• A teardown of the latest Pixel Ambient Services APK shows that there will likely be a song history for the Now Playing feature.
  • Now Playing shows the artist and title of what song is playing around you without needing a data connection.
  • A third-party app enabled a history of Now Playing songs, but this new feature would be built-in natively.


When Google rolled out the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, it came with a nifty ambient display feature called Now Playing. The feature constantly listens for music and, without using a data connection, displays the song and artist on your phone.

Some tinkerers over at XDA Developers pulled apart the recently released Pixel Ambient Services APK and discovered that Google is likely rolling out a history feature for Now Playing. The assumption is that this new feature will allow you to see a history of songs Now Playing picked up, so you can check to see what song was playing when you were at the mall the other day.

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However, it is not known how this feature will work, nor how long it will log your history. XDA thinks there will be a new button in the Now Playing notification that will enable you to view the history. But there’s no proof that that’s the case, it’s what they assume from looking at the code.

You can read their breakdown of how they came to this conclusion by checking out their blog post here.

There actually is a third-party app currently available in the Google Play Store that gives you the ability to save your Now Playing history. However, this new feature would be built-in natively to the ambient display.

While Now Playing is a great idea, we’ve found that the feature only picks up radio hits. If you play a semi-obscure song on your stereo – even one by a hugely popular artist – Now Playing doesn’t pick it up. But if you play that band’s biggest number one single, Now Playing displays it without issue.

With that in mind, the best way to determine a song’s title is to use Google Assistant or a third-party app like Shazam. However, these services will use mobile data or Wi-Fi to identify the song’s artist and title. But at least it will work for the songs that aren’t already huge hits!

For those of you who have any other phone aside from the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, you’re out of luck; Now Playing is only available on those two phones.

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