Android 4.4 supports a couple of new Bluetooth features, but one of them will undoubtedly appeal to the cries of OCD sufferers more than the rest: as part of an extension to Bluetooth AVRCP 1.3, Bluetooth audio devices can now directly control Android's system volume. If you use a lot of Bluetooth speakers or headphones, you know how maddening this kind of problem can be. Because your audio output device has its own volume setting independent of your phone or tablet, you're never quite sure how loud things are going to be, or if you'll need to adjust one or the other to get the sound where you want it. It's a needless annoyance, and one that was long overdue for fixing.

It's not the biggest change in the world, but getting rid of this problem is going to please some people, no doubt. Granted, the feature is only available to those devices running Android 4.4 and using Google's Bluedroid Bluetooth stack - many devices run a modified stack - meaning Nexus devices and GPE handsets will get the feature as soon as the KitKat update lands.

Be sure to check out more of our KitKat feature spotlights, we'll be posting them throughout the day!

Android Developers

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Sam


  • Jordan

    God I love today.

  • Momulah

    C'mon bring on the Good stuff like the built in IR Blaster no one is aware of! Nexus 5 Only!! Whoop Whoop...

  • Joel McCracken

    One last request, can you allow me to use voice typing via bluetooth headset... PLEASE?!?!!! been trying to use this since gingerbread!

    • shonangreg

      I hadn't realized this was absent, and I was just thinking of using it with my Sony Bluetooth headset.

      So, with devices with no physical mic input (Nexus 7 (2013)), this means there is no way to use a Mic for speech to text?

      On a related note, why are there so few simple Bluetooth mics only? To get a Bluetooth mic, you pretty much need to get a full headset. I want a stereo mic.

      • Joel McCracken

        Bluetooth is a beautiful but yet Un-mastered market. It almost seems that there is not one truly developing for it so not one else needs to.

        • shonangreg

          Is the "plumbing" there in the Bluetooth standards to enable a multichannel mic to be developed? Enough bandwidth for high-quality audio? Am I just waiting on the hardware?

          • Joel McCracken

            the "new" Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy/L.E.) is AWESOME, you should read up on it. It has drastically decreased the amount of power needed and increased by far the quality of communications and the bandwidth allowed, even the range that you can maintain a good connection. Now we just need someone to take full advantage of its capabilities.

      • varun

        I think there is a mic input on the Nexus 7 (2013) - my headset certainly works. It's possible that the N7 can't distinguish between a single TRS connector for an input, which is why standalone mics don't work, but it should be possible to get a physical adapter to fix that - something like this perhaps: http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic.htm

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Yes yes yes! Having two separate volumes has bothered me ever since I got my first BT headset.

    • infogulch

      Awww Artem is getting a bunch of his itches scratched today. (The OCD, er, COD is strong with this one.) Be careful or you'll spontaneously start purring.

    • Goofyfoot2001

      Oh is soo tough to turn ip the volume

  • enoch861

    Little things like these are one of the few reasons why I've always never ROM'd (is that even a word?) my phones and why I've never kept a Nexus phone for longer than a week or two.

    On a side note, I really wish Play Music supported DLNA. Chromecast is nice, but I don't want to keep my TV on the entire time.

    • MattE303

      There's an app for that: "Cast To UPnP/DLNA for GMusic" will do what you want and works great, but I found an even better solution (for me anyway); Monoprice makes an HDMI switcher that includes a digital audio output (coax) for the selected source. I run my Chromecast thru it so I can send digital audio to my stereo for Google Play Music listening in the main or secondary zone, without having to have the TV on.

      • enoch861

        I've been using it since the day it was realeased. But I find that it kills my phone way too fast and doesn't show proper song information on the receivers display thus I haven't bought it yet.
        Again, thats a work-around that I feel should be built in to the Music app.

  • n0th1ng_r3al

    Apple users: Well we have colorful phones and a fingerprint reader.

  • So Angry About Bluetooth

    I don't care about this. Has the bluetooth crackly audio gone?!

    • atlouiedog

      Don't have that issue on any of my Android devices with speakers or headphones.

  • ari_free

    but one of them will undoubtedly appeal to the cries of OCD sufferers more than the rest

    But that's most of the readership here!

  • Philip Mather

    Forget it, nexus 5 Bluetooth is shockingly bad. Tears, drops and pops. Fine from my gnex, you can certainly forget having speakers paired and something else at the same time, it just doesn't work.

  • kal326

    Anybody else having extremely loud BT audio output on the Nexus 5? I have the BT volume all the way down and things like XBox Music and YouTve are still on the verge of being too loud. I am using the same LG Tones+ HBS730 as I did with my Nexus 4.

    • hitzand

      Searching around it seems everyone is having a problem with LG Tone+ and Nexus 5 volume too loud. Seems this "feature" isn't so great for those of us with these headphones.

  • bunnylebowsk1

    this just killed my Bluetooth speaker. it is the ihome that they didn't put a volume control on... so once I updated today my speaker comes on full blast with no way to change the volume... the control on my nexus does nothing.

    • Carl

      Exactly, same.

    • Orange Lada

      I got a Nexus 7 for Xmas, and my IHome provides minimal volume, even when set on highest levels. Arghhhh!!! Android 4.2.2

  • Steve

    I cannot adjust the volume on my Nexus 4 phone to the JBL Charge Bluetooth speaker after update to KitKat 4.4. Does anyone have a workaround.

    • Scotty

      Same here. I can only control my external bluetooth volume on the external equipment that I'm using. Bummer

    • Fred

      Same issue for me ! My Anker bluetooth speaker was working perfectly with Android 4.3 on my Nexus 4. Now, with Android 4.4, I cannot adjust the volume anymore from my smartphone ! The sound was at the maximum when I connected the speaker. Bug or feature ?

    • Justin

      I also have the JBL Charge and having the same issue. If there is a workaround let me know.

      • Justin

        But a weird thing that I noticed is. That I'm still able to control the volume from my phone on the jbl pulse and jbl flip. Only the jbl charge has the volume issue.

  • MCroft

    I am extremely frustrated with not having 2 separate volume controls. Now whenever I want to listen to anything via bluetooth (which is all day everyday) it is way too loud and I can't turn the volume down at all!! The volume on the device says that it is at the lowest volume possible, but the sound is killing my eardrums! I really hope that I can control my volume separately again!

  • Guest


  • Goofyfoot2001

    This is a feature? Im pretty sure it's a bug when i have no control over my volume. When i leave this page i will be assualted by a horrendous sputtering laser sound. I bracing myself for pressing the submit button. Why must we alway develop to the lowest common denominator. My volume control is now, loud, louder, loudest, way f'n loud, ears are bleeding, and a place I'm afraid to go.

  • Google fucked it again.

    Would be nice if maybe it FUCKING WORKED. FUCK YOU GOOGLE, YOU FUCKED UP, THIS FEATURE IS BROKEN AND DOESN'T WORK AT ALL. This kitchy 'feature' disables my ability to change the volume at all from my phone to any Bluetooth device, the volume slider simply has no affect on the Bluetooth device at all. You fucked up hard, and have made my Bluetooth completely useless, as the full volume that it is stuck at is deafeningly loud.

  • Bt problem

    Can someone help me?
    My s4 mini (has Kitkat) doesn't connect to my bluetooth headset, but my s2+ (Jelly Bean) does.

  • Gnome

    How can I DISABLE this? It's so annoying that my speaker decides to lower it's volume as the battery gets low, I should decide how I want to use my speaker.