Google Meet brings Companion Mode to mobile devices

A press image of Companion Mode in Google Meet.
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Companion Mode is a Google Meet feature that allows in-person meeting attendees to have the same controls as virtual guests.
  • Google first brought Companion Mode to the web and Nest Hub Max, but is now bringing the feature to mobile devices starting today.
  • iOS and Android users will have access to Companion Mode with recent versions of the Meet and Gmail apps.

Starting this week, Google is bringing Companion Mode to iOS and Android after the feature was previously exclusive to the Nest Hub Max and a web client. Companion Mode is designed to help in-person participants use virtual tools in hybrid meetings. 

The feature is intended to be used in large, hybrid meeting situations. These types of setups often include enterprise meeting room hardware, which takes care of things like audio and video for the entire room. However, this hardware doesn't give in-person attendees access to virtual meeting features like reactions, messages, or hand raising.

Companion Mode on mobile devices brings all these features and more to in-person meeting attendees while using Google Meet. Aside from the aforementioned features, Companion Mode offers captions and subtitles for speakers and the ability to zoom in on viewable content.

To use Companion Mode, users can click a new Use Companion Mode button found in the pre-join screen. When you select this option, user audio and video will automatically be muted. Google recommends using meeting room hardware to avoid audio feedback caused by multiple active mics in a room. 

The company says that Companion Mode on mobile makes sense in spaces where using the feature on a laptop would be inconvenient. 

The feature is rolling out now to both Google Workspace users and personal Google Account owners. However, depending on the release schedule of your school or work's Google Workspace platform, it could take weeks for Companion Mode to become available. 

Rapid-release domains will start to see the feature on Monday (Feb. 12), but it could take up to 15 days for a full rollout. Schedule release domains won't be able to access Companion Mode until Feb. 27 at the earliest and could have to wait up to 15 more days after that. 

On iOS, you'll need version 229 of Google Meet or version 2024.01.28 of Gmail or newer. On Android, version 225.0 of Google Meet or version 6.0.231231 of Google Meet or newer.

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.