Google's best Pixel feature lets you find the name of any song — here's how

Google Pixel 7 Pro
(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro come with a list of innovative features, including Photo Unblur and the upcoming Clear Calling, but they also come with one of the best Pixel perks: automatically identifying songs.

That's right. No more typing in random misheard lyrics in Google Search to try and figure out that tune you heard on a night out a few days ago. Instead of grasping at straws to finally listen to that song that goes "woo!", your Pixel phone will let you know the name of the song and the artist it's by as soon as it plays — right on the lock screen.

Thanks to Now Playing, your Pixel will even list a history of songs and the time and date it was heard, meaning all you have to do is remember when you jammed to a particular tune and it will show up. Tired of the turmoil remembering songs bring? Find out how to use Now Playing on your Pixel. 

How to use Now Playing on your Pixel

With Now Playing, your Pixel can identify the music you hear around you. It's important to note that this isn't available on the first Pixel (2016); only the Pixel 4 and later have music search, which allows users to search for a song if the phone can't identify it.

This does mean your Pixel device is essentially "always listening," which is a privacy concern for some. However, Google makes it clear that it recognizes music using a song database stored on your Pixel phone. The automatic recognition process never sends audio or background conversations to Google, as it uses "privacy-preserving analytics."  

In any case, follow these steps to start knowing every song as soon as they're played. 

(Image credit: Future)
  • On your Pixel device, open the App Drawer and navigate to Settings.
  • Scroll down to Sound and vibration
  • Tap on Now Playing.
  • In this menu, toggle the switch next to Identify songs playing nearby.

There you have it. For those that have a Pixel with an always-on display, including the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6a, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro, the name of the song and artist will pop up at the bottom of the lock screen. That means you can just glance at your phone without unlocking it to know what song is being played.

What's more, in the Now Playing menu, you can tap on Now Playing history to view all the songs your Pixel has picked up. Plus, you can tap the "heart" icon to add to your list of favorites.

You can also add the music search button on the lock screen, which lets you look up songs that are playing that your Pixel doesn't recognize. It's an incredibly handy feature to have, especially when someone asks "What's the name of that song?" and you always have the answer. 

Darragh Murphy

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.