How To Turn Off & Disable Google Now
Google Now is the search engine giant’s attempt to personalize your smartphone experience by getting to know you and the way you use your phone. For some it is an essential helper that offers fast access to frequently used applications, news, sports results, traffic information, or a host of other things. For others, it is a privacy invader that has no business being on their phones.
If you’re in the latter camp, I’ll show you how to disable Google Now.
Google Now and Google Now on Tap are designed to offer added value to Android phones. They provide information based on whatever app you have open at the time. Press the Home button from within an app and a Google Now card appears at the bottom of the screen. Some people like this extra element, while others don’t.
With the news that Google Now will soon be removed from the Play Store and is gradually being phased out, now might be a good time to remove yourself from it altogether.
Disable Google Now
There are a couple of ways to disable Google Now. Much of the process depends on the type of device you have. If you use a smartphone with a manufacturer UI like TouchWiz for Samsung, Google Now won’t even be enabled unless you enabled it yourself. If you use a Nexus or Pixel phone running Marshmallow or above, then Google Now will likely be enabled by default.
For phones with a manufacturer overlay, here’s what you do:
- Select Apps and Google.
- Select the Google icon and the three menu lines in the top left.
- Select Your Feed (or Now on Tap for older Android versions).
- Toggle the setting to off in the next window.
And here is what you do for phones without a manufacturer overlay:
- Hold down your Home button to access Google Now.
- Scroll down the Google Now window until the three menu dots appear bottom right.
- Tap to access Settings and select Now on Tap.
- Toggle it to off.
After disabling, when you hold down your Home button, you should see the old version of Google Now.
Enable Google Now
If you find you’ve misjudged Google Now and simply cannot live without that extra little bit of help on your phone and still have Google Now installed, you can quickly enable it again by reversing the procedures above.
- Select Settings and Apps.
- Select Google and then the three line settings menu icon.
- Select Settings and Now on Tap (or Your Feed on newer Android versions).
- Toggle the setting to on.
If your phone has a different setup to this, check out this guide for activating Google Now. While Android does try to keep things simple, some manufacturers and older versions of Android work differently. If your menus differ from these instructions, explore your Google settings and tell us where you found it in the comments below to help other users.
Replace Google Now
With its imminent demise approaching (or if you just don’t like it) you can replace Google Now with a custom launcher if you prefer. There are a few launchers on the market, and all of them are very good at what they do. Replacing the launcher is very straightforward.
- Find a new launcher from the Google Play Store.
- Download and install the launcher on your device.
- Set the new launcher to be the default when prompted.
- Use your new launcher
There are lots of good alternative launchers but I particularly like Nova Launcher, Action Launcher 3, and Evie Launcher. Do a little research, and you can find one that’s perfect for you in no time.
Nova Launcher is one of the best-known Google Now alternatives out there right now. It is slick and fast, and it can be as simple or as complex as you like. It can completely transform the UI of your phone, including wallpaper, icons, look, and feel. Movement is smooth, response is fast, and the development team is at the top of their class.
Action Launcher 3
Action Launcher 3 is rated almost as highly as Nova Launcher. It uses a comfortable, flat design that enables fast access to your most-used apps and all the phone settings you could wish for. It is also easy to set up and configure, and it offers a number of options for the look and feel of the UI.
Evie Launcher is a newer launcher that is more simplistic than Nova Launcher, but no less enjoyable to use. The home screen is just four quick launch icons and a search bar. Swipe down to access the search function and swipe up to access the app drawer. While there is a little crossover between these swipes and notifications, it is nevertheless very easy to get to grips with.
Google Now has been a staple of Android phones for years, for good or for ill. If you prefer to live without it or are withdrawing from it while you can to avoid being left in the lurch when it’s phased out later on, now at least you know how to disable Google Now, and you can even replace it with something better.