Google Now settings

Google Now on your home screen is a good thing — but you can turn it off if you wish

It was a couple years ago when some seer of an Android editor predicted that we'd one day find Google Now serving as our home screen. And in Android 4.4 KitKat, that has come true. Google Now is on the far left home screen. It's not just a widget. It's not some separate app. It is, for all intents an purposes, an integral part of the launcher and is a home screen.

But what if you want to get Google Now off your home screen?

There are a couple ways to do it — and one of them is going to cost you a fair amount of functionality.

How to turn off Google Now in Android 4.4 KitKat

Consider this the nuclear option. If you don't want Google Now serving as a home screen, you can simply turn it off in its entirety. To do so, scroll to the very bottom of Google Now, then tap the overflow button. (It looks like three dots.) Then tap Settings. Now you can turn off Google Now.

Of course, that means no Google Now at all. Even if you try to open the old way — pull up from the Home button — you'll just open Search, and not Google Now. It's gone.

(To turn Google Now back on, long press on the home screen, then choose Settings.)

Your other option is to download another launcher from Google Play — one that also lets you pull up from the Home button to launch Google Now. Then you'll have the best of both worlds.

 

Reader comments

How to get Google Now off your Android 4.4 KitKat home screen

81 Comments

I haven't been to interested in trying out Google Now up until this point, but with Kit Kat, I will give it a shot.

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Your missing out, i'm someone with a long commute to work and i love checking google now before i go as it will tell me the quickest way home and where the traffic is, and suggest alternative routes, all without me even having to ask for it.

Do you like sports, stocks, breaking news, weather, TV shows or games you may interested in based on YouTube videos you've watched in the past? How about knowing the shipping status of things you've ordered online?

There are plenty of useful aspects of Google Now.

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The only two of those I'm interested in are breaking news and shipping status. I have RSS for the former, and don't use Gmail, so the latter doesn't work.

Hence, Google Now is all but useless to me.

Commenting is for expressing one's opinion, He has his. Stay on topic rather than attacking one's opinion. Sorry even I'm wasting space here.

I can do all those things "On demand" (and with greater accuracy) via apps or by just visiting a website. And I don't have to give up any more of my privacy by giving Google access to my location and web histories for them to try to learn and predict what I want/need. For MY use, I don't need or want a "personal assistant" of the likes of Google Now. I do fine on my own thank you very much. :)

I am primarily an iOS user, but I do use some Android devices, and trust me, Google Now is pretty awesome. Please try it.

Weird that the would mix Google now and the home screen into one app... It enables a lot of cool features, but makes me wonder if, say, you didn't want to use the Google experience launcher... How would Google now work? If you used action launcher instead, would it mean the entire gel launcher would always be to the right when you bring Google now up? Please someone do a video on this.

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It's just another way to access Google Now surely. The app still works by itself I'd imagine

because I can

It would just work how it works in Jellybean, IE you swipe upwards to bring up google now, or tap the search bar at the top, or select the google search in the app draw.

Can I leave GPS on and /not/ let Google now use it? My battery stats never showed excessive GPS use while Google now was running.

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Umm the fact that I get 20–25% more battery life with it off is proof enough for myself. Battery stats does not report any extra GPS usage. Maybe it's the fact that I am on the RAZR HD which is barely a smartphone. A year old phone using a year and a half old OS (cuz that makes sense).

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I use it, but would have preferred to be able to turn on off the home screen option without turing off Google Now. I will wait to try it out before deciding if I like it or not.

I like Google Now and will probably use it, but I agree with you. This would have been a better implementation.

To be fair, to be able to have that is just run a different launcher like nova or somthing, and then you can have your cake and eat it

Google Now is awesome! I have no idea why anyone would want to turn it off (generally, not home screen specific)? Just my opinion, I recognize.

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I presume you're in the US. In the rest of the world it's a weather app, and not even a particularly accurate one.

