Google recently announced a slew of new features for its Assistant on iOS and Android which included automation and web features. However, the most notable element of the announcement was that Google Assistant will now be able to find your iPhone for you.
Not only will it be more convenient while locating your iPhone that might have been lost somewhere outside of your home, but it would also be an excellent way to find your iPhone when it’s lost somewhere in your home itself.
In this post, we’ll discuss how you can find your lost iPhone using Google Assistant on your Google Home Speaker. But before we do, let’s take a look at some other important specifics involved with the process.
Google uses Apple’s Critical Alerts notification system that bypasses Do Not Disturb and Silent Mode on your iPhone. It’s essential that Google has access to critical alerts on your iPhone without which searching for it will be ineffective.
Critical Alerts is a feature that Apple has to approve manually by reviewing the application requesting it so that a random application out of the blue can’t take undue advantage. It seems that Google has acquired approval for pushing critical alerts on iPhones owing to which Google was able to implement the “Find your phone” feature in the first place.
As to how the feature works in action is quite simple. When you speak to your Google Home device the term “Hey Google, find my iPhone,” Google Assistant will send a notification to your iPhone that will ring for about 25 seconds. You can then dismiss the notification by tapping on it.
Google Assistant vs Apple’s Find My
While Google Assistant has just recently enabled the feature allowing you to remotely find your iPhone, you are able to do that for a long time using Apple’s own Find My app. It’s much more deep-rooted into the Apple ecosystem and is also more secure, which should make it the best option for finding your iPhone in the event it’s lost.
However, if you own an iPhone and are otherwise deeply invested in the Google ecosystem, this new Google Assistant feature should fit right in. But it does have privacy implications.
When I first tried setting up the feature on my Google Home device, Google asked me to match my voice to ensure that it’s me that’s querying my lost iPhone and then forced me to enable Personal Results—which encapsulates other data that isn’t required for finding an iPhone—without which the feature wouldn’t work at all.
Even setting up the feature was somewhat difficult as I had to navigate multiple confusing menu items within the Google Home app. Despite that, I was only able to enable the Find my phone feature after Googling about it.
Apple’s Find My, on the other hand, is objectively simple. Since it’s deeply integrated with your iPhone, it does not have to jump hoops to gain the ability to find your iPhone.
One of the major issues I faced with Google Assistant is that I couldn’t find the setting to enable notifications, which is important for the feature to work in the first place. It was hidden behind vaguely termed menu items. Since Find My works natively on your iPhone, you don’t need to specifically turn on notifications for it.
Nevertheless, I don’t blame Google for this shortcoming. Sure, it could’ve made navigating the Google Home app much easier, but I’m absolutely certain that the Find my phone feature would work better with an Android phone due to the seamless integration with its other services.
On Android, Google Assistant is at home. On iPhones, it’s a Lone Ranger.
How to enable the settings required for Google Assistant to find your iPhone
In order to enable Google Assistant’s Find my phone feature on your iPhone, you need to enable a couple of settings within the Google Home app.
Ensure that your iPhone is connected to your Google Smart Home device
First off, download the Google Home app on your iPhone if it isn’t already. Once you’ve downloaded the app, ensure that the Google Home Device is connected to your iPhone. If not, follow the steps in-app to do that.
Turn on Notifications and Critical Alerts
Open the Google Home app.
Tap Settings –Notifications.
If you have the option, tap Turn on Notifications – Go to settings. This will take you to the Google Home screen in your iPhone’s Settings app.
If you don’t have the option to turn on notifications, then they’re already turned on.
Tap Notifications– turn on “Allow Notifications.”
Go back to the Google Home app for the setting to take effect.
To turn on Critical alerts, from the home screen, tap Settings– Notifications – General notifications – turn on Critical alerts.
Set up Voice Match
Voice Match is apparently required for Google Assistant to find your iPhone. Using Voice Match, Google Assistant smartly recognizes your voice and knows which iPhone you want to find. It’s a pretty neat feature.