How to set your Pixel lock screen to recognize music

People wearing headphones enjoy music

Image of Westend61/Getty

I can’t tell you how many times I’m thinking about my business when I hear a song I have to know or add to a playlist. In that moment, I’ll call out, “Hey, Google, name this song!”

Sometimes I catch it in time and sometimes I don’t. When I miss, I will try to google some lyrics. But if it’s a classical piece, I might be out of luck.

So when I discovered a useful feature on Pixel 7 Pro that automatically names a song on my home screen, naturally I’m the first privacy concerns. In order for the phone to recognize a song, it must be heard.

Also: Pixel phones may get an overdue feature

If a phone is listening, is someone receiving what they are listening to or is the content they are listening stored on a remote server for later listening?

After a quick read, I discovered that this feature uses a song database stored on the device and the automatic recognition process never sends background sounds or conversations to Google or translates. third party service.

This means that by enabling this feature, you are not turning off your privacy. Of course, if you’re worried about this, you can always turn the feature on, put your device into Airplane mode, and experiment. If it still works, you can be more certain that your phone is not sending the information to anyone.

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I tested the feature and found it to be pretty accurate, regardless of genre. However, I find that it often depends on words to identify the track. For example, it can identify Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor, K. 626 after the singers joined.

When I gave him Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, he recognized it immediately. It had a little trouble with Ben Lovett’s Hellraiser soundtrack, in that it couldn’t recognize a single song. I tested it with other soundtracks and found that it couldn’t even recognize one of the most recognizable tracks, John Williams’ Jurassic Park Theme — nor recognize the original soundtrack. Williams’ other huge hit, Star Wars Main Title.

Aside from the original tracks, the feature is amazingly accurate, even for some of my lesser known artists. Just know that this feature is a bit confusing on instrumental tracks (though it immediately recognized Rush’s “YYZ”). In other words, your mileage may vary.

If this sounds like a feature you might want to use, let me show you how to enable it.

How to set your Pixel lock screen to recognize music


The only thing you need for this is a pixel phone, starting from version 6 and up. Phones before 6 don’t have this feature.

That’s all you need. Let’s get out some music.

Unlock your Android device, pull down the Notification Ball twice, and tap the gear icon at the bottom right of the screen.

From the Settings app, locate and tap Sound & Vibration. From that new page, find and tap Now Playing.

Now Playing in the Sound & Vibration page.

Getting ready to enable Now Playing on my Pixel 7 Pro.

Screenshots of Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Tap the ON/OFF slider to Identify nearby playing songs.

Now Playing ON/OFF slider.

Enable Now Playing in Android 13 on Pixel 7 Pro.

Screenshots of Jack Wallen/ZDNET

After enabling this feature, Android will automatically download the song database to your phone. Now playing won’t work until this playlist is saved to your device, so stay tuned.

Also: What are the best headphones for music?

You’ll know the database download is complete when the Song Database Downloading warning is dismissed.

Song database download warning.

The song database is still downloading.

Screenshots of Jack Wallen/ZDNET

How to use Now Playing

You don’t have to do anything to use Now Playing. When your device listens to music, it automatically displays the best (usually correct) guess on your device’s lock screen.

Playing Tom Sawyer Rush playlist on Android lock screen.

Tom Sawyer, of Rush, was rightly recognized (rightly).

Screenshots of Jack Wallen/ZDNET

And that’s all it takes to turn on and use Pixel Now Playing, which takes the guesswork out of naming songs you don’t recognize.


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