Google Assistant Logo on Google colors background

Even though iPhone has Siri, some iPhone owners prefer using Google Assistant for performing spoken-word tasks. With a feature called Back Tap available in iOS 14 and later on iPhone 8 and up, you can quickly launch “Hey Google” by tapping the back of your phone. Here’s how.

First, if you don’t have it already, you’ll need to install the Google Assistant app on your iPhone. It’s a free download from the App Store.

Next, you’ll need to create an Apple shortcut to launch Google Assistant with a “Hey Google” query. To do so, launch the Shortcuts app. If you can’t find it, swipe down from the middle of your iPhone’s screen with one finger and type “Shortcuts,” then tap the “Shortcuts” app icon that appears.

Once Shortcuts opens, tap “My Shortcuts” at the bottom of the screen, then select “All Shortcuts.”

Tap "My Shorcuts" and "All Shortcuts" on iPhone.

On the “All Shortcuts” page, tap the plus button (+) in the upper-right corner of the screen.

Tap the plus (+) button.

Next, you’ll see a screen that says “New Shortcut.” Before we do anything else, we’re going to rename the shortcut something useful. Tap the ellipses button (three dots in a circle).

In Shortcuts on iPhone, tap the ellipses button to rename the shortcut.

When the “Details” panel appears, tap the “Shortcut Name” text area and type “Launch Google Assistant.” Then tap “Done.”

Type "Launch Google Assistant," then tap "Done."

After that, we’ll need to add an action that will make our new shortcut launch Google Assistant. Tap “Add Action.”

In iPhone Shortcuts, tap "Add Action."

In the actions panel that appears, search for “Hey Google,” then tap the “Hey Google” result in the list.

In iPhone Shortcuts, type "Hey Google," then tap the "Hey Google" action.

After that, you’ll see an overview of your new shortcut, which includes only one action. Very simple. Turn off “Show When Run” with the switch, then tap “Done.”

Turn off "Show When Run," then tap "Done."

Next, we’ll need to configure Back Tap to launch this new shortcut that we just created. Exit Shortcuts and launch Settings.

In Settings, navigate to Accessibility > Touch, then select “Back Tap.”

In Accessibility Touch settings on iPhone, select "Back Tap."

In “Back Tap” settings, decide whether two or three taps will launch the Google Assistant shortcut. Select the option you’d prefer.

In Back Tap settings, select "Double Tap" or "Triple Tap."

Next, you’ll see a list of actions that you can trigger with Back Tap (some of which may be worth exploring later). Scroll down until you get to the “Shortcuts” section. In the list, select “Launch Google Assistant.”

In Back Tap settings, select the "Launch Google Assistant" shortcut.

Next, exit Settings, then tap on the back of your phone two or three times (depending on which option you selected). Google Assistant will launch, and it will automatically be listening for a voice command.

An example of Google Assistant ready to take a query on an iPhone.

We’ve noticed that after you launch Google Assistant the first time, it usually listens for voice input automatically. But the next time that you launch it, it might not be listening automatically. This is possibly a bug that might be fixed in a future release of Google Assistant or Shortcuts. If it happens, tap the microphone icon at the bottom of the Google Assistant screen and voice a command. Or, if you force quit Google Assistant with the app switcher, it will usually be ready to receive a voice command automatically the next time you launch it. Have fun!

RELATED: How to Launch Actions by Tapping on the Back of Your iPhone

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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