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How to link and unlink smart device services from the Google Home app

The Google Home app (opens in new tab) does more than setting up the Google Home itself. You use it to set up Chromecast devices and smart "things" in your homes, like Hue lights or a Nest. Because you can use the app for so many different things, there is a good chance that eventually you'll need to unlink one of them from your Google account. At the beginning of September, Google sent out an update for voice control on some of those smart devices which also requires you unlink them to update everything.

More: These products and services work with Google Home

Linking and unlinking a device service from Google Home isn't difficult, but it's certainly not the most intuitive process you'll come across. We can make it a little easier.

Linking a device

  • Open the Google Home app, and tap the Menu in the top left corner of your screen.
  • If you have more than one Google account on your phone, check to make sure you're using the right one.
  • Scroll halfway down the page and tap the entry marked More settings.
  • Tap the entry in the list that says Home Control.
  • Make sure you're on the Devices tab and not the Rooms tab. They are labeled at the top of your screen.
  • Tap the blue button with the + to add and link a device.
  • Choose your device from the list.
  • Follow the instructions that open from your device manufacturer.
  • When the pairing is complete, click Done in the upper right.
  • Set a name for the device.
  • Assign it to a room.

A word or two on naming and room assignment. You'll be prompted to give your device a nickname, and the name you choose is what you'll be calling it if it uses voice commands. Try to make it an easy one or two syllable name that you'll remember. It doesn't have to have the same name your manufacturer assigned it or the name you chose during the manufacturer's setup.

Room assignment is important when you're using voice to control the things in your house. You might have a Chromecast, some Hue lights, and a smart thermostat in your living room, and have another Chromecast and smart lamp setup in the bedroom. Assigning a room means you can say "Dim the lights in the bedroom" or "Play the Beatles in the living room" and Google Home will do the rest. If you don't tell it where your stuff is, you'll have to remember the device names each and every time.

Unlinking a device

  • Open the Google Home app, and tap the Menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  • If you have more than one Google account on your phone, check to make sure you're using the right one.
  • Scroll halfway down the page and tap the entry marked More settings.
  • Tap the entry in the list that says Home Control.
  • Make sure you're on the Devices tab and not the Rooms tab. They are labeled at the top of your screen.
  • Tap the blue button with the + in it.
  • You'll see the same list of devices as you did when you linked one. Your linked devices are at the top of the list labeled Linked services
  • Find the device you want to unlink and tap it.
  • Tap the label marked Unlink account in the window that opens.
  • Confirm your choice

This process removes the permissions the manufacturer had to access your Google account. That means the service itself is removed, but if any data is stored on the device will remain. Follow the instructions from your manufacturer if you need to wipe a device clean so somebody else can use it.

Your account with the manufacturer will also remain in place. You can keep the account in case you need it again or delete it according to the manufacturer's instructions.

All finished!

You'll notice this is very different from the process used to add a Google Home or Chromecast device. You won't need to do this very often, but when you do you'll have all the directions in one place to get you started!

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

13 Comments
  • Hey Jerry this is a great walk through because it is actually a little confusing how to do this stuff in the app. I will say that you are missing a step because you need to click home control after more setting or just click it them the main menu screen and then it puts you into the devices tab. Also maybe add a section in here about linking things like the harmony remotes because it is even more convoluted. You need to go through the explore tab and Google Assistant to set it up... Not easy at all.
  • Derp. Good catch! Thanks And yeah, adding a Harmony is goofy. Great idea.
  • No worries man happy to help! 👊
  • I've always thought that pressing the "+" button to remove a device is not intuitive. I don't know why apps do it. Why not just add "-" button next to th "+" button and then have some red "x" appear next to the devices that you can press to delete, and then get the same deletion confirmation box....
  • Yep. The UI isn't friendly or intuitive at all here. I know it's not something people need to do very often, but still.
  • I don't understand why we have to "unlink" accts. to do an upgrade. Why can't they just push an upgrade thru without all the extra work? I see the chance of screwing things up and not be able to relink accts. rendering the Google Home unit almost useless.
  • This is the most ridiculous user interface ever. How is unlinking a device under the "+". Cant I just long press on it, or see it under the options for that device? On top of them, why would they require me to unlink and readd it myself to do an update. Thanks you for the guide though! Was driving me crazy.
  • How do you get it to refresh? I added 19 devices when i first set it up but I've added more since then and they are not showing up. Neither are renamed devices which leads me to believe the connection is some sort of snapshot instead of an ongoing handshake or check-in. The device is on my Wink hub 2 and totally works with my Echo's. Thanks
  • I would like to know an answer to this also, can't believe this is not an issue for more people...!!! I have 8 devices all from the same "Linked Service" each time I add another device I have to delete and re add from scratch its a real pain! and set to be a bigger pain as I have just ordered another 8 devices...!!!
  • Same issue for me. Have you figured it out yet?
  • Ok. I just finished with Google Home support chat. You simply say "Hey Google, sync my devices" ... or "Ok Google, sync my devices". I tried this after I just added a new Smart Life AC outlet switch and when I bring up my device list in google home it correctly tells me there is 1 device that isn't in a room yet and allows me to assign the room. This is WAY BETTER than unlinking / re-linking and having to name and assign rooms all over again.
  • Thank you, you just saved me from a divorce. Being old and hooking up google mini with extra outlets is not a fun way to pass the time.
  • Wow.. that is great! Thanks Google for making it so easy! Thanks again Google for being a company that prides itself on providing Information to the world but cant provide easy to find instructions for its own products.
    I have had to remove and add again my smartlife app twice because i could not find anyway else to add additional items. (and why is there not a simple button in the home app anyway ????) I dont care how much better Google assistant is, Google will not win the Smart Speaker wars without providing good UI's and instructions.