Ahead of the Google Pixel 8 launch – which is all but confirmed to be arriving in October based on Google's usual release schedule and recent Pixel 8 Pro leaks – Google has announced that its Pixel Pass subscription is coming to an end.
Pixel Pass was a two-year-long subscription for people in the US that gave you a Pixel 6 (for $45 per month) or Pixel 6 Pro (for $55 per month) as well as a slew of Google services including YouTube Premium, Google One, and Google Play Pass. If you wanted a new phone and all these services then it was a solid way to get them at a discounted price, but unfortunately, the deal is now gone – at least for those of you who aren’t already signed up to it.
If you are already a Pixel Pass subscriber then you don’t need to worry about your subscription going away quite yet. Google has said it will honor the two-year contracts of every current subscriber. When the two-year term is up you’ll get $100 towards a new Pixel phone (which is “good for two years” and can “be used alongside available promotions”), plus you’ll remain subscribed to Google One, Google Play Pass, and YouTube Premium at the current discounted rate until you separately cancel it.
Details of this rate can be found in an email that should have been sent to you already on August 29 with the subject line “An important update on Pixel Pass.”
Unfortunately, what won’t continue is the $5 service discount Pixel Pass users had towards their Google Fi Wireless bill.
Google’s passing on subscriptions, for now
While Pixel Pass being canceled is a disappointment, it’s not surprising. The writing has been on the wall for some time. When the Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro launched last year Google didn’t update the service with subscriptions that provided these phones, and the service has only ever been available in the US.
If Google had long-term plans for Pixel Pass, we suspect it would have expanded and updated the subscription service over time. Instead, it’s just let it slowly fester until eventually killing it off.
As for why Google has decided to end Pixel Pass, it hasn’t got a lot to say. In the official FAQ its answer mentions wanting to give “users the flexibility to purchase their favorite services” – flexibility this all-in-one service doesn’t provide. This is certainly one reason, but we expect it’s really because the service just isn’t popular enough for Google to want to carry it on; this lack of popularity would also explain why it never bothered to expand or update Pixel Pass beyond the original US-only offering.
We could also see Pixel Pass being replaced by some new kind of subscription model in the near future. The wording of Google’s Pixel Pass FAQ seems to suggest it might have something in the works, and canceling Pixel Pass would make it easier for customers to work out which subscription they need rather than being bombarded with too many confusing options.
We’ll have to wait and see what Google has up its sleeve, but if a replacement is incoming we expect it would be announced around the same time as the Google Pixel 8. If it is, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the latest Google offerings – and if a Pixel Pass replacement doesn’t arrive you can still come back here to find all of our Google Pixel 8 coverage (and other devices such as the Google Pixel Watch 2) when Google finally unveils it.
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.