Since its June 2012 debut, Google Now has become one of Android’s most powerful features. It became even more so in Android Marshmallow, which brought Google Now access to the lock screen, where it remains with Android Nougat.
Prior to Marshmallow, users could choose to unlock their phone or quick launch directly into the Dialer or Camera app from the lock screen. Marshmallow replaced the Dialer quick launch with the imminently more useful Google Now voice actions, which are still a part of Nougat. If you’re lucky enough to have Google Assistant on your device — that’s the Pixel and Pixel XL — these instructions apply for enabling and using that feature as well.
You can activate Google Now by placing your finger on the microphone icon at the bottom left corner of the lock screen, and swiping in any direction on the screen.
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While that method is pretty easy, you can access Google Now voice actions in Android Nougat without even touching your phone. Setting it up just takes a few steps.
1. Open Settings.
2. Tap Google.
3. Tap Search & Now.
4. Tap Voice.
5. Tap “Ok Google” detection.
6. Adjust the Always On switch. Follow the prompts to complete the “Ok Google” voice training.
7. Tap “Yes, I’m in” to turn on Trusted Voice.This step is necessary if you wish to unlock your smartphone with voice actions alone.
You will now be able to activate Google Now voice actions from any screen, including when the screen is turned off entirely, by merely saying “Ok Google.” Note that there is a security risk to allowing “Ok Google” to unlock your phone, though it is a slight one.