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That's what I was trying to get at in the other article about Google Now. I also found it used more battery as I live in a poor signal area so it was trying to pull data/locate cell tower a lot. GPS was also used and indoors the signal isn't an option.

Of course, I was pooh-poohed as I was obviously wrong. Good to know that others find it less than useful if not in a 'Google City/State'.

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It's funny, I keep hearing the battery drain claims, yet I've yet to see any evidence.

Weird.

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Hmm, well actually in the ROTW it is not just a weather map. In Thailand - which I assume is not a major market for Google - it works well. The other day, passing a cinema, it prompted me with movie times (which were surprisingly accurate) and it gives me 'time to home' and 'time to interesting place' also along with football scores I like to stay in tough with. We also have Street View and Navigation support too now from Google, although that's off topic :)

I live in Scotland and I had the same kind of experience, very little useful data and what little it could pull was neither accurate or useful so I turned it off after a couple of months.

I'm a pull rather than a push kind of a guy, possibly due to the fact I grew up before the UK had 24 hour TV. If I want information I'll ask for it otherwise I want my phone to leave me alone.

I turned it off after two months...It tells me the weather and how long it takes me to get to work and that's about all. (which I already since I drive there 5 days a week) It asks me if I care how long it takes me to get to Dunkin Donuts and will randomly ask me abt places I don't care about. I get nothing out of it others may but I don't really see what.

I've never had Google Now on, so it's not a loss for me either way, but I do like the idea of having it as it's own left homescreen.

Great companian... Love the traffic cards and. Y team scores it brings up

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The excellent thing about it is that now you can unlock your phone by going to Google Now (Home button drag up) and then swipe left to get to your home screen. Beautiful.

Your average idiot that believes their privacy is at risk...

Acting like you are too private to share your usage info with an app insinuates that you are important. Believe me, you are not.

Nobody cares about anything you do online, 99.99% of us have absolutely nothing to hide. I laugh all day at how people think that someone actually wants to know what they're doing and saying. If someone wants to waste their time and money finding out what I do online, be my guest, you will be bored.

Give me a break people... A break of that KitKat ;)

The only thing I would want to turn off is the forced voice search when the mic button is pushed on my headset. Google Now is awesome, but ever since I have had it on my phone and use my Bose ear buds I am unable to use Jay's Headset controls with Power Amp. Frustrating when my phone is in my backpack while running.

Does anyone know how to disable it?

"It's also possible to disable the Google Now pane entirely through the new home settings menu, accessed by long-pressing on any blank space." -Alex Dobie, yesterday.
Who do we believe? I'm so confused!

Seriously though I'll probably just use holo launcher when 4.4 comes to the N4.

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i turned off Google Now on my phone. i find it intrusive and "noisy". i don't want my device throwing cards at me at random times. especially info which is old, redundant, or i don't need anymore - such as - anything that you searched for but changed your mind on later. it's annoying.

i'm sure over time it will get better and get more precise, more perfected. but the cards just really annoyed me in general. the type of information it was giving me i like to go get "on demand" rather than thrown at me randomly at random times. i don't like the unpredictability of when i was getting that information. i like full control. in addition, the battery drain was significant.

It's not that noisy.. If you don't swipe it onto the screen you might never know it was there.. Now if it actually popped up cards without asking.. That'd piss me off.

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Yea that's the feeling I have on it. I think it would be more annoying than anything. When it becomes really advanced in the coming years sure.

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I just don't like that it appears as a page on the home screen, like an extra for at the bottom. Really stupid that you can't just take it off the home screen without disabling it completely

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When I downloaded the APK for Kit Kat on my HTC One I only show three icons in the dock. I don't show the blue phone/dialer iconi am seeing everywhere. How and where can I get this ??

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Is there a way to disable the swipe up gesture? It is really annoying to accidentally trigger it so I disabled google search on my GNex which stops the swipe gesture but if I'm hearing correctly Google search is now basically required for the launcher to work so disabling it is no longer an option (unless I use a 3rd party launcher perhaps).

