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Mobile Accessories

Pairing Google Pixel Buds to your phone is easy... kind of

Ready to begin using Google's new wireless earbuds? Read this.

James Martin/CNET

Not to be left out of the wireless earbud market, Google announced Pixel Buds alongside the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Fast forward a few weeks, and Pixel Buds are starting to arrive at customers' homes.

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Pixel Buds' setup process is supposed to be easy, thanks to Android's new fast pair feature. However, in my experience after a few days of use (and a few attempts at pairing) is that it's not quite working yet).

Fast pair

Jason Cipriani/CNET

It takes a couple of seconds to see if fast pair is working for you. After charging your Pixel Buds for at least 10 minutes (be sure to remove the Buds and take off the small pieces of plastic covering the charging ports, first), open the case next to your unlocked Android device.

A second later, a popup will display the device name, a photo, and have a button to connect the earbuds to your phone.

Fast pair works on Android 6.0 devices and up. You need to have the latest version of the Google app installed, as well. Check for updates in the Play store to be sure.

Force fast pairing

Jason Cipriani/CNET

If you don't see the fast pair prompt, press and hold the button inside the Pixel Buds case for about three seconds. The light will begin blinking when manual pairing is triggered. You should then see a prompt on your phone to complete the pairing process.

Pairing to other devices

If you are trying to connect Pixel Buds to a computer, iOS device, or an older Android device, you'll need to go through the manual pairing process.

Hold in the button inside the case until the indicator light flashes. Next, navigate to the Bluetooth menu and look for a new device. Find Pixel Buds in the list of available devices and follow the prompts.

Finish setup

google-assistant-setup
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With the pairing process under way, your device will ask you to opt into using Google Assistant, enable notification access for the Google app, and show you how to put Pixel Buds back into the carrying case.

pixel-buds-settings
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

To adjust any settings, such as disable hearing notifications through Pixel Buds, launch Google Assistant, then tap on the Headphones Settings button. Also included in the settings page are tutorials to walk you through various Pixel Buds features.