How to Use Google on an iPhone
Apple doesn’t want you to use technology outside its walled garden. But it’s possible to Google-fy your iPhone as much as it will allow.
You can get great benefits from your favorite Google apps and services on the iPhone, including Chrome’s syncing features. Here’s how to set them up.
Using Google on an iPhone is a straightforward process, as the iOS platform supports a variety of Google services and apps. Whether you want to search the web, check your email, or navigate using maps, Google has dedicated apps that seamlessly integrate with your iPhone. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to use Google on an iPhone, covering various aspects such as search, Gmail, Google Maps, and more.
1. Google Search:
- Safari Browser: Open Safari, and in the address bar, type www.google.com. This will take you to the Google search page. You can then enter your search query in the search bar.
- Google App: Download and install the Google app from the App Store. Open the app, and you’ll find a search bar at the top. Enter your search query, and the app will provide search results.
- Gmail App: Download the Gmail app from the App Store. After installation, open the app, sign in with your Google account, and you can access your emails, compose new messages, and manage your inbox.
- Mail App: You can also add your Gmail account to the native Mail app on your iPhone. Go to “Settings,” select “Mail,” tap “Accounts,” and choose “Add Account.” Select Google and follow the prompts to sign in.
3. Google Maps:
- Google Maps App: Install the Google Maps app for comprehensive navigation. Open the app, enter your destination, and get detailed turn-by-turn directions, real-time traffic updates, and information about nearby places.
- Safari Browser: If you prefer using a browser, open Safari, type www.google.com/maps, and use the web version of Google Maps.
4. Google Chrome:
- Chrome Browser: Download and install the Google Chrome app from the App Store. Open the app, sign in with your Google account to sync bookmarks and browsing history, and enjoy a seamless browsing experience.
- Safari vs. Chrome: Choose between Safari and Chrome based on your preferences. Both browsers support Google search, but Chrome may be more suitable if you’re already using it on other devices.
5. Google Drive:
- Google Drive App: Download the Google Drive app to access your cloud storage. Sign in with your Google account, and you can view, edit, and share your documents, spreadsheets, and other files.
- Files App: Google Drive integrates with the Files app on iOS. You can add your Google Drive account to access files directly from the Files app.
6. Google Photos:
- Google Photos App: Install the Google Photos app to back up and organize your photos. Sign in, and your photos will be automatically synced to the cloud.
- Photos App: You can also access Google Photos through the native Photos app by adding your Google account. Photos will be integrated with your iPhone’s gallery.
7. Google Calendar:
- Google Calendar App: Download the Google Calendar app to manage your schedule. Sign in, and your events will sync across devices.
- Calendar App: Add your Google account to the native Calendar app to access and manage your Google Calendar events.
8. Google Assistant:
- Google Assistant App: Install the Google Assistant app for voice commands and assistance. Open the app, sign in, and use voice prompts to perform tasks.
- Siri Integration: You can also use Siri to interact with Google services by saying “Hey Siri, Google [your query].”
9. Google Translate:
- Google Translate App: Download the Google Translate app for language translation. Enter text or use the camera for real-time translation.
- Translate in Safari: You can also use Google Translate in Safari by visiting translate.google.com.
10. Google Keep:
- Google Keep App: Install Google Keep for note-taking and organization. Sign in, and your notes will be synced across devices.
- Safari Browser: Access Google Keep through Safari by visiting keep.google.com.
Google Maps is an indispensable app for anyone who frequently uses a car. It provides a satellite view, real-time traffic and transit information, and the ability to save lists of locations that you can use offline. It also offers useful features like the option to create a route between two points, and the ability to look up nearby restaurants, gas stations, pharmacies, and other businesses.
You can also use Google Maps in your car with CarPlay. The process is simple: connect your iPhone to your vehicle’s infotainment system, open CarPlay, and select Google Maps from the list of apps. It’s important to note that Google Maps won’t be available if you’re traveling overseas or otherwise without a data connection.
In addition to its navigation capabilities, Google Maps can also help you find local events and get recommendations for restaurants and other destinations. You can even create a route using public transportation. You can also download maps for offline use, which can be accessed when you don’t have internet or mobile data coverage.
If you’re using Google products like Chrome and Gmail, you can make sure that Google Maps is your default map app on your iPhone. This will ensure that whenever you tap a location address in an email, it opens in Google Maps instead of Apple’s own map app.
The good news is that Google can work around many of Apple’s iOS restrictions. You can, for example, change which apps open files and links—so that instead of opening a link in Messages it opens in Chrome, or file attachments open in Google Docs. Then there are the integrated tools, like Google Duo for a FaceTime alternative and Google Photos, which can be used with widgets on your home screen. And, of course, Google’s collaboration tool, Workspace, is now available for iPhone users.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re going the full Google route on your iPhone, though. First, you should consider whether privacy is a concern, since Google will be privy to much more of your day-to-day activities than Apple (though both companies should inspire concerns about privacy). Second, you should install all the apps you want to use, including those that have alternative versions on the App Store, such as Gboard for its top-notch keyboard features. And, of course, you’ll need a stable Wi-Fi connection, which is a prerequisite for most internet-based services.
Apple has a tendency to favor its own ecosystem of hardware and software, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the best features of the iPhone with Google apps. Google Assistant is one such example, offering an alternative to Siri that’s both more feature-rich and customizable.
First, you’ll need to download the Google Assistant app. Once you’ve done that, you can open the app and start speaking to it. The app also has a keyboard button, allowing you to type your query instead of speaking.
When you use the app, you can set reminders, place calls, control your smart home devices and more. The app also offers an Explore section to help you get started with the most common functions.
Once you’ve configured the app, you can create a Siri Shortcut that will allow you to invoke the Google Assistant by simply saying “Hey Google.” To do this, open the Shortcuts app and tap the plus sign. Enter “Hey Google” as the shortcut’s name and tap Done.
Lastly, if you want to make your iPhone even more Google-centric, install a few other Google apps. For example, you might want to install Google Keep as a note-taking app and Google Translate for quick language translation. You can also install YouTube Music to replace Apple’s default music app and add Google Duo for a FaceTime alternative. Many of these apps have widgets that you can place on your home screen.
Google Chrome is the web browser that comes by default on Chromebooks and Android phones. It’s fast, efficient and offers top-notch security. It can also sync across devices via your Google account.
You can also use many other Google apps on your iPhone. Install YouTube Music if you prefer it to Apple’s iTunes service, Google Keep for a more robust alternative to the Notes app, and Google Translate if you want quick language translation. Then there’s the official Google Voice app that bypasses your carrier’s voicemail service and transcribes the messages for you, and Gboard which provides glide typing along with built-in search and multilingual typing.
A new update to Chrome on iOS will let you add Progressive Web Apps and other Web content to your home screen. This is a welcome feature that’s been missing on iOS, where you were previously restricted to Safari and native apps.
When you set Chrome as the default browser on your iPhone, your tabs will sync with any other device that’s signed in to Chrome. Your bookmarks and passwords are also automatically saved, making it easy to pick up where you left off. Other features include Google voice search, which works even on pages that aren’t loaded, and the ability to view all your open tabs in a single view and organize them into groups.
Using Google on your iPhone involves downloading and using specific apps or accessing Google services through your browser. The integration between iOS and Google services allows for a seamless experience, whether you’re searching the web, managing emails, navigating, or using productivity tools. Customize your experience based on personal preferences and needs, leveraging the full range of Google’s offerings on your iPhone.