Anyone else a little annoyed with how hard google is pushing google search/google now with kitkat. Having 4 independent ways to launch google now/google search from the home screen seems excessive. I know that Google is a business but I don't want to start feeling like I'm using a Kindle Fire.

Hey Phil, what did you use to create this video, is it an app. I have to make some videos for people at my work for the note 2 showing how to set up mail and other basic functions. Thank you in advance.

I am sure within a week, Nova Launcher will update to match the new launcher in Kit Kat, but give the option to remove Now from the home screen and access it the way we have been used to. Love Nova. Gives us the stock feel, but allows for small tweaks like that if desired :-)

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I hope so. I'm one of the weirdos who WANT to swipe to the left for Google Now. I'd love to get rid of the widget. I won't be getting KitKat for '90' days though.

Eventually most people are going to be forced to use a 3rd party firmware to get away from everything Google is trying to force on us.

That's the beauty of Android. Choices. Now imagine if you had an iPhone instead.

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Those of us HTC One users who don't like Blinkfeed are adjust used to ignoring the left home screen of we want sick launcher. Not a big change.

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I'm backing up the stock launcher now then and will reinstall the apk if it works if I don't like the Google Now home screen.

It won't be useful on my Nexus 7, being Canadian it's not that useful at all. Like other users said, it's just inaccurate weather. And driving times that I already know on my own with no alternate routes, and sports scores. Not worth taking up an entire home screen.

I like Google Now and all, but I honestly don't want it as part of my launcher. I'd be very disappointed if even newer version of NovaLauncher forces me to have Google Now as part of my launcher. I like the pull up from home button idea instead.

I don't like Google now so I'll shut it off but even if I loved it I would turn it off for removing my left home screens. I use them now and don't want to swipe 6 times to the right to reach a home screen I would have had in 3 swipes before. I wouldn't even want my favorite app taking that prime home screen space.

It's kind of funny when this was announced we were quickly informed if we didn't like it we could turn it off but now it turns out you need to use a different launcher entirely if you actually like google now. Yet another instance of Google telling us how to use our phones.

Having Google Now on the home screen is actually pretty useful I've found honestly. There's no real reason to disable it I think, unless you really miss having your center screen as your home screen but even then unless you use more than 3 screens this change should be an easy one to get use to.

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I tried it out and I do REALLY miss having my center screen as my home screen. I have all 5 of my home screens filled and always have. I hate using custom launchers, so now my options are to use a custom launcher (which I've never liked), stop using widgets almost entirely and use just 1 or 2 home screens (which I would hate), or completely redesign my home screen setup, which has largely gone unchanged for a couple years now (it's organized, and I like it!), and get used to a lot more swiping.

I'm cool with Google Now being on the far left, and even having the option of more than 5 home screens, but give me back my center screen option! For the first time, I may not actually upgrade to a new Android version until they update it again and fix the home screens, or at least give the option to set a default one.

It's honestly pissing me off.

The one time I tried Google Now, I asked it what time a football game was going to start the next day. Instead it gave me a score two months old.
I reworded the question and said the date instead of tomorrow and got the same answer.
Google Now uninstalled.

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Google Now is the last thing I want to remove from any of my devices and I welcome it to my leftmost homescreen

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I like Google Now and use it frequently but don't really want it as one of my home screens, they really need to give an option to turn off the home screen but still use the swipe up. I"m not sure I want to use another launcher either...come on Google!

I've just upgraded to a Nexus 5 running KitKat, and I have to say I find the 'Google Now as home screen' thing awkward. When trying to swipe to a different home screen it's very easy to accidentally remove cards instead. I have to swipe across the top of the screen just for the Google Now screen, or press the home button again to get back to my default screen.
It doesn't behave like a regular home screen, so I think it should be integrated into the UI in some other way.