On October 25, 2021, Google released a subscription service that was meant to give the greatest value to anyone who bought the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro devices. It was released with what I perceive as little to no fanfare, and since most users were already inundated with subscription services, Google’s attempt to nickel and dime you came with more groans than excitement.
With that being said, Pixel Pass can offer plenty of value to you if you are looking at purchasing one of the company’s phones, but only if you meet a highly specific set of criteria. Today, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about Google Pixel Pass and whether or not you should sign up for it!
What is Google Pixel Pass?
Google’s Pixel Pass is a new subscription service that bundles loads of benefits into one cost. In addition to getting the latest Pixel phone (only works with Pixel 6 and 6 Pro), you’ll also get device protection, Google One cloud storage (200 GB, which can be upgraded to up to 30 TB with Pixel Pass, but not downgraded to the 100 GB tier), Youtube Premium and Youtube Music Premium with ad-free capabilities, as well as Google Play Pass with hundreds of apps and games without ads or in-app purchases.
Important: As a quick prerequisite bit of knowledge, please note that you can’t subscribe to Pixel Pass if you’ve already purchased a phone. This means that you can’t retroactively add the service because the primary value comes when you bundle in the Pixel phone financing! If you take the phone out and calculate the value of the services and such that it comes with, you’re overspending by a lot, so it simply wouldn’t be worth your time or money without.
Google states on its official FAQ that you could save up to $294 over the course of 2 years if you calculate the cost of Pixel Pass and all that’s bundled into it versus subscribing to its services and buying a Pixel 6 Pro phone separately (up to $176 for the Pixel 6 with Pixel Pass). So, It’s worth noting that Pixel Pass is only available in the United States as of writing this.
How much does it cost?
The subscription will run you $45 USD per month with Google Store Financing, and everything is taken out all at once from your account when it charges. That’s right, there’s just one monthly bill. The benefit is that instead of seeing several charges on your bank statement each month for a phone payment, Google Fi, Youtube Premium, Youtube Music Premium, Google Play Pass, coverage, and the like, you’ll just see one charge instead – easy!
Since there are a lot of details regarding how the financing works, we won’t attempt to cover it here, but you can check the fine print for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro over on the Google Store if you’d like.
Here’s a visual breakdown of what it would cost you for a year of Pixel Pass and all of its included services if you bundle it with a phone versus buying the phone outright and subscribing to all of its included services individually without Pixel Pass:
|Pixel 6 + standalone services||$1,156|
|Pixel 6 + Pixel Pass||$1,080|
|Pixel 6 Pro + standalone services||$1,506|
|Pixel 6 Pro + Pixel Pass||$1,320|
Can I use Pixel Pass with Google Fi?
You may have noticed that I mentioned Google Fi just a bit ago – that’s because you can also bundle in your phone service. Don’t get too excited – it means that you’re still just paying one bill, but your Google Fi monthly bill will be bundled in, so your Pixel Pass charge could end up being around or over $100 USD per month on your bank statement (All Pixel Pass benefits plus your monthly phone bill and data charges). The only benefit to going this route other than the one bill to rule them all is that you can save $5 per month by tossing Fi into the mix. Just be sure to activate your phone within 30 days of shipment to avoid your Pixel Pass subscription from being canceled.
So, how does the phone upgrade work?
Alright, so you’re considering bundling in a Pixel phone and device coverage and subscribing to Pixel Pass, so how often can you upgrade your device? You can upgrade every two years and continue to save monthly on your new phone, according to the Google Store advertisement for the service. There’s also no contract, so if you decide to move on, you just pay the remainder of your phone cost at its regular price and that’s it.
Here’s how upgrading works. First, you’ll get an email about upgrading when you’re eligible. Then, you’ll check your eligibility through your Google Store subscriptions or on your Google Fi account. Next, while upgrading, you’ll choose a new Pixel phone and then trade in your old one for credit toward the new device.
It’s worth noting as well that if you cancel during the 24-month non-contract cycle, you will be required to pay the remaining value of your Pixel device at a non-discounted price (plus a one-time cancelation fee), and your access to bundled services will be terminated once the billing cycle lapses. If you want to continue to benefit from any of these services, you’ll have to resubscribe to them individually. If you have Preferred Care or device protection set up, then you’ll get a prorated refund for that.
What if I already subscribe to some of these services individually?
If you already subscribe to Youtube Premium and or Youtube Music Premium, then you can’t set up Pixel Pass…yet. If you are truly considering signing up, then you’ll first need to cancel either service you’re paying for (or both), and then re-subscribe through Pixel Pass. I find it quite annoying and ridiculous that a super-powerful mega-corporation couldn’t convert user subscriptions within their own ecosystem, but okay.
Can I use Pixel Pass with a Google Family Group?
Sort of. Sadly, Google does not provide family group access to Youtube Premium and Youtube Music Premium, but it does let you share your Google One cloud storage and Google Play Pass apps and games with your family group.
If you combine this restricted access with the fact that you’ve already likely subscribed to the family play for either Youtube service, this alone is likely to cause many people to stop considering Pixel Pass.
Okay, should I sign up for Google Pixel Pass or not?
If you want to then sure, go right ahead! However, if you’ve already purchased a Pixel phone outright, then Pixel Pass isn’t for you. Let’s say, for example, that you bought your device and then heard about the subscription after the fact and it sounds enticing to you. Sadly, the only way to benefit here is to return your device within the return window and then re-purchase it through Google Store Financing with Pixel Pass attached.
I’ll reiterate – if you love using Youtube and Youtube Music with your family and you have a paid subscription to both or either, or simply want 100 GB of cloud storage with Google One instead of 200+, then this is probably something you’ll want to “pass” on. Most importantly, if you’ve already purchased a Google Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro and are outside of its return window, then there’s no value for you here whatsoever as most of what it offers is baked into the phone’s trade-up program. If you have any other questions about Pixel Pass, you can check out the company’s Google Store Help page for it.