How To: Enable 'Now Playing' on Your Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL

Enable 'Now Playing' on Your Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL

The Pixel 2 has a really cool feature that identifies any songs playing nearby and automatically displays the track's name on your lock screen. It's honestly one of the most inventive smartphone features we've seen in a while, especially considering how Google did it — but strangely, it's not enabled by default.

This "name that tune" feature is called Now Playing, and despite the fact that it uses the Pixel 2's always-listening low-power core to identify songs, it's not a privacy concern. Google included a database of the top 10,000 songs in the software on its new flagships, so all of the music matching takes place strictly on your device and recordings are never shared with the cloud. The database can even be updated, amazingly enough, so it's a truly unique feature that everyone should at least try.

How to Enable 'Now Playing'

To get started, open your phone's main Settings app from your app drawer. Next, scroll down and select the Sound category, then tap "Advanced" on the following screen to reveal more options.

With the "Advanced" sound menu expanded, scroll down to the bottom of this screen and select the "Now Playing" option. From here, make sure to enable the switch next to "Show on lock screen" at the very least, as this is the main Now Playing feature.

if you'd like, you can tap the "Also show notifications" setting, then enable the "Recognized music notifications" option. Doing this will cause a notification to appear whenever a song is identified, which is great if you accidentally unlocked your phone before you saw the title on the lock screen.

With Now Playing enabled, your Pixel will now listen for music at all times. When it hears a song it can identify, it will display the artist and track name at the bottom of your lock screen. If you also opted to show the notification, you'll see the same info in your pull-down tray.

When you double-tap the song name (either on your lock screen or in the notification tray), you'll be taken to the Google Assistant. Within a second or two, it will provide lots of relevant information about the song and artist, including links to listen to or purchase the track on popular music streaming services.

How are you liking the Now Playing feature so far? I've found it's hit-or-miss with obscure songs, but it's excellent at identifying popular and current music. What about you? Let us know in the comment section below.

Cover image and screenshots by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

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