If you own a Google Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, or Pixel 6a smartphone, you could potentially miss out on some exciting new audio capabilities with the next major Android update. Android 15 is expected to include support for Bluetooth LE Audio, a new standard that promises higher quality wireless audio streaming with lower latency. However, reports indicate that the Pixel 6 series devices may lack the necessary hardware support to take advantage of this feature.

Bluetooth LE Audio, which was fully defined in 2022 after years of development, introduces several improvements over the traditional Bluetooth audio streaming used by most current wireless headphones and speakers. It utilizes the LC3 codec which can transmit higher bitrate audio up to 32-bit/48kHz while using less power than the aging SBC codec. Bluetooth LE Audio also enables lower latency connections under 40ms, a big advantage for gaming and video.


One of the most anticipated features is the ability to broadcast audio to an unlimited number of headphone or speaker connections simultaneously, something Bluetooth SIG has dubbed “Auracast.” This opens up potential for public venues like theaters and gyms to beam audio directly to patrons’ headphones. It could also allow easy personal audio sharing between friends.

However, benefiting from all these LE Audio advancements requires having a source device like a smartphone that includes the appropriate hardware and software support. And unfortunately for Pixel owners, well-known Android expert Mishaal Rahman has reported that the Tensor G1 processor powering the Pixel 6 lineup appears to lack LE Audio capabilities after testing with Samsung’s latest LE Audio-enabled Galaxy Buds.

In his testing, Mishaal of Android Authority was able to toggle LE Audio when connecting the Buds to a Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 8 Pro running Android 14 and 15 beta software. But the LE Audio option was simply missing on the Pixel 6/6 Pro and 6a models despite being on the same recent OS builds.

This doesn’t definitively rule out the possibility of a future software update enabling LE Audio on the Pixel 6 series. However, it’s looking increasingly likely that Google’s 2021 flagship phones will be stuck using older, higher-latency Bluetooth audio even as Android 15 rolls out new capabilities like the Auracast broadcasting.

The implications extend beyond just missing out on improved personal audio quality. Key Android 15 features like the ability to easily share audio streams to nearby Bluetooth devices rely on the LE Audio standard. Pixel 6 owners could be left without access to these new connectivity options.

Of course, Bluetooth LE Audio is still slowly rolling out, and there aren’t a ton of compatible devices on the market yet. The real impact may not be fully felt until 2024 when major headphone manufacturers like Sony, Bose and others are expected to release LE Audio product lines. But it’s still a disappointing prospect for those who bought Google’s previous generation flagships expecting several years of cutting-edge OS support.

Google has not officially commented on Bluetooth LE Audio capabilities and the Pixel 6 series. However, the company has faced criticism in the past for failing to provide comprehensive OS updates to some Pixel models, particularly the budget Pixel 3a. If the lack of LE Audio on the Pixel 6 is confirmed, it will unfortunately continue that disappointing trend of fragmented software experiences.

As Android 15 moves closer to its expected release later this year, Pixel 6 owners will want to keep a close eye on whether Google is able to surprise with a last-minute software solution or official statement addressing the LE Audio situation. Otherwise, they may need to consider upgrading to a newer Pixel. Speaking of which, the Pixel 8a can be bagged for $0.00 from Verizon, so now might be your chance to upgrade.

Dwayne Cubbins
1093 Posts

My fascination with Android phones began the moment I got my hands on one. Since then, I've been on a journey to decode the ever-evolving tech landscape, fueled by a passion for both the "how" and the "why." Since 2018, I've been crafting content that empowers users and demystifies the tech world. From in-depth how-to guides that unlock your phone's potential to breaking news based on original research, I strive to make tech accessible and engaging.