Google Assistant is great for answering questions, recommending when you should leave home to arrive on time for appointments, and generally controlling your smartphone or smart speaker.
But if you’d prefer not to have your movements and requests stored on the Google servers - or you're fed up of the Assistant popping up on your phone screen - then you might want to disable it temporarily or on a permanent basis. We show you the quick steps that will disable Google Assistant.
If you just can't see the point of your phone’s virtual helper, take a look at how to use Google Assistant as you may find it's useful after all.
How to turn off Google Assistant on your devices
It’s not as difficult as you may think to disable Google Assistant. Go to the Google app on your phone and tap on the three dots marked More in the bottom right corner of the screen. From the menu that appears, select Settings > Google Assistant then tap the Assistant tab that is situated just above the main list of options.
Scroll down and you should find a section with the heading Assistant devices. In here you’ll see a list of any devices you own that currently have the Google Assistant configured. Tap on the one you want to disable.
On the page that appears next you should see a setting at the top of the page entitled Google Assistant, with a toggle switch to its right. If the dot is to the right, this means that the Assistant is currently turned on. Simply tap the toggle switch and it will move left, signifying that the feature is now disabled. Repeat these steps for all the devices on which you want to suspend the Assistant.
If you’re only concerned with particular functions, say being able to use voice commands when your phone is locked, you can scroll further down through the settings and disable each aspect individually instead.
How to use Downtime to stop Google Assistant
Google's smart speakers are great fun and can be genuinely useful, but if the Assistant is permanently disabled then their capabilities are seriously reduced. Rather than cut them off at the knees, you can instead use Google’s Downtime feature to turn off the Assistant at certain times and on specific days of the week.
To do this, open the Google Home app, then tap the Settings icon. On the next page you’ll see a section marked Features. In here is Digital Wellbeing, so tap that and then select the device you want to restrict. You’ll be taken through various setups for the kind of content you’re willing to allow, then you’ll reach the Downtime settings. In here you can specify days and times when the feature will be turned on or off, all of which will happen automatically.
For a more in depth look at Google’s Digital Wellbeing features, here's how to set up parental controls on Google Assistant and Google Home.