Using Google Meet Companion Mode: The Complete Guide

Google Meet Companion Mode has become a popular feature of the collaboration platform in educational and enterprise collaboration environments.

Initially available only to users of Google’s web collaboration solution, Companion Mode is now available on desktop and mobile devices. Google says this update will ensure every employee has an innovative and convenient way to participate in meetings, regardless of their chosen device.

Designed for the hybrid work era, Companion mode lets multiple users “check in” to a meeting room, share reactions, exchange chat messages, and more, even if they are not a full “participant” in a meeting.

Here’s your guide to Google’s updated Companion Mode feature and how to use it to increase meeting fairness and improve hybrid working.

What is Companion Mode in Google Meet?

Google Meet Companion mode allows users to join Google Meet video calls on a second screen, where they can access chat features, screen sharing, and more. It addresses one of the most common issues affecting hybrid conferences and meetings.

Before companion mode, if multiple people joined a conference from a single meeting room, they could not fully participate in the conversation. They could speak and appear in the video feed, but they couldn’t access polls, meeting chats, hand raise tools, etc.

With Companion mode, individual participants can join a meeting and access various collaborative features without interrupting the conversation.

Unlike “participant mode,” Companion mode automatically turns off audio input to eliminate feedback when multiple users are collaborating in the same space. According to Google, this feature is ideal for hybrid meeting participants who want to interact with their colleagues via chat, screen sharing, and emoji reactions to feel more included in the conversation.

Companion mode is also great for people who want to use multiple devices for different aspects of a meeting. For example, you can use your smartphone to join a meeting as a participant and access excellent video and audio clarity, and your laptop to take notes and chat with employees in real time.

Google Meet companion mode features

Companion mode gives users a unique way to join meetings and engage in conversation, even when sharing a room with other employees. It differs from “participant mode” because users do not have microphone and audio controls, but they can still:

  • Record yourself in a meeting to show that you are present and active in a conversation.
  • Share emoji reactions without interrupting a host or speaker.
  • Turn on captions to view captions and take notes during a meeting.
  • Exchange chat messages with other people in the meeting.
  • View and zoom in on the content presented during the meeting.
  • Use “raise your hand” to indicate that you want to speak.
  • Share your screen or access a virtual whiteboard.

Basically, the feature gives you all the tools you need to join a meeting without audio. You can also seamlessly switch to “participant” mode on your device if you need to speak to other participants in the meeting room using your preferred microphone.

How to use Google Meet Companion Mode

As mentioned above, Companion mode was only available to web users. However, in February 2024, Google updated the feature to include support for Apple and Android devices.

Here’s how to use this feature on any device.

Use Companion Mode on Google Meet for Web

If you’re using a laptop or computer to access the Google Meet web app, there are two ways to access the feature. First, log in to the Companion Mode website from your device of choice. You’ll need to enter the meeting room code to log in, or you can select a scheduled meeting from your built-in Google Calendar.

The second option is to connect your laptop to Google Meet from a meeting invitation. When you receive an invitation, click on the “Join” option. Under “Other connection options,” select “Use companion mode.”

When you join the meeting, you should automatically be in “Companion Mode” and a pop-up will appear asking if you would like to “Register?” ” to the meeting. You can also “check in” after the meeting has started, by clicking on the name of your meeting and clicking “Check-in”.

Quick Tips:

  • If you want to use your microphone, click the “Leave” button and join from the meeting link in “participant” mode.
  • Click “Register in another room” to register in another conference room.
  • Click “Check out” to remove your name from the list of Companion mode participants.

Use Companion Mode on a mobile device

The first thing you’ll need to join a Companion Mode meeting on a mobile device is the Google Meet app, available on Apple iOS and Google Play Store.

Once you’ve installed the app and signed in with your credentials, open the app and tap a video from your upcoming meetings list (integrated with Google Calendar). You can also tap “Join with Code” to join a meeting with a code or nickname.

In the “Self-Display” section, tap “Use Companion Mode.” You can then connect to the meeting using the pop-up window that appears or the dialog box.

Just like on a laptop or computer, you will be able to leave the meeting and rejoin as a participant, check in to another room, and leave your current meeting using the Meet app.

Using Google Meet Companion Mode features

Most of the key features you can access in Google Meet’s Companion mode will work just like they do on the platform if you’re in “Participant mode.” For example, you can click an emoji to share a reaction in a meeting and chat like you would in any meeting.

Here’s a quick guide to taking advantage of the other features in Companion Mode.

How to share a screen in companion mode

If you want to share a screen during a meeting, you can do so by joining the meeting in Companion mode, following the steps above, and clicking “Present Now” at the bottom of your screen. You can then select the content you want to present and choose how much screen to share on a laptop.

Notably, you can only share system audio if you leave the meeting and rejoin as a participant. This helps avoid feedback from multiple microphones and speakers in the same room.

Share your camera feed with Self-View

By default, Google Meet Companion mode turns off your camera. However, you can stream your video in the “Self-View” section of the app. This will allow you to share your video thumbnail with other participants in the call. Simply go to the bottom of the screen and click “Turn on camera”.

You can click the same button again to turn off self-display. Like other participants in a Google Meet call, you will also be able to change your background or blur your surroundings by clicking “More options”, then “Apply visual effects”.

Raise your hand in Companion mode

Raising your hand is a great way to contribute to a hybrid meeting without disrupting other participants. Once connected to a meeting in Companion mode, simply click the “raise hand” button to indicate that you want to speak.

Your meeting organizer can then ask you to join the meeting as a participant or hand you the microphone during an office meeting so you can take over.

Enable subtitles

Google Meet’s closed captions feature is great if you’re having trouble following what others are saying during a chat. The solution uses natural language processing to quickly generate a real-time log of everything participants say.

To enable captions, click the “Turn on captions” button in your meeting settings when joining a conversation in Companion mode.

Use Google Meet Companion Mode

Companion Mode may not be a new feature for businesses that have been using Google Meet on the web for hybrid meetings for a few years. However, Google has extended this feature to mobile device users; this will likely become a more common part of flexible meetings.

Companion mode gives users a quick and lightweight way to participate in meetings without causing disruptions or distractions. You don’t need a specific Google Meet plan to access the feature, and it doesn’t need to be enabled by an administrator. So if you’re looking for a way to interact more effectively in future meetings, try Companion Mode.


Can I join Google Meet on two devices with the same account?

Yes, with Companion mode, users can join a Google Meet conversation on two devices simultaneously. You can use one device as a participant if it has better audio capabilities and access Companion mode on another, so you can easily chat with team members during a presentation.

Why is recording not available in Google Meet Companion mode?

If you don’t see a prompt to “check in” to a room when using Companion mode, it may be because your meeting organizer has disabled this option. In some cases, recording may also be unavailable due to issues with your account or hardware.

Do Companion mode participants count towards the participant limit?

Yes, people connecting to a meeting in Companion mode will count toward the participant limit. Users can check the current number of participants in any meeting by using the “people” icon at the bottom right of a meeting screen.

Is Companion Mode available for mobile devices?

Yes, starting in 2024 you will be able to join a Google Meet conversation in Companion mode on Android and Apple mobile devices using the Google Meet app. However, your screen sharing capabilities may be limited when using a smartphone.

Who can access Companion Mode on Google Meet?

All Google Workspace customers and users with individual and personal Google accounts can use Companion Mode. The feature doesn’t have to be enabled by an administrator, but you do need to make sure your Meet app is up to date on a mobile device.