How to Get Rid of Google Assistant on Your Pixel & Switch Back to Google Now

We've already showed you how to get the Google Assistant on non-Pixel devices, so it's only right that we cover the process of getting rid of the Assistant for the folks that do own a Pixel or Pixel XL. There's plenty of reasons why you might want to do this, but mainly, removing Google Assistant is the only way to get the old Google Now interface back.

In these early stages of development, Google Assistant still lacks quite a few features from Google Now. The Now on Tap "Screen Search" feature lacks the ability to take screenshots or translate text, and Google Assistant's list of voice commands is still much shorter than Google Now's—even with IFTTT integration. So if you yearn for the old days, read on below for instructions on reverting to Google Now.


Step 1: Edit Your Build.prop File

First up, open your favorite root-enabled file browser, then head to the system folder on the root partition of your device. From here, make sure the folder is mounted as "read/write" so that you can alter the files it contains. Next, long-press the build.prop file near the bottom of this folder, then select "Open in Text Editor" (or similar) from your file browser's context menu.

From here, you'll see a wall of text—scroll down towards the bottom of this list (about 17 lines from the end), and locate the line of code that reads ro.opa.eligible_device=true. From here, just remove the word "true" and replace it with "false" instead. So in the end, the line should look like this:

  • ro.opa.eligible_device=false

Once you've done that, make sure to save the changes (tap the three-dot menu button, then choose "Save" or similar). After that, reboot your phone to make the changes take effect, and you'll be ready to use Google Now again.

Step 2: Use Google Now Instead of Google Assistant

From now on, whenever you long-press your home button, you'll be greeted by the Screen Search function (formerly Now on Tap). This includes actions that Google Assistant can't perform yet, like sharing screenshot or translating text from within any app.

Then, when you tap the voice search button on the Google widget, you'll see the old Google Now interface. It's not quite as conversational as Assistant, but at this stage in development, it's a bit more functional. For instance, you can say "What song is this" while you're listening to music, and Google Now will find the title of the track that's playing, among various other minor advantages.

If you decide you'd like to switch back to Google Assistant at some point in the future, just edit your build.prop file one more time, then change the ro.opa.eligible_device line to "true" again and reboot your phone.

Cover photo and screenshots by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

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