How to adjust audio in Google Meet

Try these tips when your microphone or speakers in Google Meet don't work as you expect.

How to adjust audio in Google Meet

For people in organizations that rely on G Suite, Google Meet delivers video-conferencing that works in Android and iOS apps, in web-based Chrome and other modern browsers, as well as with dedicated hardware. Participants may choose to dial-in to a Meet session from a phone, which can be helpful in situations where bandwidth is limited or people are on the move.

However, when use of Google Meet for Education increased due to COVID-19 containment efforts, students discovered that any participant could mute any other participant. Some students chose to mute their teachers. Google modified the system so that only the meeting creator (or Calendar event owner) could mute or remove participants from a session in Google Meet for Education.

When your microphone or speakers don't work with Meet as you expect, the following tips may help you identify and resolve the issue. In general, focus first on settings within the Meet app, then proceed to device adjustments, if needed. If neither of those work, seek additional assistance from your organization's G Suite administrator.

SEE: G Suite: Tips and tricks for business professionals (TechRepublic download)

Meet audio options

Within Meet, you have at least five distinct tools and options to help you with audio.

Mute

During a Meet session in Chrome, move the cursor, then click or tap the Mute button that displays in the bottom-center of the screen to toggle the setting. In Android or iOS, tap the video display area, then tap the Mute button. If you dialed in to a meeting, press *6 to unmute or mute. In my experience, accidental mute remains the most common cause of audio issues.

Settings | Audio | Microphone or Speaker

In Chrome, select the three-vertical dot menu in the lower-right, then choose Settings. Audio Options let you adjust settings for either the Input (Microphone) or Output (Speakers). To the right of the microphone option, an indicator displays when sound is detected. Select the Test button to the right of the speaker option and a test sound will play to your selected speaker.

By default on Android or iOS,  audio routes through the device's built-in microphone and speakers. Alternatively, if you have either plugged in a headset or paired with an active Bluetooth headset, sound should route to either of those devices.

Settings | Use A Phone For Audio

A G Suite administrator may control an option to allow a dial-in number and PIN for audio access. If audio options otherwise don't work, try calling in from a phone to listen and participate in Google Meet sessions.

Captions

In Chrome, select the Turn On Captions button, near the lower-right corner of the screen. On Android or iOS, tap the screen, then tap the CC surrounded by a box (in the upper-right corner of the screen) to turn on captions. Each participant controls their own caption settings.

If you share your screen and play a video (e.g., from YouTube), you also may want to enable captions within the video. This ensures that captions display within the video, regardless of each individual's caption setting within Google Meet.

Chat

Select or tap the icon that looks like a dialogue box in a comic to access chat. Other than video signals, such as pointing at your ear and shaking your head, text typed in Meet session chat may be the best way to communicate that audio isn't working.

Device audio options

Restart 

Try a restart of either Chrome (quit, then restart the app) or your device (turn off, turn back on), then try to use Google Meet.

System device settings

Review system microphone (on macOS) and/or speaker settings (on macOS or Windows) to ensure that they reflect the devices you want to use with Google Meet. For example, on Windows, if you have multiple Bluetooth devices or profiles, systematically disable all except one, e.g., "Bluetooth (Hands-free)", then test audio by joining your Meet session. A series of tests may allow you to identify which system device and profile you need to select for audio with Google Meet. 

Mute switch

Some headsets and devices offer a physical mute switch that may override software settings. Check to make sure that any physical mute switches are set appropriately.

Volume up/down

On Android, iOS, or Chrome OS systems, press the volume up or volume down key on your device to increase or decrease the volume, respectively. Many laptop and desktop keyboards similarly include volume controls. 

Additional options

In audio still doesn't work after you adjust either app or device settings, the issue may be related to your network, your organization's G Suite settings, or the status of the Meet service.

Check your network

Troubleshoot your network latency and bandwidth, using WebRTC troubleshooter links from Google's support pages. This can help identify whether you need a faster connection or if a network setting needs to be configured differently.

Check Meet status

Google's G Suite Status Dashboard indicates the status of services, including Google Meet. In extremely rare circumstances, the service may be affected.

Check the Meet quality tool

G Suite administrators can access (and enable access for others) the Meet quality tool, which can help diagnose Meet connectivity issues. 

Check Google's support pages

See the Google Meet troubleshooting support page for ways to address known issues with Meet.

What's your experience?

If you rely on Google Meet in your organization, how have you helped people identify and resolve any audio issues--other than Mute/Unmute? If your organization uses Meet, has an administrator enabled the phone dial-in option? If so, how frequently do people in your organization use the dial-in feature? Let me know, either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).

Also see

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Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic (Screenshot: Google Meet)