iPhone owners who have kitted out their homes with Google Nest smart speakers have been missing out of one of the gadget’s best features – until now. While Android fans have been able to ask the chatty AI assistant to find their misplaced handset for some time, iPhone owners have had to resort to the good old-fashioned search method and start taking apart the sofa, moving that pile of unopened letters, digging through drawers…
Thankfully, Google will soon be able to save you a lot of time hunting around your home for a mislaid iPhone. That’s because Google Assistant, the chirpy handsfree voice assistant that powers the Google Nest smart speaker and smart display range, can now help find iOS devices as well as those running Android.
Asking your nearest Google Nest speaker to find your iPhone will trigger a cheerful tune from your handset – to help you quickly track it down. The cheery tune will play even if you’ve left your iPhone on Do Not Disturb mode or similar. So, that makes the feature even more useful than asking a friend or partner to ring your mislaid phone.
Google is currently rolling out this handy solution to Google Nest owners in the UK, United States, and Australia.
If you’re the sort of forgetful iPhone owner who needs this feature up-and-running on their smart home kit, there is a bit of set-up. First up, you’ll need to add your mobile number to your Google Account. If you’re juggling between multiple Google Accounts, you’ll need to add the phone number to the one you’re using with your Google Nest smart speakers and smart displays.
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Next up, you need to make sure you’ve got Voice Match enabled. This allows the Google Assistant to recognise your voice and distinguish it from anyone else in your home. This is important as when you’re asking the Google Assistant to find your phone, the AI assistant needs to know who you are – and which one is your phone.
And then, next time you reach for your iPhone and don’t find it in your pocket as expected – you can rely on the Google Assistant to help you track it down.
As always, you’ll need to use the wake phrases “OK, Google” or “Hey Google,” which essentially act as the Power Button for the smart speaker. It tells the gadgets to prick up their ears and take note of your command. Asking to either “Find My iPhone” or “Where’s my iPhone?” will kickstart the feature. And if you own an Android device instead of an iPhone, you can ask “where’s my phone?” or “find my phone” to unlock the same feature.
It’s great to see Google bringing this feature to iPhone owners. If you have Amazon Echo smart speakers at home rather than Google Home, you’ll need to download a Skill (what Amazon calls apps for its AI assistant Alexa) called Find My Phone, which enables the feature. However, unlike Google, this Alexa Skill makes a call over the phone network. So, you’ll need to make sure your iPhone is not on silent mode if you ever want to actually find it.