How to Get Google Assistant on Any Phone Running Android Marshmallow or Higher

Google Assistant, the new smart interactive virtual assistant , is unfortunately only officially available for their new Pixel phones . With a little tweaking, however, you can get it – and all of the Assistant’s powerful search and chat features – on any phone running Android Marshmallow or later. Here’s how.

Google Assistant, once you try it, becomes incredibly useful. You can get a daily briefing every morning about the weather in your area, traffic congestion on the road and what you have on your calendar for the day. You can also have complex conversations with your phone. For example, when you ask what movies are on, you can respond by requesting screenings, reviews, and more. All of your old favorite voice commands are still there, but overall the experience is much more enjoyable. If you’re comfortable with customizing your phone, it’s worth giving it a try.

What do you need

Surprisingly, installing Google Assistant on your phone is easier than you think. To make things easier , we ‘ll set up a build.prop file on your phone that contains a lot of information about your phone. We will change it so that the program asks: “What is your phone number?” he replies, “I’m Pixel XL!” instead of whatever phone you have. This is a simple setup with minimal risk.

There are several ways to do this. Method # 1 involves editing the build.prop file directly and requires root access, while Method # 2 runs a .zip file that can apply the setting for you and does not require root access. Here’s what you need for both methods:

  • Android Nougat: This setting only works on phones with the latest version of Android. This includes the Nexus 6P, 5X, 6, and 5. You can read an updated list of devices this setup can work with here .
  • Root access ( method # 1 ): If you want to manually update the build.prop file, you will need root access on your phone. Check out our guide on rooting your phone if you haven’t already.
  • Root Explorer ( Method # 1 ): Any file editor that allows you to edit root files will work, so you can choose. We will focus on our favorite file manager Solid Explorer .
  • Memorable .zip Files ( Method # 2 ): An XDA FaserF user has shared here swap .zip files that you can use to edit build.prop without rooting your phone. Download them before proceeding.
  • Unlocked Bootloader ( Method # 2 ): To flash .zip files, you need to unlock your phone’s bootloader. Please note, this is not the same as rooting your phone, but it does require some technical know-how. Our rooting guide explains the difference and explains how to get started .
  • Custom Recovery or Fast Boot ( Method # 2 ): You will need a way to flash your .zip files. If you already have custom recovery on your phone, you can use it. If you don’t want to mess with custom recovery, you can use fastboot to flash the files. We will focus on using ad hoc recovery, but you can read more on how to use adb and fastboot here .

While it’s easy to set up Google Assistant, you should still be comfortable using the command line, writing files to your phone, and changing system settings before proceeding.

Also, keep in mind that Google may fix this at any time, so it may work today, but not necessarily tomorrow. Finally, if you’re in the Android beta program , future updates (like the Android 7.1 developer preview later this month ) could mess up your root access and give you some headaches down the road. If you’re willing to take the risk, go ahead!

Update: Shortly after we finished this tutorial, the Xposed Android N-ify module was updated to add Google Assistant compatibility for Marshmallow devices. You can read about it here . If you are using Marshmallow and need an assistant, you need to root your phone , install Xposed , and then install Android N-ify . You can then continue with this tutorial as usual, although we recommend method # 1 since you already have root access.

Method # 1: manually edit the Build.prop file (root required)

If you already have root access on your phone, this setup is easy. Once you have all of the above items, follow these steps:

  1. Open Solid Explorer. (your preferred root file manager may have slightly different steps).
  2. If you haven’t enabled root storage, slide out the left panel and tap the settings gear icon. Scroll down and turn on Show Root Store. Exit settings.
  3. Pull down the left navigation bar and tap Root.
  4. Scroll down and tap System.
  5. Scroll down and click build.prop.
  6. Open the file with SE Text Editor.
  7. Find the line that says ro.product.model = [YOUR DEVICE] and replace it with the following text: ro.product.model = Pixel XL.
  8. Add the following on a separate line: ro.opa.elposed_device = true
  9. Save and exit the file.
  10. Reboot your device.

After rebooting, go to the Apps section in the Settings app and look for the Google app that clears its data and cache. After restarting the app, you can activate Google Assistant by pressing and holding the Home button. Congratulations! You’ve got a Pixel-exclusive feature even before the phone goes live.

Method # 2: Flash .Zip files

XDA user FaserF has created some handy .zip flash files that you can use if you don’t want to root your phone. Avoiding root can be useful if you want to get early updates through the Android beta testing program . You can either use a custom recovery to flash the .zip files, or use fastboot to do this from your computer . We’ll show you how to do this using custom recovery, but the method you choose is up to you.

  1. XDA user mjp93 recommends uninstalling google app completely before using this method.
  2. Download the three .zip files from this link and copy them to your phone’s internal storage.
  3. Restart your phone in recovery mode.
  4. Tap or go to “Install” in the custom recovery. For the popular TWRP recovery, “Install” will be a big gray button on the first screen that you will see when recovering.
  5. Install GoogleAssistantVelvet.zip
  6. Install GoogleAssistantBuildProp.zip
  7. Reboot your phone.

After restarting your phone, you need to manually allow it to use things like the microphone by going to the Applications section of the Settings app. From there, search for Google, then click on “Permissions” and enable the required permissions. Press and hold the Home button again to bring up the Assistant.

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