Google is an innovative industry leader in software development but they tend to push certain features, make them mandatory, and wait until the public gets used to them (so they can abruptly kill them off). One example is the visual search engine called Google Lens which is a big part of Google Search. Some people use it regularly to search for products, translate, grab text from images, or just cheat on their homework.
However, some people don’t use it and they would prefer if Google Lens’ presence were optional. The biggest example is the Google Search bar where you can find a mic for voice search and, right next to it, Google Lens. We looked into it and provided a few ways to remove Google Lens from the Google Search bar on Home Screen or in Google Chrome. Check them out below.
How to get rid of Google Lens?
Unless your device is rooted, there are only two ways to rid of Google Lens on the Google Search bar. You can either ditch Google completely (not ideal) or use a third-party launcher where you can choose how the Search bar looks. On the other hand, removing Lens from Google Chrome’s Omnibox/Search bar can be done through experimental features.
Of course, on non-Pixel phones, where the Google Search bar is just a widget, you can delete it and use a third-party app to replicate the bar. The Search bar is persistent on Pixels and a few other stock Android devices.
1. Disable the Google App
We are going to leave this here but this is, truth to be told, not exactly a solution. It’s more of a wipeout approach if you just can’t stand Lens. Or Google. Namely, you can uninstall the Google Lens app downloaded from Play Store but that’s just a shortcut and nothing more. So, to get rid of it completely, you’ll need to remove the Google app: uninstall or disable it.
We are well aware that this won’t be good enough for most users but it is technically a solution. Even if services like Google Discover, Google Assistant, and more won’t available anymore. So, navigate to Settings > Apps > Google and disable the app. Some suggest removing the Camera permission but, realistically, that changes nothing as the icon will still be there.
2. Remove Google Lens from the browser with flags
Now, when it comes to Chrome, there’s a proven way to disable Google Lens from the Google Search bar present on the home page. All you need to do is navigate to Chrome Flags (Experimental features) and disable an entry related to Google Lens presence on Omnibox and New tabs.
Here’s how to disable Google Lens in Chrome:
- Open Chrome.
- In the search bar (Omnibox), type chrome://flags and open the page.
- Once there, search for Lens.
- Locate Google Lens in Omnibox and New Tab Page. It should be set to Default.
- Change the value to Disabled and re-launch Google Chrome. If you don’t see any changes, make sure to force close Chrome and open it again.
- Also, if you like image search instead of Google Lens in context menus, disable the Google Lens Powered Image Search in the context menu experimental feature.
If you’re keen to completely exterminate Lens in Chrome, you can disable other entries in chrome Flags related to Google Lens.
3. Use a third-party launcher to remove the stock Google Search bar
If you are bothered by the Lens icon in the persistent Google Search bar on the Home Screen but need the bar and other Google features, you can use a custom launcher. The closest thing to the Pixel launcher is Lawnchair (Lawnchair on Play Store) or you can use Nova that’s more feature-rich (Nova Launcher on Play Store). We just recommend these two, but you can choose the third option, something that’s more to your liking.
Both launchers are completely free, although Nova locks some features behind the paywall (worth the price, in my honest opinion). After you download and change the default launcher, you can tap and hold on to the Home Screen and open Settings. Somewhere in there should be an option to add the Google Search bar. You can customize the bar and remove the Lens icon completely.
And, with that said, we can wrap it up. Thank you for reading and we hope we helped you find what you were looking for. Don’t forget to tell us about alternative ways to disable Google Lens in the comments section below.
Editor’s note: This article was initially published in July 2022. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.
You can just uninstall Google Lens as the app is serving as a shortcut. Find it in Play Store and uninstall it. However, to remove Google Lens completely, you have to remove the Google app which isn't what most users are looking for.
You can't, just like on Android. But, you can choose a different Google Search widget that has just a text search.