How to turn off (or simply pause) news headlines on your Amazon Echo Show or Google Nest Hub display

If all the grim coronavirus bulletins are taking a toll on your sanity, consider taking a break from news headlines on your Echo Show and Google Nest smart displays.

amazon echo show how to turn off news headlines
Ben Patterson/IDG

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While it’s important to stay informed during the rapidly developing coronavirus crisis, it’s certainly possible to become too informed. Indeed, the CDC recommends that you “take breaks” from the news to preserve your mental health, and that also applies to the headlines on your Amazon Echo Show and Google Nest smart displays.

By default, Echo Show and Google Nest displays will occasionally flash trending news headlines, which nowadays means lots of grim bulletins about the rapid spread of COVID-19 around the globe.

It’s one thing to steel yourself before deliberately sitting down to get a daily dose of news about the virus, along with what you need to know about how local jurisdictions are handling the outbreak. It’s quite another to see dire coronavirus headlines on your bedroom Echo Show just as you’re settling in for the night, or first thing in the morning on your kitchen Google Nest Hub Max.

If you feel like the blanket coronavirus coverage is starting to get to you, it might be time to take heed of the CDC’s warning and take a break from the headlines, and one step in the right direction might be to turn off—or at least suspend during certain periods—the parade of unsettling updates on your Echo Show and Google Nest smart displays.

Turn off headlines on your Amazon Echo Show 

The Echo Show offers a fairly granular level of control over what appears on the home screen, handy for toggling specific elements on and off at will, meaning (for example) that you can lose the headlines without sacrificing such innocuous updates such as trending recipes, sports scores, or upcoming calendar events.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the home screen, then tap Settings > Home & Clock > Home Content.
  2. Scroll down to News and switch off the toggle. You may also want to keep swiping and deactivate Trending Topics, as well. That’s a shame, because while you will see coronavirus stories in Trending Topics, you’ll also find (badly needed) “Good News” stories.

Another option: If you’d rather not disable news and trending topics headlines completely, you can suspend them during certain hours using Do Not Disturb. When Do Not Disturb is turned on (tap on your Echo Show in the Alexa app, then tap Do Not Disturb to set a schedule), your Echo Show will still sound alarms and timers and Alexa will respond to questions, but no headlines or any other content (save the clock) will appear on the home screen. Consider scheduling Do Not Disturb to start a little earlier and end a bit later than you normally would (say, start at 9 p.m. and end at 9 a.m.) so you can snuggle into bed or rise and shine in relative peace.

Turn off headlines on Google smart displays

While the Google Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max don’t continually push updates to the home screen the way Amazon’s Echo Show can, it does push out a summary of “For You” content when it first sees you in the morning (assuming you have Face Match enabled).

Besides the weather, the “For You” summary includes news updates, and over time I’ve learned to avert my eyes so I can dodge the bad news until I’ve had my morning coffee. Luckily, there is a way to keep your Nest Hub display from pushing out “For You” content until you’re ready for it.

  1. Open the Google Home app, tap the icon for your Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max, then tap the Settings button.
  2. Scroll down to the Learn More section, tap Recognition & Personalization, scroll down to the How personal results appear section, then select the Never show proactively option.

Now your Google Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max won’t show you that “For You” summary, including news headlines, unless you swipe in from the right side of the screen.

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