How many times have you tried to ask Assistant to do something on your out-of-reach phone only to hear no answer in return? Grabbing your device then reveals the dreaded “Unlock to continue” message with the lockscreen on top. If you’ve frequently wondered what good is a voice assistant with Voice Match if it can’t authenticate you and override the lockscreen in any useful way, then you’re in the same boat as me. But Google is finally fixing this.
Google Assistant already offers a ‘Personal results’ on the lockscreen option, but it used to only work for calendar, reminders, email, and shopping lists. Now it also lets you make calls to your contacts or send them messages, start music playback, and set up timers and alarms.
To get it working, you need to enable Assistant settings > Personal results > Lock screen personal results. Now you can simply say “Hey Google” to your locked phone — whether it’s across the room or on your desk but you prefer to continue hands-free — and ask it to call or message a contact, start playing some music (on Spotify, YouTube Music, and possibly more services too), or set a timer or alarm.
Having Voice Match turned on in Assistant’s settings is also essential if you want to benefit from all of these features. Some of them (music, timers, alarms) might work without Voice Match, by only triggering Assistant with the squeeze gesture on older Pixels. But others (calls and messages) will still require you to unlock first.
Left: Setting to be enabl06ed. Middle: Calling works from the lockscreen now. Right: It didn’t before.
Google says that the cards are large and can be seen from across the room, but in my experience, most of them are just the same interface we’ve seen before. They’re certainly not readable from several meters away. Only the music playback card is big now, so it’s possible that a similar large UI is coming to the other cards via a server-side switch.
Left: This also works for music playback… Middle: and timers… Right: and alarms.
We spotted the new lockscreen music playback card in Assistant a few weeks ago (thanks, Mendy Marcus!), so we think this ability to trigger more personal Assistant results from the lockscreen has been rolling out for some of you for a while. Google has officially announced the feature now, so it should be available to you even if it wasn’t before. It is already live on all of our devices.