Google Pixel 8a can connect to external displays via USB-C — and it’s all thanks to Android 15 beta

Google Pixel 8a.
(Image credit: Future)

The Google Pixel 8a has a lot of amazing features that were originally only available on Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. Now the latest Android 15 beta may have just added another one — support for USB-C display output. 

This feature was spotted by Reddit user u/deedsdude1 (via Android Police), and confirmed by Tom’s Guide on a Pixel 8a running Android 15 beta 2. While not mentioned anywhere in the Android 15 beta 2’s release notes, and not explicitly confirmed by Google, this feature is available.

Pixel 8a screen mirroring feature on Android 15 beta 2

(Image credit: Future)

The process of setting up that external display was incredibly easy too. I simply had to plug a USB-C cable that was connected to my desktop monitor and the option to mirror my screen popped up at the bottom of my screen right away. There was no need to head into the USB preferences menu and set things up, either.

The one thing I also noticed is that dismissing the Screen Mirroring prompt meant there was no obvious way to set up the connection after the fact. Meaning you have to unplug the cable and plug it back in again. Still everything seemed to work exactly as you’d hope, with minimal lag or output issues.

google pixel 8a mirroring its screen onto an external monitor

(Image credit: Future)

The ability to connect to external monitors via USB-C has been missing on Pixel phones for several years, to the frustration of Pixel owners. However this was made available on the Pixel 8 series last year using the same screen mirroring feature. It’s possible, then, that Google is warming to the idea of being able to use an Android phone on a larger screen.

What makes this news more interesting is that Google reportedly had a private demo featuring a Pixel desktop mode earlier this week. The demo is said to have featured a Pixel 8 running a version of ChromiumOS, the open source version of ChromeOS, on an external monitor. The timing suggests that Google could be warming to the idea of monitor output, though there’s been no official announcements of this nature.

Then again there haven’t been many announcements related to Android 15 this week, despite the fact the Google I/O developers conference was taking place. The keynote was instead focused on Gemini and AI, while Android 15 announcements were relegated to press releases that clearly weren’t fully representative of everything Android 15 and its second beta had to offer.

So if you have a Pixel 8a, or are planning to get one in the coming weeks, then it’s important to know that screen mirroring is available. Provided you sign up for the Android 15 beta, and agree to suffer the consequences of that decision, good or bad. Or alternatively you can wait for the final release, which should be launching anytime between late summer and early fall.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.