Controlling the volume of nearby Chromecast sessions by simply using the volume keys of your Android device does not sound complicated, and it is what Android users have been doing for years. If you cast YouTube from your phone to your TV, you can control the TV’s volume using the volume keys of your phones, it sounds convenient and something that just makes sense.
However, this handy and quite useful feature has been removed with the Android 12 update that officially left Beta in the month of October. The disappearance of this feature from Android has been blamed on a ‘legal issue’ involving Google and Sonos.
Sonos, an audio company, had taken Google to court in 2020 with allegations that the tech giant was infringing on some patents of the audio company. The volume control feature could well be tied to the allegations that are in court, prompting Google to drop the feature until a final ruling has been made. 9to5google, reports that preliminary rulings had been in favour of Sonos, although the final verdict has not yet been made.
The volume feature missing was first reported back in August, while Android 12 was still in Beta 3, although it was widely believed to be a bug. A Google representative then acknowledged the lack of Chromecast volume rocker controls, stating that this was ‘intended’ and that a fix of sorts would be included with Android 12 Beta 5.
Three months down the line, Android 12 has now been rolled out to all users with eligible phones ranging from the Pixel 3 to the Pixel 6 Pro, but the Chromecast volume issue has not been resolved yet.
“There was a legal issue that I cannot share in public place. I don’t think there is a workaround in Android 12, and still working on it. Once it is fixed, this bug would be closed,” a Google representative disclosed on Twitter.
The above statement is the second acknowledgement of the missing feature from a different representative from Google. 9to5google claims to have looked at the code change where the problem was introduced, and conclude that Google intentionally disabled the volume controls for all “remote sessions”. They however admit they can not learn the context behind the change because the associate number is not available to the public.
On the brighter side, the change does not appear to be permanent as Google has promised that the issue will be fixed with the release of Android 12L, which we looked at here.
“We didn’t want to make such a bad change, but we had to do to address a legal issue. We have been working on a solution to mitigate the situation, and it will be included in 12.1”
Android 12L has been referred to as Android 12.1. The update which primarily targets large screen devices is expected to be rolled out in early 2022.
Two phones, the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL currently exist in limbo, having received the Android 12 update, but are not listed as eligible to receive the upcoming Android 12L update. This potentially means they will be locked out from using the volume control feature on their devices forever unless Google adds the two devices to the eligible list before next year.