Google’s Pixel 8 smartphone is the company’s first phone that you can plug into an external display since the Nexus 5, which was released more than ten years ago. Or at least, it will be very soon.

Before the Pixel 8 launched, Kamila Wojciechowska spotted clues that it would support USB DisplayPort Alt Mode, allowing you to us the phone’s USB-C port for video output. But when that feature first arrived, you could only use it by rooting your phone and changing some settings. Now you don’t have to do any of that. You just have to install Android 14 QPR3 beta… or wait until a stable version of the latest update rolls out in the coming weeks.

Writing for Android Authority, Mishaal Rahman explains that once the latest update is installed, you can plug a USB-C to USB-C or HDMI cable into your phone, plug the other end into a compatible display, and a dialog will pop up asking if you’d like to “mirror to external display.”

If you do that, everything on your Android phone will be duplicated on your monitor or TV. And if you’d like a more desktop-like experience, you can enable developer setting on your phone, and then toggle the “force desktop mode” option to get a simple version of a desktop-like operating system featuring app windows that can be resized and moved.

Rahman notes that the existing desktop mode is pretty basic, but Google is apparently working on a more functional version that could be set to debut with Android 15 this fall. And that helps explain why the Pixel 8 is the first member of the Pixel series to support video output, giving Google a platform for testing desktop mode before launching the Pixel 9 series.

Unfortunately there’s no chance of video output coming to any other existing Pixel devices, because up until now Google has disabled DisplayPort Alt Mode at the hardware level, making it impossible to add via a software update. The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro were the first phones with hardware support, even though the software wasn’t available at launch.

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  1. My Pixel 2 could plug into a DisplayLink docking station and output video to external monitors..

  2. Listen, once again.

    What we want is a pocketable computer that is a smartphone and a desktop computer.
    THAT IS WHAT WE WANT!

    Android is not a desktop/productivity operating system, and never will be.
    Windows had a chance of being a pocketable desktop system, but never has integrated android apps.
    Apple has no device that is a good iPhone and Mac(and really, even Macs are not real productivity operating systems because the world runs on Windows)(only 5 percent of business computers are Macs people).

    Its 2024, for goodness sakes!

    I am so tired of TECH’s short-sightedness.

    Such an unnecessarily painful digital life we have created.

    1. Just make a pocketable that runs windows and Android apps. Keyboard, mouse nipple, folding keyboard, it can completely be done!

    2. Maemo was literally debian on a phone, circa early 2000’s. With video out, removable battery, a keyboard, sd card and much more.

      1. You mean early 2010s right? The N900 debuted in 2009, it was the first Maemo device to be a full phone and not just a MID or PDA. I had one soon after launch, and while it was a bit buggy it was a good phone and a great portable Linux PC.

        1. Ah yeah sorry. I am old enough that 10ish years is a short time. I got mine around 2011. Loved that thing. Wish it had native mms (fmms was buggy for me).

          1. Don’t remind me. I’ll be 47 in a few months and it still feels like 1999 was just a few years ago!

  3. Great news !! I am dying awaiting this feature for too long. Huawei & Samsung users have been enjoying this for centries, not to mention about their desktop/PC mode functionality.
    Next on the list : USI support for the coming pixel phones. Am I too greedy 🙂

    1. If by desktop you meant Samsung Dex, that is complete unreliable marketing trash that only a complete idiot or useful idiot would rely on.

  4. Does the Pixel 8 Pro get the Pro Gemini model for free or do they also have to pay for that too?

    1. You mean Android? Calling Graphene an “OS” is disingenuous.

      Sailfish is an OS. Maemo is an OS. IOS is an OS. All these android forks are Android.

        1. For the most part, it’s Android with stuff taken out of it and almost no changes in its fundamental behavior, same runtimes, same init system, same scheduling system, same filesystems, same binary formats, same drivers, same downloadable software packages.

          1. Yup.

            Did that other guy really ask why iOS/Maemo are OSes but an Android fork isn’t? Lel

      1. Graphene (the Android fork that adds some privacy and security enhancements, but which for some reason is not an OS) has had this for a while.

        1. Do tell how graphene is any different than lineage if you leave Google services out (which is easy to do). Be specific.

  5. It’s long past time for Google to support desktop functionality natively. Most people don’t need much more computing power daily than their phone and having a desktop option just adds more versatility to that experience.

    1. I agree.
      But I also count the ability to install your own operating system without being treated like a criminal to be a part of desktop functionality.