google home mute switch
Google

Google Assistant smart speakers and displays are designed to listen to voice commands and respond with answers. However, you may not want your Google Home or Nest to be listening all the time. That’s where the mute switch comes in.

Before we get started, it’s important to understand what it means when we talk about devices like the Google Nest Mini and Nest Hub “listening.” These devices are technically “listening” all the time, but they aren’t recording you all the time.

RELATED: How (and Why) to Opt-In to Google Recording Storage

A smart speaker or display is like a dog. It may hear you whenever you talk, but it only recognizes certain commands. Google Assistant doesn’t truly start “listening” (recording) until it hears “OK Google” or “Hey Google.”

That being said, it is possible to completely stop the device from hearing you at all. Google has included physical mute switches on all Google Assistant-enabled devices. When you slide this switch, the microphones are turned off, and the device won’t listen or respond.

These mute switches can be found on the back or bottom of the devices. We’ll help you locate the switches on a few of the common Google Assistant-enabled devices.

Tip: When the switch shows orange, you know the microphone is off.
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On the Google Nest Mini/Home Mini, the switch is located on the bottom.

google nest mini mute switch
Google Nest Mini (2nd Gen)

On the Google Nest Audio, the switch is situated on the back.

Google nest audio mute switch
Google Nest Audio

On the Google Nest Hub, the switch is found on the back of the display.

Google nest hub mute switch
Google Nest Hub

To turn the microphones back on, you’ll need to manually toggle the switch on again. It may feel cumbersome to need a physical switch for this, but it’s the best way to really ensure that the microphones are off.

Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has close to a decade of experience covering consumer technology and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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