The Google Assistant should help us all exist in a futuristic utopia where we carried our own always available assistants in our pockets. But that’s real life, and sometimes the best technology just doesn’t work. In this article, we have listed the steps you can take when the OK Google or Hey Google voice command stops working on your phone.
Simple steps to identify the problem
Sometimes you don’t need to go through lengthy, complex troubleshooting steps to fix a nagging problem. The solution could be something very basic. And that’s exactly what we want to do here. Before we try some of the more difficult steps, let’s try a few basic steps to solve your “Ok Google not working” problem.
Make sure the Google Assistant is turned on
As basic as it sounds, you’ll be surprised how many people may have simply turned off the Google Assistant feature and then wondered why it wasn’t working. If you give your phone to kids a lot, they can sometimes play around with the phone and disable the Google Assistant (and thus the OK-Google command). Before starting the top troubleshooting steps, make sure the Google Assistant is turned on at all.
Here’s how you can do it.
- Open the Google app on your phone
- In the lower right, tap the More option
- Tap on Settings
- Tap on Google Assistant
- Scroll down to General
- Make sure the Google Assistant switch is on.
As an additional step, you can also check the following
- Follow steps 1-3 as above
- Tap Voice and then Voice Match
- Make sure that the “Ok Google” switch is activated.
Make sure you are connected to the internet
This may be obvious, but for most applications, the Google Assistant requires WiFi or cellular data to operate. So make sure your device is connected before trying a search. Plus, and this is probably the oldest advice in the book, there’s no harm in restarting quickly – magic really does happen sometimes.
Check that you are not alone
It’s always good to know if the problem you are facing is unique to you. There have been cases when people have noticed that the problem is more with Google than you. Check the Twitter, Reddit, and Google support forums to see if other users are complaining about “OK Google” not working or “Google Voice” not working. You can also try saying “The Google Assistant is not working” for a solution.
Check your language settings
One solution that has worked for many users when faced with the dreaded “Ok Google not working” issue is to check the language settings on your phone. What if it turns out that the Google Assistant is not answering you because you speak the wrong language?
Note that US English is the default language for many users, but it’s still worth it in the the settings Change menu and as needed. To do this, follow the steps below:
- Open the Google app on your phone.
- In the lower right, tap the More option
- Tap on Settings
- Tap on Voice
- Check which language options are enabled and make sure the language you choose is appropriate for you.
The same menu also shows you dozens of language options, each with a check box so that you can set the primary and secondary language if necessary. Google will automatically detect which language you speak and will automatically switch between them. If you are multilingual, be warned that speech recognition for languages other than English can sometimes be below average.
Updating your language pack can also solve your problem. For the same voice Menu, go to the section that says Offline speech recognition and download or update your English (US) language pack.
Check your device’s microphone
As a voice-based system, the Google Assistant relies on uninterrupted access to your smartphone’s microphone. When you open the Google app, the microphone icon on the right side of the search bar should appear in bold and with fully formed lines. If it has a dashed line, there may be a problem with your microphone.
This can be caused by dirt in the small microphone hole that is often found next to the charging port – gently poke around with a safety pin or something similar to remove it and you will often fix the problem. If that doesn’t work, check the microphone settings in the Google app.
Occasionally, apps running in the background make noises that can interfere with the microphone recording your voice. So be sure to check these out too – and close any ones you think may be making noise.
Switch off the energy saving mode
Today’s Android smartphones have a dedicated battery saver that kills background processes to make sure you’re getting as much juice out of the battery as possible. An unintended consequence of this is that your Google Assistant (and the OK Google command) will stop working as a result. It’s a good idea to check that your phone is in battery saver mode before blaming anything else for OK Google not working.
On standard Android, you can check if the power saving option is enabled by following these steps.
- Open settings
- Scroll down and tap Battery
- Tap on the Power Save Mode option and make sure it is turned off
On other Android skins, the same option may appear under the name Adaptive Battery.
Update the Google app to the latest version
One possible solution to your Google not working problem is to make sure your phone is running the latest version of the Google app. This is a great way to make sure you’re using the latest version of the app.
- Open the Play Store on your smartphone.
- Search for the Google app.
- Check the Google app page to see if you see the option to update instead of uninstall.
- Update the app by clicking “Update” and see if the problem goes away
6. Retrain the “Ok Google” language model
Sometimes, for some unknown reason, the Google Assistant won’t keep the commands you gave. If all else fails, it may be time to retrain your digital companion. Here’s how you can do it.
- Open the Google app.
- At the bottom right, tap the More option.
- Tap Settings, then tap Voice.
- Tap Voice Match, then select the “Teach Your Assistant Your Voice Again” option.
- Follow the steps on the screen.
Now that you have reached the end of this article, let us know if these steps helped you fix the problem. Also, let us know if we’ve missed any useful fixes.
This article was last updated in June 2021. Older comments have been retained.