask the Google Assistant.

New voice commands

Extending the touch controls are a few new voice commands including the ability to check the status and battery life of your Pixel Buds. So long as you have the August Feature Drop update installed, just ask: “Hey Google, what’s the battery on my earbuds?” to get an accurate indication of your Pixel Buds’ remaining lifespan.

Find My Device integration

Constantly losing your Pixel Buds? Well, thanks to the August Feature Drop your Pixel Buds are now integrated into your Find My Device account. This means that you can log in to the app or web page and find out the last known location on a map. This might be useful if you do find yourself misplacing your buds regularly.

Sharing detection

If you only have one pair of earbuds and you and a friend want to listen to some music or watch a YouTube video, then it can be an annoying process — especially when you both prefer different volume levels.

“Sharing detection” lets you give one bud to another person, and then it lets you control the volume level of each earbud individually using swipe controls. As far as neat features go, this might be one of the most overlooked but useful.

What’s your favorite new feature as part of the August Pixel Buds Feature Drop?

Do you have a favorite new addition? What else would you like to see in future Pixel Buds Feature Drops? Let us know down in the comments section below.

More Pixel Feature Drops:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel



Avatar for Damien Wilde Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter @iamdamienwilde. Email

Damien Wilde's favorite gear