Android 9 Pie breaks 'Disable absolute volume' and Bluetooth calling, users say

Update: One of our readers has informed us these problems have been fixed in the September security update. And if you take a look at the Functional Issues section here, you’ll see the September patch contains some Bluetooth related improvements.

Anyway, we’re still monitoring the situation. Let us know if you continue to face these problems after the September update.

Original story follows:

Aaaand 9 Pie derails few more functionalities.

In addition to the glitches highlighted until now, Google Pixel/Pixel 2 users are coming up with complaints about a Developer option not working and Bluetooth calling broken after installing the newest Android OS.

Lets take a look at both issues one by one.

Bluetooth absolute volume broken

Disable absolute volume – a Developer option to separate out Bluetooth device volume and system (phone) device volume so as to control them individually – is reportedly not working as intended in Pie.

Going by user reports, changing the volume on their Bluetooth device like headphone now alters the media volume of their phone, meaning no separate volume controls.

The affected users say:

Current output: When i change the volume on my bluetooth device it changes the phones media volume. Now i am not able to fine tune my volume levels, because the phones volume levels are very broad / course.

Just got Pie on my pixel 2 xl. Since Bluetooth Volume control is horrible on pixel devices (i.e. Volume level 3 too quiet, level 4 too loud, annoying) I was pumped to find the “Disable Absolute Volume” developer option in 8. In Android 8 that option would allow for more precise control of Bluetooth volume since it separated Android and bluetooth device volumes. Well, in Android P that option is still there but DOES NOTHING. Changing the volume on the BT headphones also changes it on the Pixel.

I have Disable Absolute Bluetooth Volume toggled on in the developer options, but this doesn’t seem to be working in Pie. Using the volume control buttons on my headset now alters the device media volume regardless of whether or not the option is toggled on (and I’m thus limited to the very few volume increments in Android).

Based on my experimentation, the absolute volume toggle is broken and doesn’t do anything. I think the other Bluetooth related options are broken as well, but you may want to try setting it to use AVRCP version 1.5 or 1.6 (also a dev option), which include absolute volume fixes, or 1.3 which doesn’t support absolute volume at all (but this setting is also broken for me and also does nothing).

Android 9 broke it again. I can confirm that my phone ignores the Disable Absolute Volume developer option, and I’m back to either choosing between music that’s too quiet or too loud.

With Oreo, the developer option “Disable absolute volume” allowed Bluetooth devices to adjust their volume independently of the phone volume. This gave a lot of control over the desired volume. Since the update to Pie, the option is still there, but it has no effect; it is broken. I’ve seen other posts elsewhere complaining about this as well.

For me, it’s the only way I can comfortably listen to music. The Bluetooth “feature” that links the headphone volume adjustment to the phone adjustment (i.e. adjusting the headphone volume adjusts the volume slider on the phone) does not have enough volume control. From silent, 1 volume up click is very quiet, a second click is a bit loud, a third click is painfully loud. Only three clicks puts the volume slider at about 10% max volume.

Apart from the discussions going across Pixel User Community (1,2,3,4,5,6) Reddit (1,2,3) and XDA (1,2), a bug report has also been filed on Google’s Issue Tracker.

Though the matter has been brought to Google’s notice, there is yet to come clarity from the company on whether it’s a glitch or a change (it being a developer option) that Android 9 Pie brought along.


Bluetooth calling issue

The other Android 9 Pie triggered problem is call-related issue with Bluetooth headphones in picture. Varied use-cases are coming to notice.

While some say that during calls they are unable to hear anything through their Bluetooth headphones (the person at the other end can hear them), others say the person at the other end of the call also complaints of hearing distorted sounds. In some cases, neither caller nor callee can hear anything.

For more clarity, take a look at how some of those affected explain the problem:

I updated to the official Android pie today and noticed that my jbl Bluetooth earphones are having issues with calls. I cannot hear anything thing from the other side and the person on the other side can only hear some weird distortion. However I tried playing music on it and it works fine. Issue is only with calls.

This happened to my Pixel 2 as well~ my Anker bluetooth worked perfectly on Oreo for media and calls. With Pie, I cannot make any calls or hear anything. Works for media but not calls. I have done all the reboots, restarts, clear caches etc etc!

Recently, I have updated the android version of my mobile and since then, even though my bluetooth earphones are connected to my mobile, I can’t hear anything in a phone call nor speak anything via my bluetooth earphones. I can hear music, videos etc, but cannot hear nor speak on a normal phone call.

I can hear audio sound properly , but when it comes to calling i can’t hear anything. I tried this headset in other phone , it’s working fine in there, so no issue with earphones. Can you please help in this issue. Currently i am using Android 9 version. I can see it’s completely pixel Bluetooth issue.

Thankfully, the problem is specific to calls only. No such issue reportedly appears while listening to music on the same Bluetooth headphones.

FWIW something similar was reported on Issue tracker in P beta as well, but dropped due to lack of information from complainants.

Currently, the Bluetooth calling issue is being chimed by limited number of users, but reports may blowup as soon as 9 Pie lands on other Android devices.

We hope Google takes a look into both the issues and give some clarity to those complaining. Rest assured, we are keeping an active tab on all related developments and will update as and when anything relevant comes to our notice.

Note: We have also compiled a (continuously updated) list of issues/problems/bugs reported with (or triggered by) Android 9 Pie ever since it got live. Take a look to catch hold of all Pie-related issues.

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Dr. Aparajita Sharma

A budding entrepreneur by profession, and a psychologist by education. As a founding member of PiunikaWeb, I am nurturing this firstborn with my sharp-eyed expertise and even journalistic writing when needed.