What Is Google Assistant ‘Ambient Mode’ (And Do You Need It?)

Our smartphones can display tons of information and provide helpful shortcuts even when they’re locked, and Google Assistant’s Ambient Mode is worth trying out. It allows you to use several of your phone’s best features without having to unlock it, saving you precious time and the annoyance of fumbling around with your finger to authenticate into your device.

Ambient Mode is basically an enhanced lock screen that appears when your phone is charging. It displays current weather conditions, upcoming alarms, and calendar events. You can also control music playback, use the Google Assistant, or control other smart devices synced to your phone without having to unlock your device. Set up a screensaver of-sorts by launching a slideshow of images saved on Google Photos, or view any time or push notifications you’ve received.

Ambient mode is already available on several other devices from Lenovo, Nokia, Sony, Transsion, and Xiaomi devices that run Android Oreo or higher. OnePlus also recently announced the feature would be rolling out to OnePlus devices—including the OnePlus 3 and all newer models—so now’s a good a time as any to familiarise yourself with Ambient Mode’s setup process. (It’s easy.)

How to use Google Assistant’s Ambient Mode on Android

  1. Open the Google app on your phone. It’s usually pre-installed on Android devices, but you can grab it from the Play Store if you don’t have it.

  2. Launch the app, and then tap “More.” Go to Settings > Google Assistant, and then tap on the “Assistant” tab and scroll down to Phone. Scroll down again to the “Personalisation” section and look for an “Ambient Mode” option.

  3. Once the Ambient Mode setting is turned on, all you have to do is your device then plug in a charging cable. The Google App’s ambient screen should automatically pop up over your lock screen and you can access the various shortcuts, photo slideshows, and other information without having to unlock your phone.


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