I was wondering if there was any way I could activate Google voice search simply by saying OK Google while using any app on my phone.

I tried searching the XDA forums and couldn't find what I was looking for so I figured someone here might be able to help me out.

If not, thank you for reading this post.

  • AFAIK Ok Google only works with always listening on the Nexus 5 and the Moto, they have dedicated hardware, but the launcher is rolling out to Nexus/GE devices now and hopefully more soon. It works with search app open on any device with the newest Google Search. I have not seen any way to activate it once an app is running on any device. (I look like a madman shouting Ok Google at Angry Birds in the office)
    – RossC
    Mar 3, 2014 at 12:42

2 Answers 2


After a recent update of the Google Search app (version 3.5 and above), it became possible to enable "Ok Google" from any screen on Android 4.3 and above. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Google Search on your phone
  2. Go to Settings by either pressing the hardware Menu button if your device has it, or scrolling to the bottom of all cards and tapping three dots, and select "Settings."
  3. Navigate to Voice -> "Ok Google" Detection, and enable the From Any screen option.
  4. This will first train the device with your voice, and we are done

Note that this does not work on all Android devices. Some Motorola handsets like the Moto X have their own voice recognition software that supersedes Google's, and you will see a message This option is not supported on this device.

Also, currently only the English language is supported for this feature, although Google will probably enable it for more locales in the future.


No, only phones with dedicated hardware have that ability. However, some phones let you use a long press on one of the buttons to activate the google voice recognition.

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