Google app for iPhone doesn’t get enough credit. No, it will suddenly turn your iPhone into an Android flagship, but it will be gives you instant access to some of the Google features that make Android flagships so great, and you can tweak your settings to make your Apple phone work more like software running Alphabet.
There is at least one good reason to do so: Google Assistant. Google Assistant is simply better than Siri in almost every way imaginable (the only exception being when performing Apple-only OS-related tasks, like FaceTiming someone or setting an alarm).
In fact, with an accessibility feature (and the standalone Google Assistant app), you can summon Google Assistant with just a tap on the back of your iPhone. But we are getting ahead.
Your gateway to the Google experience
If you already use Google Chrome on your iPhone or Mac, the Google app will look familiar. Once logged in, you will see your Discovery feed in the foreground. You can scroll through recommended articles, and when you tap on something, it will open in the built-in tabbed browser, which enhances the reading experience.
But it’s what’s at the top of the app that matters: the Google search bar and the microphone button. You can quickly search anything on Google and open the results in the tabbed browser (you can then tap the To share button to open it in any browser or application you want). And just press the Microphone button to start a voice search, or invoke Google Assistant.
Here you can ask Google Assistant any question (it even has a dedicated button to identify a song playing in a browser tab; no need to open the Shazam app). The results will open directly in Google search and you will also get an audio response.
Scan QR codes, find items and translate text using Google Lens
The iPhone has a QR code reader built into the Camera app, but it’s pretty limited. For example, it cannot scan QR codes from images or screenshots, but the Google app can. It can also translate text and provide live search results for items you center in your viewfinder, and it’s all done from the Google Lens feature.
At the top of the Google app, tap the Camera and point your phone at what you are looking for. You can press and hold text to translate it, and you can also quickly open QR codes.
Speed things up by using the Google app home screen widget
If you use the Google app often, you should add the Google widget to your first home screen. This can be a great way to quickly launch the Lens feature, or just a simple Google search. To do this, press and hold the empty part of the iPhone home screen, then press the More button in the upper left corner. Then find the “Google“, choose the widget you want and place it in the desired location.
Summon Google Assistant by pressing the back of your iPhone
Having access to Google Assistant in the Google app is great, but you can summon this reliable AI from anywhere using iOS’ Back Tap feature. This feature isn’t available in the Google app itself: you’ll need to download the standalone Google Assistant app (setup is simple and there’s a one-click sign-in option if you’re already using the Google app). After installing the app, use voice search once to enable access to the microphone and the Shortcuts app.
Next, create a simple shortcut. Open the Shortcuts app and press the More from the top to create a new shortcut. Press the “Add action“, then find and add the “Hey Google” action. Then disable the “Show at runtime” characteristic.
Go to Settings > Accessibility > To touch > Press return. Here, either choose the “Tap twice” Where “Triple tap” option depending on your preferences. Scroll down to the Shortcuts section and choose the “Hey Google” shortcut.
Now when you double or triple tap the back of the iPhone, the Google Assistant app will open directly, with the microphone ready to use.