"Ok Google" not working? Here's how to fix it

"Ok Google" not working? Here's how to fix it

Google Assistant was supposed to help us all exist in a futuristic utopia where we carried our own permanently available assistants in our pockets. But this is real life, not science fiction and sometimes the best tech just doesn't work. Some Android users have found that the feature has just left them repeating the phrase "Ok Google" over and over again into an unresponsive phone, no doubt drawing some strange looks in the process.

But don't despair just yet, there are a few simple fixes you can try will help you understand why google assistant is not working. We're sure that by the end of this article, you will get the voice recognition software working and keep your thumbs free from the risk of repetitive strain injury.

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1. Check if you're not alone

It's always good to know if the problem you're facing is affecting just you. There have been occasions when people have noticed that the problem is on Google's side rather than yours. Check Twitter, Reddit and Google's support forums to see if other users are complaining about 'OK Google' not working or 'Google Voice' not working. You can also try searching for a solution using the term 'Google assistant not working'. 

Sometimes the most common solution is to simply retrain Voice Match to fix OK Google detection, isn't working because the options to do so in the settings are greyed out. In this case, when you've gone through the options detailed below, you'll just have to wait for a fix to be rolled out by Google. Be warned, Google doesn't always announce these fixes promptly, so keep an eye on the online communities.

2. Check your language settings

One fix 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 reason Google Assistant isn't responding to you is that you're speaking the wrong language to it! Note that US English will be the default language for many users, but it's still worth checking in the Settings menu and altering as required. To do this, go to the Google app and then its main menu, then go to Settings > Voice (under Search), and then select the appropriate language(s) from the Voice menu.

There you will see dozens of language options, each one with a checkbox, so you can set primary and secondary languages if desired. Google will automatically detect which language you're speaking and switch between them automatically. If you're multilingual, be warned that voice recognition for languages other than English can sometimes be subpar.

google settings voice language english 1
Check first that the default language is set to English (US) / © NextPit

Updating your language pack may also solve your problem. From the same Voice menu, go to Offline speech recognition and download or update your English (US) language pack.

google offline speech 2
Check to make sure your offline languages are up-to-date / © NextPit

3. Check the microphone on your device

As a voice-based system, Google Assistant relies on uninterrupted access to your smartphone's microphone. When you open the Google app, the microphone icon on the right-hand side of the search bar should appear bold, with fully-formed lines. If it has a dotted line, you may have a problem with your microphone.

This may be caused by debris in the small microphone hole often found next to the charging port – have a careful poke around with a safety pin or similar to clear it out and you'll often fix the problem. If that doesn't work, check the microphone settings within the Google app.

Occasionally, apps running in the background make noises which may interfere with the microphone picking up your voice, so check these too – and close any that you think maybe making noises.

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The microphone hole sometimes requires careful cleaning / © NextPit

4. Disable S Voice or Bixby if you have a Samsung

Although there is no clear reason why, it appears as though Google Assistant is not always compatible with Bixby (or the older S Voice app) on Samsung phones. If you have a Samsung with Bixby or S Voice installed and would prefer to use Google's voice assistant instead, your best bet might be to disable Bixby or S Voice on your device entirely. To do this, just locate the app icon for S Voice or Bixby and then long-press it and select Disable

disable s voice 4
Long press the S Voice or Bixby icon and select the Disable option / © NextPit

5. Rule out all the simple fixes

This may be stating the obvious, but Google Assistant does need Wi-Fi or mobile data to operate (for most uses), so make sure your device is connected before you try a search. Also, and this is probably the oldest advice in the book, it never hurts to do a quick reboot – sometimes magic really does happen. And last but not least, check to make sure "Ok Google" detection is actually turned on. To do this, open the Google app and then its main menu, then go to Settings > Voice (under Search) > "Voice Match" detection. From there, toggle the feature on.

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Did you try turning it on? / © NextPit

6. Retrain "Ok Google" voice model

Sometimes, for reasons unknown, Google Assistant doesn't retain the commands you have given it. If all else fails, it might be time to retrain your digital companion.

  1. Open Settings > Google >Search > Voice 
  2. Make sure that access with Voice Match is toggled on
  3. From there, tap Retrain voice model and repeat "OK Google" and "Hey Google" when prompted.
  4. Google Assistant should once more respond to your voice as normal.

Now that you have reached the end of this article, do let us know if you have you ever had problems with Google Assistant. Have you ever wondered why is Google not working? Additionally, do let us know if we have we missed any useful fixes.

