Tons of streaming sticks and smart TVs support Google’s Chromecast protocol. You know, the thing that lets you beam a movie from your phone to the big screen. But because of a “legal dispute,” Google has disabled one of Chromecast’s key features in Android 12—the ability to adjust your smart TV or streaming stick’s volume from your phone.
One of the hallmarks of the Chromecast protocol is that it reduces the need for a TV remote. If you’re watching a YouTube video on your phone, for example, you can quickly cast it to your TV and control volume or playback using your phone’s volume rockers and touchscreen. (Google took this idea to the extreme with its original Chromecast, which doesn’t come with a remote.)
But as Android 12 beta testers noticed in August, the new operating system disables Chromecast volume control from smartphones. We originally thought that this problem was a bug, but now that Pixel users can install Android 12, it’s clear that Google intentionally made this change.
Android 12 quietly disabled the ability to change the volume of a cast session by pressing the volume key on any screen. This will be re-enabled in Android 12L, but what's interesting is *why* it was disabled. A Googler said it was due to "a legal issue."https://t.co/LaM4CvIBBi pic.twitter.com/ARs6JjOTU2
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) November 2, 2021
So what’s going on here? According to a support thread discovered by Mishaal Rahman, Senior Technical Editor of Esper, a “legal issue” prevented Google from implementing Chromecast volume control on Android 12. The feature should return in the upcoming Android 12L release.
While we aren’t sure what “legal issue” is behind this problem, it could be the recent preliminary ruling in Sonos’ lawsuit against Google. Sonos claims that Google infringed on several of its smart speaker patents, and even called for a sales ban on some Google hardware, including Chromecasts.
If you’re a Chromecast user on Android 12, you have no choice but to control streaming volume from your TV’s remote or the Google Home app. You can also use Android 12’s new “Device Controls” tile to adjust your TV’s volume from your phone.