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Steps to keep Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant from yelling
© Kaspars Grinvalds |
Tech tips

Digital assistant driving you nuts? How to get Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant to pipe down

Digital assistants are helpful gadgets to have around the house and on the go. They can help you with the weather, the traffic on the road, daily reminders, music suggestions, morning routines and more.

More vehicles are equipped with technology to better sync your phone to your cars, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This also makes it easier to use your voice assistant on the road. While this can be useful, what’s the legality of talking to your phone’s smart assistant while driving? Tap or click here to find out.

Sometimes your smart assistant is just too loud. You’re walking down the street and you pull out your phone and quietly ask to read off your shopping list. Your assistant then rattles off the unmentionables you need. The same can happen with your smart speakers at home. Read on for steps to muting smart assistants or turning them down.

Simmer down, Siri

You can direct when Siri can speak and when she’ll remain silent, as well as control her volume. Here’s how to do it from your iPhone:

  • Open Settings > Accessibility > Siri and select When Silent Mode is Off. Siri will speak if Silent Mode is off when using “Hey Siri” or when connected to a Bluetooth device or CarPlay.
  • Select Only with “Hey Siri” on the same screen and Siri will speak only when you use “Hey Siri” or when connected to a Bluetooth device or CarPlay.
  • Use the volume buttons on the side of your phone to control Siri’s volume.
  • Say “Hey Siri, speak quieter” to lower the assistant’s volume.

You can also change Siri’s voice settings from your Mac:

  • Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Siri.
  • Toggle Voice Feedback off to mute Siri. Her responses will still be shown in the Siri window.
  • When Siri is speaking, click the Volume control in the menu bar and drag the slider to adjust the volume.
  • You can also use the volume keys on your keyboard.

You can control Siri’s voice feedback and volume from your Apple Watch:

  • Open Settings > Siri and select Control With Silent Mode or Headphones Only.
  • Say “Hey Siri, speak quieter” to lower her volume.
  • Go to Settings > Siri > Voice Volume – Speaker and adjust as needed.
  • You can also tap the slider, then turn the Digital Crown.

RELATED: It’s not you. How to get Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant to understand you better

Not so loud, Alexa

If you have an Echo speaker, you can use its physical buttons to lower the volume. You can also say, “Alexa, set the volume to [1-10]” or “Alexa, lower volume.”

You’ll have more control over Amazon’s smart assistant using the Alexa app:

  • Open the Alexa app and tap More.
  • Go to Settings > Device Settings and tap on the Echo device you want to change.
  • Tap Volume and adjust the audio slider to your desired level.

Whisper mode makes Alexa respond to whispered commands in her whisper voice. Just say, “Alexa, turn on whisper mode. You can also do this from the app:

  • Open the Alexa app and tap More.
  • Go to Settings > Voice Responses.
  • Toggle Whisper Mode on.

Finally, Alexa has a Brief Mode which makes her less chatty and replaces responses with short sounds. Simply say “Alexa, turn on brief mode” or use the app:

  • Open the Alexa app and tap More.
  • Go to Settings > Voice Responses.
  • Turn Brief Mode on.

RELATED: 15 new Alexa commands you’ll wish you knew about sooner

Let’s keep this between us, Google

If you type to your Google Assistant rather than speak, it will display text in the app and not say a word aloud. You can use the physical buttons on your Google Home speaker to lower the volume or say, “Hey Google, decrease” or “Hey Google, volume [1-10].”

Night Mode lowers Google Assistant’s volumes and dims the lights on your Google Nest or Home speaker:

  • Open the Google Home app and touch and hold your device’s tile.
  • Tap Settings > Notifications & digital wellbeing.
  • Tap Night mode > Enable night mode.

You can set the virtual assistant to only speak out loud when you’re using a hands-free device:

  • Open the Google Assistant app and go to Settings > Apps > Assistant > See all Assistant Settings.
  • Select Assistant voice & sounds > Speech output Phone.
  • Select None (unless hands-free).

You may also like: 5 hidden Google Assistant tricks for your Android

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