Android 15 has “Auracast”, a Bluetooth LE feature that allows devices to broadcast audio content. The same feature would allow multiple devices to listen in on an audio feed.

What is “Audio Sharing” in Android 15?

Android 15 is shaping up to be one of the most feature-packed updates for smartphones and other compatible devices. Among its many tricks, Android 15 should bring with it the ability to broadcast audio to multiple devices over a single Bluetooth channel.

Bluetooth has been around for several decades. However, this mature technology is essentially one-way. In other words, it can only stream data from one source to one destination. The Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) Audio standard, and its Auracast feature, offer a new way of sharing audio.

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Auracast, a feature possible due to the Bluetooth LE Audio standard, enables broadcasting audio to nearby devices over Bluetooth Low Energy. Auracast doesn’t even demand Bluetooth pairing.

Auracast is like a miniature radio transmission station. It can transmit audio to multiple devices. Although the range is limited, multiple devices supporting Bluetooth LE and Auracast would be able to tap in and listen to an audio stream simultaneously.

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How to activate Auracast feature in Android 15 Developer Preview 2

Google has released two Developer Preview versions of Android 15. The company is still testing multiple features, and some may not make their way into the stable release of Android 15.

Mishaal Rahman managed to activate the Auracast feature and even started a broadcast. Although nearly every modern device that can run Android 15 could run an Auracast stream, support for the feature is very sketchy. Interestingly, audio accessory makers are adding Auracast support to their devices.

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Nonetheless, to start an Auracast stream, first install the Android 15 Developer Preview 2. Then head over to Settings > Connected devices > Connection preferences > Audio sharing page. Toggle the “Share Audio” switch to start a stream.

A notification from “Bluetooth LE audio” pops up which states the device is “sharing media audio.” This notification has buttons to “stop” the stream or open the “settings” for audio sharing. The media output switcher reconfirms with a “sharing audio” message instead of playing audio on “this phone.”

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— Clarinox (@clarinox) April 23, 2024

Several granular settings allow users to finely control multiple aspects. Users can choose a broadcast name and password by heading over to Audio Sharing > Stream settings. Broadcasters even get a QR code to share their Auracast stream.

Users can select “Improve Compatibility” to ensure the audio stream is playable on most devices. However, this significantly reduces audio quality, Rahman observed.

Auracast standardizes and even democratizes audio sharing over Bluetooth. Moreover, it enables users to share audio with more than two devices. However, those who wish to use this feature would need to ensure their device supports Bluetooth LE Audio and would receive the Android 15 update, as it includes the Auracast feature.

Image Credit: Mishaal Rahman

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