Google Assistant is designed to be a conversational voice assistant, but sometimes it’s not socially acceptable to talk to your phone. If you’d rather type your requests to Assistant, you can make that the default instead.

While using your voice to talk to Google Assistant is convenient in some cases, it comes with downsides. If you’re listening to music on your phone, Assistant will interrupt it any time you try to search when it turns on the microphone. Google also starts recording you right away, even if you decide to type your search instead.

Changing your default input method to text still gives you the option to search with your voice with one extra tap (or by saying “Ok Google”), but it doesn’t assume that you want to talk to your phone every time. To do that, open up Google Assistant on your phone (must be running Marshmallow or higher) by holding down your home button. Tap the round, blue icon at the top right of the card that pops up.

In the top-right corner of the screen, tap the three button menu icon, then choose Settings.


Scroll down in the list and find your phone under Devices and tap on it.

At the bottom of the screen, tap on “Preferred input.”

In the window that pops up, choose Keyboard.

From now on, when you activate Google Assistant, you’ll see a screen that looks like this one.

Annoyingly, Assistant won’t automatically open the keyboard, but tap the text box and it will pop right up. Alternatively, if you’d like to use a voice command, tap the microphone on the right side of the screen. All your searches and voice commands will still work like normal, but you won’t have to interrupt your music or start recording until you’re ready.

In addition, this will not affect Assistant when you invoke it using “Ok Google”. You’ll still be able to issue hands-free voice commands by saying “Ok Google”; Assistant will only default to text if you hold the home button to activate it.

Profile Photo for Eric Ravenscraft Eric Ravenscraft
Eric Ravenscraft has nearly a decade of writing experience in the technology industry. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, PCMag, The Daily Beast, Popular Science, Medium's OneZero, Android Police, Geek and Sundry, and The Inventory. Prior to joining How-To Geek, Eric spent three years working at Lifehacker.
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