How to turn off Google Assistant

Hey Google, take a break: How to turn off or limit Google Assistant

How to turn off Google Assistant
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

We’ve been big fans of Google Assistant since it first appeared, but it doesn’t always work perfectly. Sometimes it will pipe up from your pocket or in response to the TV, leaving you scrambling to shut it up. Or maybe you’re concerned about the privacy angle and a little creeped out at the thought that your phone is listening to everything you say. Even if you love the Google Assistant, there may come a time when you’ve run out of funny questions to ask, or you decide you’ve had enough and would like a break. We’ll show you precisely how to turn off Google Assistant, limit its triggers, or take some temporary time off in this guide.

How to turn off Google Assistant

If you want to completely deactivate Google Assistant on one of your devices it’s easy to do. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Google app on your phone.
  2. Tap on More at the bottom right.
  3. Tap on Settings.
  4. Tap on Google Assistant.
  5. Scroll down to Assistant devices and tap on Phone or any other device you have listed where you want to turn Google Assistant off.
  6. Tap the Google Assistant toggle to turn it off.

You can also just say, “Hey Google, turn yourself off” to get directions on how to do it.

How to tweak your Google Assistant settings

You can tweak all sorts of different settings in the Google app if you go to More > Settings > Google Assistant as we showed you above, but what if you want to turn off specific triggers?

Maybe you just want to turn off voice commands, so that you don’t keep triggering Google Assistant accidentally, but you’d still like it to work while you’re driving. Here’s how to do that on a Samsung Galaxy phone — the path will be slightly different on a different device.

  1. Go to Settings and tap Apps.
  2. Tap the three vertically stacked dots at the top right for more options and tap Default apps.
  3. Tap on Device assistance app.
  4. There are various settings you can change here and they’ll be different depending on your device. For example, my Galaxy S10 has the option to turn off on-screen text or image analysis, but my Pixel 3 has the option to turn off Active Edge here, which is a feature that allows you to squeeze the phone to launch Google Assistant.
  5. Tap the gear icon to dig deeper and you have more options. Tap Voice Match.
  6. You can now toggle off Access with Voice Match, but leave on While driving.

How to temporarily turn off Google Assistant on smart home devices

Maybe you have a smart speaker, smart display, or smart clock and you want to turn Google Assistant off temporarily, or you want to turn it off regularly at specific times. You can do it using Downtime in the Google Home app. Here’s how:

  • Open the Google Home app.
  • Tap Home and select a device.
  • Tap the Settings gear icon.
  • Tap Digital Wellbeing > New Schedule.
  • Pick all the devices you want to apply it to, then tap Next.
  • Pick the days and choose a ready made schedule or create a custom schedule, then tap Next.
  • Choose start and end times, then Next > Done.

If you change your mind it’s easy to reverse any of these settings by following the same path. Bear in mind that Google Assistant is improving all the time and you can get a lot out of it with the right voice commands.

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