Google Assistant's Ambient Mode: What It Is and How to Use It

Turn your Android phone into a smart display

Google Assistant Ambient Mode adds smart display functionality to your Android lock screen when your device is charging. Learn more about what Ambient Mode is and how to enable it for Android.

Android Ambient Mode is available for Google Pixel phones as well as some Nokia, Xiaomi, and OnePlus (OnePlus 3 or later) phones.

What Is Google Assistant Ambient Mode?

In Ambient Mode, your Android phone displays extra information like the weather, your calendar, and incoming notifications while it's plugged into the charger. That way, you can use Google Assistant, control audio playback, and even manage other synced devices all without unlocking your phone. You can also set up a slideshow screensaver using your Google Photos.

Ambient Mode effectively transforms your phone into a smart display like the Google Nest Hub Max when it's charging. If you have connected smart devices, you can turn off the lights, check your home security cameras, and more using voice commands or the touch display.

How Do I Enable Ambient Mode in Google Assistant?

If you have a new phone and it supports Ambient Mode, you'll see a notification when you plug in the device. Tap the notification to go directly to your phone's settings and enable Ambient Mode. If you don't see the notification, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google app. It should already be on your phone, but if you can't find it, download it from the Play Store.

  2. Tap More.

  3. Tap Settings.

    Google app, More, and Settings highlighted in Google app
  4. Tap Google Assistant.

  5. Go to the Assistant tab, then scroll down and tap Phone.

  6. In the Personalization section, tap Ambient Mode to enable it.

    Google Assistant, Phone, and Ambient Mode highlighted in Google app

    If you do not see Ambient Mode listed as an option, then your phone doesn't support this feature.

  7. Follow the on-screen instructions to personalize Ambient Mode. For example, you can choose to play a slideshow screensaver from your Google Photos when not in use.

  8. Plug your phone into the charger. Your device will enter Ambient Mode.

    Google Assistant's Ambient Mode with reminders and smart device buttons

Using Android Ambient Mode

While your phone is charging, you can use Google Assistant voice commands and manage your connected smart devices using the touch screen. To change what displays in Ambient Mode, open the Google Home app and go to Home > your device > Settings gear > Photo frame, then look under More settings.

Ambient Mode for Google Smart Displays

The default screen for Google smart displays is also called Ambient Mode. To change what displays in Ambient Mode on a Nest Hub or a similar device, swipe up and tap the Settings gear > Photo frame.

  • How do I get Google Assistant Ambient Mode?

    Your phone must support Ambient Mode already; there's no way to download or get Ambient Mode on your phone if the feature isn't already built-in. Ambient Mode is supported on select Android phones from Sony Xperia, Transsion, Nokia, and Xiaomi, as well as some Lenovo tablets. You also need at least Android 8.0 to support Ambient Mode.

  • Where is the Ambient Mode button on Google Home Chromecast?

    There's no button on the Chromecast to set up Ambient Mode; rather, you'll set up and configure Ambient Mode for your Chromecast via the Google Home app. Open the Google Home app, tap your Chromecast, and then tap Settings (gear icon). Scroll down and tap Ambient Mode.

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