This article was last updated on December 1, 2020. 

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Readers' favorite comments

  • Ronald Larsen Mar 11, 2018

    Uninstall (uninstall updates) Google app from Settings -> Apps -> Google -> ... (tap the three dots on top right) -> Uninstall updates. Now setup Google voice. Once successful, you can update Google app back to the latest version.
    This fixed the issue for me Sony Performance Android 8.0

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  • Wow this is useful one.... Thanks yar


  • Google mic not working app


  • On my device "Battery Saver" mode was ON. When I turned it off, it worked again.


  • Ster69 6 months ago Link to comment

    It's because of incompetent development and bug fix teams at Google that this whole thing started in the first place. When I uninstall updates, Google Assistant works great, but the moment I shift to the latest version, it won't even recognize my voice input in the Voice Match section even though Microphone has been enabled on the app. Pointless programmers, no one in the Google Dev team for GA even tested to see if it wasn't working any more before pushing their shitty update into the live version.


  • Why use the effort to turn it off when you just have to not say "OK GOOGLE"


  • So I realized my problem, I had to access settings from the Google app, after which I went to Google Assistant, Tap the Assistant tab and then Languages (for speaking to your Assistant) and ensure that you don't just see "English". If so, tap it and select a specific one (US, UK etc.). That should do the trick. Lemme know if it works for you too!


  • For anyone having issues with Google Assistant on AA, make sure you have the latest version of AA. Unpair the vehicle its connected to. Once that's done turn BT ON PHONE ONLY. MAKE SURE YOUR CARS HEAD IS ON BUT DON'T CONNECT TO THE CARS USB . wait for the BT LOGO to show up on the vehicles HU. Then connect the USB to the phone & the port in the car. I lost Assistant after an update, but unpairing & resetting the connection now brings up Assistant and voice activation in my car. This may work for some & may not work for others. I'm using a Samsung Galaxy S10 Note 5G in a 5G connected area .


  • In my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 'While driving' option is in grey color & cannot enable it. How to fix it?


  • storm 9 months ago Link to comment

    Ok Google doesn't work because I turned it off. And it pleases me this way.


  • MrG 11 months ago Link to comment

    This article assumes that the problem is a user problem, doesn't go beyond obvious, simple fixes. Google Assistant issues are widely documented, and many variables matters, such as Android version, handset (Pixel settings are unique to Android phones) yet this article, by not going deeper, will end up wasting the time of 95% of readers.


  • Jimmy 11 months ago Link to comment

    google voice still not working with android auto any answers


  •   2
    Deactivated Account Jan 14, 2020 Link to comment

    Wow, talk about a useless waste of space. Your article basically assumes the reader has never encountered a smart phone before.


  • Thanks for the great article, but I'd like to say that, contrary to what you say, Google Assistant does have some features that work when not connected to the internet. I don't know them all but one is the ability to make phone calls. I've used this for a long time when driving but, suddenly, it stopped working, and there is little help on the internet. After much searching, I cleared both storage and cache in the Google app. It didn't help but I mention it in case it's necessary in conjunction with the next steps that did help. I changed the language in the phone's settings to English - US. I then rebooted. When I tried to make a phone call offline, it said that internet was required, so I connected to the internet and made a call. I then turned off the internet and tried to make an off-line call. It again said I needed to be on the internet. I ignored that and tried a second time to make an offline call, and it worked. I can't explain why it was such a carry-on, but I'm now happy that it works, although I'm a bit miffed that I had to change my preferred language from English - UK to English - US. English - UK has worked fine for almost two years, and I am English, so I don't understand why it doesn't work now. However, I'm very relieved to be able to make off-line calls through Google Assistant again. Hope this helps someone.


    • Interesting. I tried everything I could think of and following your change I added English UK and removed English US. I live in the US but I figured since the Brits have a little better revision on English for some reason I'd just give it a whirl. As soon as I made the change I could go turn on voice match and everything was back to normal. Prior to this when I tried to retrain voice match it'd just set and spin. To verify that it was this change that fixed my issue I went back and added English US and removed English UK and I no longer had google assistant. Simple enough to add English UK back in. Maybe Google knows UK English is better? Thanks so much to vivsim for finding the solution even though we have to use each others version of English it worked.


  • GoPolo Oct 28, 2019 Link to comment

    Been trying for the past 30 min on one plus 7 pro with no luck. Tried all listed, removed notification apps. Rebooted several times. Nothing.........?
    I used it a lot before all this, sucks not to have it.


  • Uninstalling the Google app worked for me.

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