Using Google Assistant on cheap wired headphones was, unexpectedly, quite a pleasant experience. Moving to a new phone that lacks a headphone jack led to a swift acquisition of TWS Bluetooth earbuds and that Assistant experience sadly changed for the worse. It works but it’s not as convenient or fast. Nowadays, some even have it worse because, for some, Google Assistant is not working with a Bluetooth headset at all. And most, even the most affordable TWS or wireless headphone options have a dedicated touch control to trigger the Assistant. With all that said, there are a few ways to make Google Assistant work with Bluetooth headphones or earbuds. And we suggest you give them a try.
Table of contents:
- Enable Allow Bluetooth requests with device locked
- Disable Bluetooth audio recording
- Clear defaults for other digital assistants
- Clear the app data from Google App
- Keep the Assistant running in the background
How to use Google Assistant with Bluetooth headphones or earbuds
If you can’t trigger Google Assistant with Bluetooh headphones or earbuds, make sure to enable Allow Bluetooth requests with device locked and disable Bluetooth audio recording. Also, clear defaults if Bixby is giving you a hard time, reset Google App, and ensure that Assistant is working in the backround at all time.
1. Enable Allow Bluetooth requests with device locked
The first thing to do in this scenario is to ensure that the “Allow Bluetooth requests with device locked” option is enabled. Otherwise, you won’t be able to trigger Google Assistant with touch commands or with Hey, Google hotword. Now, the thing with this option is that it can be all over the place. For some reason, the well-known location under Settings > Google is no longer offering the same settings on some Android skins, so you might need to look elsewhere.
So, you can check for it in the old place, by following these steps:
- Open Settings.
- Select Google.
- Choose Search, Assistant & Voice.
- Select Voice and you should see the “Allow Bluetooth requests with device locked” at the bottom.
Alternatively, you can navigate to Settings > Apps > Default apps > Digital Assistant app. Once there, tap on the cog icon to open Settings. You should see “Allow Bluetooth requests with device locked”. Enable the option and try again.
2. Disable Bluetooth audio recording
In the same menu, you should disable Bluetooth audio recording. By design, this option shouldn’t affect your commands to Google Assistant. However, it seems that it does for some users and the commands are not going through to the phone.
So, wherever you found the previous option we suggested enabling, you should find Bluetooth audio recording. Disable it and check if Google Assistant still won’t work on your Bluetooth headset.
3. Clear defaults for other digital assistants
Having a Pixel device with headphones/earbuds that come with a built-in Assistant reduces your chances of experiencing problems like this. But, if that was the main point for most regular users, Pixels would be sold globally and not just in a few regions. In comparison, Samsung does make good and capable phones that are globally sold but, in this case, the mere presence of Bixby can cause issues with the Assistant. And removing or disabling Bixby so you can use Assistant to the fullest is not exactly simple.
So, first, you need to make sure that Google is the default assistant app. After that, you have to clear defaults for Bixby so, the next time you use touch commands to call on Assistant, you can choose Google. Hopefully, that will be enough for it to work.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Open Settings > Apps > Default apps and then Digital assistant app.
- Set Google as the default service provider.
- Now, while in Apps, open Bixby.
- Tap Set as default and then Clear defaults.
- Finally, connect your Bluetooth headset and use the touch sequence to trigger Assistant.
- The pop-up at the bottom should give you options to run it either with Bixby or Google.
- Choose Google.
4. Clear the app data from Google App
The nature of the Google App is that it’s a hub of a few services, including Google Assistant. The worst part about that? Google App tends to collect a lot of data and store it locally. Which, over time, can lead to issues and Google Assistant is not immune to those, as well. With that in mind, we suggest resetting the Google App and setting up Google Assistant again. Luckily, most settings are cloud-based and the setup is more or less a presentation of vast permissions you need to grant in order for the Assistant to work.
Here’s how to clear app data from Google App on Android:
- Open Settings.
- Select Apps.
- Open Google from the list of installed apps.
- Tap Storage.
- Choose Manage storage.
- Clear all data and restart your device.
- Trigger the Assistant to start the setup.
Alternatively, you can navigate to Play Store, locate Google, and uninstall updates from the app. Once you update it again, check if Google Assistant is still not working with the Bluetooth headset.
5. Keep the Assistant running in the background
Finally, if none of the steps we recommended solved your problem, there’s still one thing you can do. Or rather two things. The first one is to disable Battery optimization for Google App. The second one is to trigger Google Assistant on your device and lock it in RAM so your phone doesn’t prevent from working in the background. You don’t have to keep it at all times — do it only when using a Bluetooth headset.
To disable Battery optimization for Google App (and, as an extension, to Google Assistant), navigate again to Settings > Apps > Google. Choose Battery and disable battery optimization or set the optimization level to Unrestricted.
After that, just trigger Google Assistant on your phone (with hotword or gestures) and ask it anything. Then go back Home and open Tasks or Recents. Whatever you call the screen with currently-opened apps. Tap on the icon above the Assistant (Google App icon) and choose Lock this app. This will keep the Assistant in the background at all times.
And, on that note, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and feel free to share your thoughts, questions, or suggestions with us in the comments section below. Your feedback is more than welcome.
The instructions above apply to this with a few added steps. First, navigate to Assistant Settings and, under Hey Google & Voice Match, enable Hey Google. With that and recommended solutions from above, you should make it work.
Sadly, you can't use Google Assistant by default on iOS. You might consider using Shortcuts to create tasks and automatize triggers so a touch control can trigger Google Assistant instead of Siri.