Google quietly adds support for Quick Phrases with Pixel Buds Pro

Hands-on with the new Google Pixel Buds Pro colors
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Quick Phrases were introduced in 2021, and allow you to control your devices without saying "Hey Google" first.
  • An updated page in the Google Assistant tab in Settings now reveals which devices are supported by each Quick Phrase. 
  • The list now includes Pixel Buds Pro for select Quick Phrases, marking the first time this feature has worked with earbuds.

Hands-free control of your Pixel devices just got a little easier, thanks to a quiet update from Google to Quick Phrases

Released alongside the Pixel 6 as a way to control your Pixel phones and tablets without needing to say "Hey Google," the feature now works with Pixel Buds Pro. Quick Phrases let you control alarms, timers, and calls with a single word, and they are a handy (albeit limited) way to take actions on your devices without activating the Google Assistant beforehand.

The change was first spotted by 9to5 Google, who noticed that the page for Quick Phrases in the Settings app was updated to specify which device each phrase is available on. Android Central independently confirmed this update, which lists the Pixel Buds Pro as a supported device for Quick Phrases used to interact with incoming calls. 

The Quick phrases menu in the Google Assistant settings.

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

Notably, the Pixel Buds Pro only support Quick Phrases with calls, according to the settings page. You can say either "answer," "decline," or "silence" to take those actions on your phone without saying "Hey Google" first. That means if your phone is in the next room over, your earbuds can pick up these command words and control it from afar. 

But you won't be able to say "stop" or "snooze" to control timers and alarms with just your Pixel Buds Pro. 

Although the Pixel Buds Pro work with devices other than Pixels, the Quick Phrases feature still remains exclusive to Pixels 6 and newer. 

Google has not publicly acknowledged this change despite rolling out the new text to Pixel users. In fact, Google's support page for Quick Phrases still says they only support "Pixel 6 and later, including Fold, when you have one language selected." There is no mention of Pixel Buds Pro on this document, even though Quick Phrases are visible and working on the earbuds now. 

Quick Phrases have long been much more limited on Pixel devices than Google Nest products. Devices like the Nest Hub Max can tell users the time, the weather, and control other accessories as long as Voice Match is enabled. However, on Pixel phones and connected Pixel Buds Pro, these actions still require saying "Hey Google."

The addition of Quick Phrases to the Pixel Buds Pro comes shortly after the earbuds were refreshed just last month to include new colors and features.

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.