How to control Google Home without your voice

Did you know the top of Google Home is a giant touchpad? Well, it is, and it's pretty useful.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Sarah Mitroff Managing Editor
Sarah Mitroff is a Managing Editor for CNET, overseeing our health, fitness and wellness section. Throughout her career, she's written about mobile tech, consumer tech, business and startups for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat.
Expertise Tech, Health, Lifestyle
Jason Cipriani
Sarah Mitroff
2 min read

The most common way you interact with your Google Home is speaking to it, but it's not the only way.

Perhaps you've lost your voice, or it's late at night and you don't want to wake up anyone. Maybe you're just flat-out annoyed at having to say "OK, Google" for the most basic of commands.

No matter the reason, here are a few handy tips (pun fully intended) for controlling the Home without saying a word.

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Taps and swipes

While the Google Home Hub has a full touchscreen, the Google Home, Home Mini , and Home Max speakers all let you use touch gestures to control the speaker, too.

Note: Gesture volume controls only affect media playback. To change the volume of alarms or timers, you must use the Google Home app.

Google Home

  • Tap once on the top of the Home to play or pause music or videos playing on a nearby TV through Chromecast .
  • A single tap on the top also stops alarms and timers.
  • Long press until Assistant's lights start blinking, awaiting your voice command.
  • Drawing a circle in a clockwise motion increases volume.
  • Drawing a circle in counter-clockwise motion decreases volume.

Google Home Mini

  • Long press either side of the speaker to play or pause music or end phone calls.
  • Tap the right side to increase the volume.
  • Tap the left side to lower the volume.
  • You can also start requests with your voice on the Mini.

Google Home Max

Horizontal configuration:

  • Tap the line on the top of the speaker to pause and play media.
  • Swipe left to right on the line to increase the volume.
  • Swipe right to left to decrease volume.

Vertical configuration:

  • Tap the line on the right side to pause and play media.
  • Swipe up on the line to increase volume.
  • Swipe down to decrease the volume.

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Adjust volume from your phone

The Google Home works just as any other Chromecast device when streaming content from your phone or tablet, so you can adjust the volume without touching Home or using a voice command.

To do so, open the Google Home app and tap on the speaker you want to control, then adjust the volume as you see fit. Alternatively, if you're casting music from an app on your phone or tablet, you can use the volume slider in said app or the physical volume buttons on your device to adjust playback levels.

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