Over the past day, several Pixel Buds Pro owners have found that “Hey Google” has been disabled and that their Assistant headphones no longer pick up the hands-free hotword.

Update 10/25: Acknowledging and apologizing for the issue on Friday, Google says that hotword detection on the Pixel Buds Pro “should now work as expected for most users.” However, if it’s still not fixed, follow these steps:

  1. Place your Pixel Buds in the charging case.
  2. Restart your phone and wait 5 minutes after restarting.
  3. Take your Pixel Buds out of the charging case and confirm that they are connected to your phone.
  4. Go to Settings > Apps > Assistant > See All Assistant Settings > Devices > scroll to the bottom and tap “Pixel Buds Pro.” In that menu, make sure that “Say ‘Hey Google’ ” is toggled on.
  5. “Hey Google” should now work again.

Original 10/21: Those with this issue are prompted after connecting their Pixel Buds Pro by a “Say ‘Hey Google’ disabled” warning. Google says “Voice Match is disabled because this device does not currently support the Assistant language selected.” The recommended solution is to “select a supported language in Assistant language settings” with a link to those preferences.

These users did not change their language (several reports of their device already set to US, UK, and Australian English) to trigger this error. Hotword detection continues to work on their other Pixel (phone and Watch) devices.

Google Assistant on the Pixel Buds Pro can still be using the “Touch & hold” gesture, but that might require losing Active Noise Control on at least one bud (and remember which side does what): Pixel Buds app > Touch controls > Customize Touch & hold. Of course, that also defeats the purpose of hands-free help. 

Many Pixel Buds Pro owners are impacted with dozens of reports over the last day. However, not all users are impacted and “Hey Google” continues to work on a pair we tested this morning. Some note a recent Google app update could be responsible, and hopefully this can be resolved with a server-side update.

More on Pixel Buds Pro:

Thanks, Mike

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com