How to make Alexa, Cortana your Android phone's assistant

Not a fan of Google Assistant on your Android device? Here's how to (mostly) replace it!

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.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read
Jason Cipriani/CNET

Amazon recently updated the Alexa app for Android devices, adding the ability to set it as the default personal assistant on phones and tablets .

Watch this: Amazon introduces new, easy Alexa Skill builder

Users have had the option to use Microsoft's Cortana in place of Google Assistant since 2017, but with Alexa's popularity, it's nice to see Amazon adding the option.

So long, Google Assistant

We have confirmed the option to change the default assistant is present on the Pixel 2 XL and Samsung Galaxy S9 . Due to each device manufacturer customizing the settings app and menu, the steps will differ from device to device. Adding confusion, the setting isn't all that easy to find.

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How you can change your voice assistant varies between different Android phones.

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

For example, to find the setting on a Pixel 2 XL, you need to go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Default Apps > Assist app.

There is a better way: Open your phone's search feature within the Settings app and type in "Assist."

Once you've located the proper settings page, you will have the option to change from "Enhanced Google services" (AKA Google Assistant) to a different assistant, as long as the app is installed on your device.


Of course, there is a caveat to ditching Google Assistant. First and foremost, this setting isn't a complete and total replacement.

For example, you can't talk to Alexa or Cortana using voice commands from across the room. Instead, you have to long-press your device's home button to trigger your preferred assistant.

You can, however, still interact with Google Assistant using "OK Google" should you want the best of both worlds.

Alexa 101: What you should know about Amazon's AI assistant

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