Google preps Adaptive Sound for automatic speaker EQ on the Pixel 5

Google preps Adaptive Sound for automatic speaker EQ on the Pixel 5

Nearly one year ago, Google unveiled the first “Pixel Feature Drop” for its Pixel smartphones, bringing loads of new features. Alongside a bump in the Android security patch level next Monday, Google will likely roll out the next Pixel Feature Drop for its Pixel phones. The fifth feature drop will be the first for the new Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5, and we’ve uncovered evidence for a new feature called “Adaptive Sound” that could be added to the Pixel 5 (and likely the Pixel 4a 5G as well).

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

Google Pixel 4a 5G Forums ||| Google Pixel 5 Forums

Adaptive Sound

Within the latest version of the Device Personalization Services app rolled out to Google’s 2020 Pixel smartphones, we surfaced a new setting for the “Adaptive Sound” feature. This is not to be confused with the feature of the same name that Google offers on its second-generation Pixel Buds. While that feature automatically adapts the volume level based on the noise level of your environment, Adaptive Sound for the Pixel 5 aims to improve the speaker sound quality by automatically adjusting the sound equalizer settings based on the acoustics of your environment.

Here is the settings page that we surfaced for the feature:

And here’s the video that plays on that page:

The video shows how the audio might be adjusted when in different rooms at home (by depicting changes in a 7-band graphic equalizer). Interestingly, Google apparently advertised Adaptive Sound (but not by name) on its Amazon store listing at launch (h/t @siluah), but the reference to this feature was seemingly removed shortly after launch.

We don’t know for certain when Adaptive Sound will launch or if it’ll be supported on older Pixel phones. It’s very likely the feature will be available on the Pixel 4a 5G in addition to the Pixel 5, and based on the feature description, there shouldn’t be any technical barriers preventing it from being enabled on older Pixel devices running Android 11. We’ll have to wait for the next Pixel Feature Drop to find out, assuming that Google releases the feature then, that is.

Live Caption Improvements

We also found new strings in Device Personalization Services that suggest the Live Caption feature will be gaining a feature previously exclusive to Now Playing: song recognition. It seems that, instead of merely showing [MUSIC] when Live Caption detects that music is being played (Live Caption is unable to actually provide captions for music), the caption will actually show the track title and artist name.

<string name="captions_recognition_full_format">♫ %1$s by %2$s ♫</string>
<string name="captions_recognition_partial_format">♫ %1$s ♫</string>

We haven’t been able to activate this particular feature yet, but we’ll update this article if we do. We also don’t know when this enhancement to Live Caption will roll out, but it’s another likely contender for a future Pixel Feature Drop.


Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.

About author

Mishaal Rahman
Mishaal Rahman

I am the former Editor-in-chief of XDA. In addition to breaking news on the Android OS and mobile devices, I manage all editorial and reviews content on the Portal. Tips/media inquiries: [email protected]