I love Apple products and I have been in Apple land for over a decade+ thanks to my dear friend Rocco that was understood the value of what the bitten and forbidden fruit company was delivering while I was cranking bits on Windows.
Over the years I have been growing increasingly more bitter with Apple limiting my choices on what default apps I can use for my regular routines. Apple stock apps work fine and they are beautifully integrated in the system. Even the so much blamed Apple Maps is something that in so many instances I favor over my must “go to” location apps like Waze or Google Maps.
However, if for some reason, I start finding a feature of an app made by some other company that Apple I have to triple jump while in the process graduate TWICE with a PhD to figure out workarounds to accomplish something that just like in any Apple fashion, should be dead simple. And in some cases not even that leads to actually feasible. Freedom of choice should lead not gold jail bars. I pay a premium for being part of the Apple ecosystem and with that premium I want my right to have that level of integration and ease across any app, as part of the package.
Apple has been resisting, aggressively, to open up to others. No surprise there, who wouldn’t try to keep the status quo as long as possible. But finally consumers, like me, and developers are pushing back in seek of openness and integration. The competition should occur over the quality, privacy and security not over jailing users through limiting developer’s ability to deliver even better experiences.
I would use Siri every moment and for everything if it was capable of doing anything remotely useful. Beyond the ultra basic voice assistant tasks, Siri is incredibly well integrated across the entire platform and OSes but excruciatingly limited. If I ask “who did poop on the moon last time” I don’t want to hear “here is what I found on the web” I want what the Google Assistant does. Just answers and if it doesn’t know it tells me so.
Obviously, Apple hasn’t been very keen at all to allow Google Assistant (GA) to be a user selectable default on their platform. When Apple Shortcuts become a thing in iOS 13, I really thought there was finally a way, although mega clunky, of invoking GA. As it turned out, nope. You set a Siri shortcut for “OK Google” and Siri promptly responds back with “you have to unlock your phone” which kills completely the benefit of that shortcut.
With iOS 14, Apple has still not enabled openness with the various assistants out there but it made increasingly better the Shortcut stock app. And thanks to the leading example they have ALWAYS been displaying in matter of accessibility there’s now a way of using Google Assistant with ease more than ever, at least when the device is in the reach. I am going to share here how to set that up.
Once again, this could be as simple as they just enabled the default mail/browser option selection but nope, they have to make it as tedious as possible until either the user base or the DOJ will force a change of scenery.
Enough with complaining about my own right of digital life$tyle freedom, let’s do it.
Create a Google Assistant shortcut that will automatically open the Google app when invoked.
- Open Shortcuts
- Tap the + sign on the top right
- Tap “add action”
- In the search box type “open app”
- Tap Choose
- Search and select Assistant
- Tap Next and set a name for your new shortcut
- Tap Done and stretch your knuckles, fun is head
When is all done, that’s what it should look like.
- Open the Settings app
- Go to Accessibility
- Tap Touch in the accessibility list of options
- Turn on Back Tap
- Select how many taps you prefer using to engage the assistant activation
- Select the shortcut you created at step one
- You are done!
Remember when I said that Apple requires Two PhDs for anything that they compete with other companies? Well, this configuration takes ONE doctorate off of that list. Yes. You still need one... and that's by design of their wallen garden.