Long-press the home button on most recent Android devices and it’ll bring up Google Assistant, allowing you to search by voice, ask questions, set reminders, play voice games, and perform many other tasks.
But Android also lets you disable the feature if you don’t use it… or use a third-party assistant if you’d prefer.
Up until recently the only third-party options were Microsoft’s Cortana and Mozilla’s Firefox. While Cortana can do many of the same things as Google Assistant, Firefox basically just opens a new tab/search page.
Now there’s another option: Amazon’s Alexa voice service.
To trigger Alexa with a long-press of the home button, you’ll need to install and configure Amazon’s Alexa app for Android. Then dig into your device’s settings to set it as your default. Note that this may only be available on devices running relatively recent versions of Android:
- Open Settings
- Tap the “Apps & Notications” option
- Scroll down and select “Advanced”
- Tap “Default Apps”
- Tap “Assist & Voice input”
- Tap “Assist app”
You should see a list of available options, similar to the one in the picture above. Go ahead and choose your preferred voice assistant and try long-pressing the home button to see what happens. You may have to grant the app permission to use the microphone before you can use it.
Everything worked as expected when I tried it on my Google Pixel 2 smartphone running Android 8.1. Your results may vary depending on your device and Android version.