How to Disable Google Assistant (or At Least Take Its Shortcut Back)

Google Assistant should be available on basically all modern Android phones at this point, but not everyone loves it. If you find yourself disliking Assistant more than you use it, you have some options: you can change how you use Assistant, or you can disable it completely.

The biggest complaint many users have is that the home button long-press that used to launch Google Now (or Now on Tap) has been hijacked by Assistant. If you’re a part of this camp, I have good news: you can use both of these features in tandem.

Option One: Use Assistant’s “What’s On My Screen” Feature

If you just miss the old days of long-pressing the home button for contextual information—Google Now on Tap—Assistant actually has this feature built in.

Navigate to a screen where you’d normally use Now on Tap, then long-press the home button.

When you do this, Assistant will show up. You can now say “What’s on my screen” or simply tap the button at the bottom of the page (if it shows up).

 

Boom: Now on Tap functionality right within Assistant. You’re welcome.

Option Two: Set a Custom Shortcut to the Google App

If you want to get the best of both worlds, you can use both Google Now and Google Assistant.

But first, let’s get one thing clear: Google Now is dead. It simply doesn’t exist anymore, at least in name. What we used to think of as Google Now is basically just the Google app at this point—for all intents and purposes, it’s the same thing. Google recently even added new functionality to it lately to make it better than Google Now used to be. I dig it.

RELATED: Create More Useful Shortcuts on Android’s Home Screen with Nova Launcher Gestures

But I digress. If you’re looking to use both options, you can easily add a custom action to your home button by using Nova Launcher. We have a full post on how to use Nova’s custom shortcut options, but here’s a quick and dirty explanation to get you started:

  1. Download Nova Launcher
  2. When you press the home button, you can set it as your default launcher
  3. Jump into Nova’s Settings (should be an entry in the app drawer)
  4. Scroll down to “Gestures and Inputs”
  5. Tap on “Home Button”
  6. Select “Google Now”

Now, the long-press option will still launch Google Assistant, but if you press the home button while on the home screen, it will launch the Google App. This is my preferred approach since I love both the Google app and Assistant all the time.

How to Completely Disable Google Assistant

If you’re not into any of that and just want to get rid of Google Assistant, you can also turn it off completely. This will disable all Assistant functionality, which is now becoming a core part of Android, but if you’re okay with that, then let’s do this thing.

Long press the home button to launch Assistant, then tap the little drawer-looking icon in the top right corner. This will bring up the main Assistant screen.

Tap the three dots in the upper right corner, then choose “Settings.”

Under the Devices menu, tap on the phone you’re currently using—the one you want to disable Assistant on.

The first option here is “Google Assistant.” Simply toggle the slider to turn it off.

Again, keep in mind that this will completely disable all Assistant functionality. On newer phones that came with Google Assistant, that means you won’t be able to say “Ok Google” and issue voice commands (though on older, pre-Assistant phones, Ok Google still seems to work).

If you ever want to re-enable to Assistant, just long-press the home button again and just tap “Turn on.”

Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at HTG, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, spinning legs on the bike, chugging away on the 6-string, or being disappointed in the Bulls.