Scott Hanselman

How to enable Google Now for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) with Google Apps for Business Accounts

April 29, '13 Comments [23] Posted in Musings
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Google Now for iOS

I've got GAFYD (Google Apps for your Domain) running mail for and managing Google logins for the family. (There's 14 of us.)

Google Now (that's the fancy cards and predictive assistant) for iOS was just released (you can download Google Now here) and integrated into the Google Search app for iPhone and iPad.

If you install it and log in with your Google Apps account, you'll get an error that "your administrator hasn't enabled Google Now for your domain."

You'll need to (or your admin will need to) turn it on for your Google Apps Domain. It just takes a moment.

Note that you're changing this setting under Android but it affects iOS as well, which is why it's so unintuitive.

Google Apps for Business, Education, and Government: Google Now needs to be turned on by an administrator before it can be used.

If you are an administrator, you can enable Google Now for users in your organization by following these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google Apps control panel.
  2. Go to Settings > Mobile > Org Settings > Android settings.
  3. Click the checkbox next to Enable Google Now to turn on Google Now.
  4. Click Save.

Here's a screenshot describing the flow, as it's not obvious.

Click Settings, Mobile, Enable Google Now

It took about 10 minutes for the setting to propagate. You may also need to force-quit the Google app for it to pick up the new setting. Your mileage may vary, but this IS how you enable Google Now, regardless of device.

I hope this saves you time and frustration. Pass it on.

UPDATE: If you've updated to the new console, the location in the new console is:

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Monday, April 29, 2013 9:38:27 PM UTC
Just a FYI, it seems you must have the business/education/government version of Google Apps. My domain is on the free version (before Google did away with it) and doesn't have the options your showing. I only see "Enable Android Sync for users" and "Enable Google Sync for users under Settings -> Mobile for my domain.
Stephen Hardie
Monday, April 29, 2013 9:41:47 PM UTC
Stephen - Yes, for Free Google Apps this is turned on by default and (since with a FREE account, you are the product) there is no way to turn it off.
Monday, April 29, 2013 9:59:01 PM UTC
Thanks for that Scott. I'd got as far as selecting Enable Google Now for Android devices, but hadn't tried quitting the app and restarting it - that did it. It looks like a great app.
Monday, April 29, 2013 10:13:07 PM UTC
Thanks. That worked great. I Changed the settings and once I forced the app to quit and reopened all was there.
Jim Dickman
Monday, April 29, 2013 11:47:35 PM UTC
Thanks Scott. Glad it's on by default.
Stephen Hardie
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 9:58:13 AM UTC
Thanks man. Odd place to turn on features for an iPhone, and the restart really threw me.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:41:37 PM UTC
+1 for this.

On my iPhone 5, I had to manually shut down the app by double tapping the home button. There's an option to "try again" inside of the app, but it wasn't until I fully restarted the app that I was able to see Google Now.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 3:05:42 PM UTC
Thanks -- after 30 minutes figured it was the Android clickbox, but didn't restart the app on my iPhone. Figured "retry" would do it -- guess not.

That's the most useful feature people of found with Google Now?

Anyway, thanks!
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 4:26:25 PM UTC
Just went through this yesterday. Figuring out how to get to my admin page was perhaps my biggest challenge but you can get there at

Andrew Robinson
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 7:00:44 PM UTC
Ha, funny.. This article is featured on MSDN page under .NET Framework
Emre Aydinceren
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 10:44:59 PM UTC
Thanks for the instructions - spot on.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 9:10:54 PM UTC
Thank you very much for posting these instructions. I wasted 10 minutes looking for them in the Google Apps control panel before searching out the solution that you show here.
Thursday, May 02, 2013 2:10:49 AM UTC
Thanks.....I had found the setting but not gotten it to work. The key was the force quit and restart of the app.
Monday, May 06, 2013 3:04:41 AM UTC
Thanks Scott - appreciate your efforts which helped us out :)
Friday, May 10, 2013 11:50:31 PM UTC
Quick question. Got it to activate but Google Now doesn't seem to be accessing my email or calendar.

For example... for my wife's personal account she gets flight updates on Google Now after the check-in email is sent to her inbox. On my business account nothing although I got the same email.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 6:59:55 AM UTC
Any update on this for those using Google Apps for Business (paid version) and the New Admin Console/Panel?

Monday, May 27, 2013 3:23:58 AM UTC
Thanks enormously - hunted for this for days before I found your post
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 4:04:06 PM UTC
If anyone had as much difficulty as me, finding out where those settings are on the new Admin Panel, the following should help. From the Admin Console start page, click the following:

Google Apps > Mobile > Device management settings

Scroll down to last option (Android settings) and click "Enable Google Now (also applies to iOS)."

Hope that helps someone.
Sunday, July 07, 2013 10:27:14 AM UTC
Thks drove me crazy! Now I got it:)
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 9:19:51 PM UTC
@James - Thanks for the location in the new admin console. Couldn't figure it out until I read your post.
Friday, August 23, 2013 4:53:38 AM UTC
Sunday, September 01, 2013 11:32:59 AM UTC
Sunday, September 01, 2013 11:39:00 AM UTC
Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.