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Display output support over USB-C coming to the Google Pixel 8a with the next update

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Google recently unveiled the Pixel 8a after months of leaks and rumors. The Pixel 8a packs a bunch of AI features that make it an all-around good phone for the price. However, the Pixel 8 lineup, which includes the Pixel 8, 8 Pro, and now the new Pixel 8a, doesn't come with a display output via USB-C out of the box.

All these devices have hardware support for the display output via USB-C ports. However, as per a new report by Android Authority, Google has quietly enabled the display output via USB-C function on the Pixel 8 in the latest Android beta update, and the recently launched Pixel 8a is likely to get the feature with the next update.

Notably, the Pixel 8, 8 Pro, and the Pixel 8a are all powered by the Tensor G3 chipset, confirming that all these devices share a lot of internal components, including the USB port. Reportedly, although the USB-C port on these devices comes with support for DisplayPort, it was disabled by Google using a software flag.

Folks at Android Authority were able to enable the system property "persist.vendor.usb.displayport.enabled" flag in these Tensor G3-powered phones, which is responsible for the display output support over USB-C. When this flag is set to 0, then the DisplayPort is disabled. This flag was set to 0 until the latest Android 14 QPR3 Beta 2 release, where it has been changed to 1, enabling DisplayPort for all by default for the Pixel 8 series users enrolled in the Android beta program.

The DisplayPort is still disabled on the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro because the latest stable update is based on Android 14 QPR2, whereas the upcoming June update is based on Android 14 QPR3. So, Pixel 8 and 8 Pro users who aren't enrolled in the beta program will get the display output support with next month's stable update.

Speaking of the Pixel 8a, whose latest software version is the Android 14 QPR2-based UD2A.240505.001.B1 build, it will get the feature in next month's update because the June stable update, which is under testing, has the DisplayPort settings set to 1, enabling the feature by default. Until the feature arrives, connecting your Pixel 8 series phone to a screen using the USB-C cable will only mirror your screen.

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