[Updated] Pixel Buds keep prompting users to set up Assistant every time ('Hey Google' unavailable), issue escalated

New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….

Original story (published on October 23, 2021) follows:

It looks like every major tech company wants to develop truly wireless earbuds after Apple introduced the world to AirPods. Even Google jumped in on the bandwagon with the first generation of earbuds released back in 2017.

Known as Pixel Buds, the first version of the earbuds was launched at the Made by Google launch event with the latest version called Pixel Buds A series and are cheaper than its predecessors.


While Google did not upgrade the battery life with the Pixel Buds A series lasting a mere five hours, the latest from Google provides hands-free access to Google Assistant, IPX4 water resistance, and even real-time translation capabilities.

Google Assistant is one of the most useful features users make use of quite often. Having said that, many Pixel Buds owners are now reporting that their truly wireless earbuds are asking to set up Google Assistant everytime they want to use it.

This is really frustrating since Google Assistant is always unavailable because of the issue. Users say they have tried clearing cache for both the Google app and Google Play Services but nothing seems to help.


Ever since the update, my A-series earbuds keep turning off Hey Google. I get a little popup telling me the feature is unavailable, and inviting me to go through setup for voice activation (which it then, of course, tells me is already set up, because it is), at the end of which it pops up the notification again, forcing me to manually toggle the switch on. This happens basically every time they connect with my phone (a Pixel 3). They work fine with everything else, but with my phone, this is happening constantly.

Almost every time I take the buds out of the case and put them in my ear my phone will popup a notification to setup Assistant voice match. I go through that setup and the buds settings page shows that Voice Match is enabled, then it just happens again next time I try to wear them. This may not happen every single time, but it definitely happens at least once every day. I’ve tried resetting the buds and it’s still happening.

Some have even reset the Pixel Buds but say that the issue still persists. Instead of Google Assistant listening to the commands, they are greeted with a “Hey Google Unavailable” notification.

For some, the Google Assistant asks to be set up every time they use it while others say that it resolves and comes back every few days.

Fortunately, it looks like a product expert is going to escalate the glitch, and speculate that it’s a software-related issue that can be fixed in a future update.

Nina, I’m glad to hear that seems to have helped in your case. Please do keep us updated if things change! Robbi, Very interesting find on the Pixel Buds Assistant being linked to the “Hey Google” setting on the phone. I usually keep that feature enabled on my phones, but I just turned it off and, sure enough, immediately got the message about it being unavailable for my connected Pixel Buds.

(The Assistant does still work if I tap and hold an earbud, I just can’t trigger it with the spoken hotword.) Please do let us know how it goes with the replacement Buds. I do suspect this is a software thing though. I’m going to escalate this to see if we can get any information on how this is supposed to work. Cheers, John

That’s all we know for now. We’ll keep an active track of the developments on this one and update the story, as and when required.

Update 1 (October 28)

01:15 pm (IST): A Google community specialist has confirmed that the team is currently investigating the problem and working on ways to address it.

I just wanted to let all of you know that we’ve heard you and understand your frustration. “Hey Google” is intended to work on headphones without having to be enabled on your phone. Our team is currently investigating this issue and exploring how we can address it. (Source)

Update 2 (November 24)

01:23 pm (IST): A Community Specialist has since come out to note that this Pixel Buds issue has been addressed in the update version 12.43.

Community Specialist pixel buds issue

Our Google Assistant team has rolled out an update, version 12.43, that should help improve this. Feel free to report back to this thread to let us know if it helped.

Note: We have more such stories in our dedicated Google Section so be sure to follow them as well.

Featured image source: Google Store

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Anurag Chawake

My fascination with technology and computers goes back to the days of Windows XP. Since then, I have been tinkering with OS, mobile phones, and other things. When I am not working on anything, you will find me enjoying video games on some Discord server.