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

Update: Revised for 2022
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Google Assistant was supposed to help everyone exist in a futuristic utopia where we have our very own, permanent virtual assistants in our pockets. But in the real world, there are moments when even the best technology just does not work. In this article, we have listed various steps you can take if the "OK Google" or "Hey Google" voice command has stopped working on your phone. Scroll down to find out more!

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Simple steps to identify the problem

Sometimes you do not need to perform long, drawn out, complex troubleshooting steps to fix a nagging issue. The solution could be something that is very basic. And that is exactly what we want to do here. Before we try some of the more difficult steps out, let us begin with a few basic ones to solve your 'OK Google not working' issue.

Make sure Google Assistant is turned on

As elementary it may sound, you will be surprised to know just how many people may have simply turned the Google Assistant feature off and then wonder why it isn't working. In case you often hand over your phone to kids, they might, on some occasions, fiddle with the phone's settings and turn off Google Assistant (and the OK Google command by default) accidentally. Before you even start reading about major troubleshooting steps, make sure Google Assistant is enabled in the first place. 

Here's how you do so.

  1. Launch the Google app on your phone.
  2. Scroll until you see Settings for Google Apps. Select that.
  3. Select Search, Assistant and Voice.
  4. Select Google Assistant.
  5. Scroll down until you see the General option. Select General.
  6. Make sure the Google Assistant slider button is enabled.

 

Turn On Google Assistant
Make sure you haven't disabled Google Assistant! / © NextPit

As an additional step, you may also want to check the following

  1. Follow steps 1 to 3 as mentioned above.
  2. Select Voice followed by Voice Match.
  3. Make sure the 'Hey Google' slider button is enabled.

Make sure you're connected to the Internet

This may be stating the obvious, but in most cases, Google Assistant does need a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection to function, so make sure your device is connected before you attempt a search. Also, and this is probably the oldest piece of advice in the book, it never hurts to perform a quick reboot where sometimes, magic really does happen!

 Check if you're not alone

It's always good to know if the problem you're facing is affecting just you and nobody else. There have been occasions when people noticed that the problem is on Google's side rather than theirs. Check Twitter, Reddit, and Google's support forums to see if other users are complaining about 'OK Google' not working or that 'Google Voice' is not working as it should. You can also try searching for a solution using the term 'Google assistant not working.' 

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 simply because 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 make the necessary alterions as required. To do this, perform the following steps:

  1. Launch the Google app on your phone.
  2. Select Settings for Google Apps.
  3. Select Search, Assistant and Voice.
  4. Select Voice.
  5. Select Languages.
  6. View the available language options which are checked and make sure that the selected language is one that you can work with. 

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

Google Assistant
Try changing the language settings. / © NextPit

Updating your language pack may also solve your problem. From 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 microphone

As a voice-based system, Google Assistant relies on uninterrupted access to your smartphone's microphone. When you launch the Google app, the microphone icon on the right-hand side of the search bar should appear in bold with fully-formed lines. If it has a dotted line, you may be experiencing 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 something similar to clear it, and you'll often solve the problem. If that doesn't work, check the microphone settings within the Google app.

Occasionally, apps running in the background generate audiothat may interfere with the microphone's ability to pick up your voice, so check these too and kill any apps that you think may be generating audio.

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The microphone hole sometimes requires a bout of careful cleaning. / © NextPit

Turn off battery saver mode 

Android smartphones of today feature a dedicated battery-saving mode that kills background processes to make sure you manage to eke as much juice from the battery as possible. An unintended consequence of this is having your Google Assistant (and the OK Google command) stop working because of this. It is a good idea to check whether the battery-saving mode on your phone is enabled before you blame anything else for OK Google not working.

On stock Android, you can check if the Battery saver option is enabled by taking these steps.

  1. Launch Settings.
  2. Scroll down and select Battery.
  3. Select the Battery Saver option and make sure it is off

On other Android skins, the same option may appear under a different name, i.e. Adaptive Battery. 

Battery Saver
'OK Google' doesn't like Battey saver modes! / © NextPit

Update the Google app to the latest version

One possible fix to your OK Google problem is to ensure that your smartphone is running the latest version of the Google App. Here's how you can make sure you're on the newest version of the app.

  1. On your smartphone, launch the Google Play Store.
  2. Search for the Google app.
  3. On the Google app page, check whether there is the option to Update instead of Uninstall.
  4. Update the app by selecting Update to see whether the issue is resolved.

6. Retrain the "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. Here's how you can do so.

  1. Launch the Google app.
  2. Select Settings, followed by Voice.
  3. Select Voice Match and then under the This Device tab, enable the alert slider for Hey Google.
  4. Follow the on-screen steps.

Now that you have reached the end of this article do let us know if these steps helped you fix the issue. Additionally, do let us know if we have missed any useful fixes.


This article was last updated in April 2022. Older comments have been retained, so they might seem out of context.

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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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  • CJ Zettler 2 months ago Link to comment

    "ok google" does not engage the assistant. when the assistant is engaged through the microphone emblem the microphone works fine and OK Google in settings is on.
    What's going on here?


  • Antonio Bayma Jr 3 months ago Link to comment

    I tried everything but the only thing that fixed it was configuring Android Auto to Assistant/Voice Match. It seems that when this feature is turned off or bugged in Android Auto, the same feature for general use on the device is either turned off or faulty.


  • Jeff Gilbert 4 months ago Link to comment

    In my case, Assistant was associated with the wrong gmail account:
    1. Long press on Assistant & select Settings
    2. Change the account from the wrong one to the right one.


  • Seano 8 months ago Link to comment

    Only way I got working was connecting to a pc, then turn off, hold power and volume up. Clear Cache and restarted, wait a few minutes and worked ever since, has been months since worked


  • John Knotts 8 months ago Link to comment

    Thanks for the suggestions. Couldn't get "hey google" to work as before. Turned off battery saving mode and it solved my problem. My only concern is it must have changed during an update, because it used to work with battery saving mode on.


  • Valerie Pennington 9 months ago Link to comment

    Thank you for the help. I just needed to update.


  • chales_smith 10 months ago Link to comment

    informative information


  • Geek Speak 10 months ago Link to comment

    All I had to do was uninstall Google from the app store, then you will see that there are updates available. Don't install the updates and it will work. You will have to enable Google voice again from within the Google settings


  • Jios 10 months ago Link to comment

    These are obvious solutions to the most basic problems. What if it beeps and only listens but the user interface is not showing up? Have you guys ever encountered that?


    • Christine Pettit 10 months ago Link to comment

      My phone just started doing this too! About an hour ago. Google answers but no interface showing.


      • SGS 10 months ago Link to comment

        I had the same problem on an Galaxy S21+. The "Hey Google" would respond by voice but the Assistant interface would not pop up. Fixed it by going to the Play Store, searching for the Google app, unchecking the auto update option on the top right corner three dot menu and clicking Uninstall. This does not remove the Google app but only uninstalls the latest update which causes the problem. Go back to the Voice Match setting and turn it on...and now the Assistant interface pops up as it should.


    • Riks 10 months ago Link to comment

      Just started happening to me as well. Voice trigger only boots up the assistant but no interface. Complies with commands, but only in the background - if I say for instance "hey Google, discord" the app pops up. The assistant interface only comes up if I long press the home button, no voice activation at all. Faulty update.


  • DreamyDimple 10 months ago Link to comment

    Please give the right solution for me 😭
    My device is Redmi Note 9 Pro, and I just updated it to Android 11. Before I experienced Android 11, Google Assistant would always pop up after I gave my voice command, but righy after I updated it to Android 11, it only shows "beep" sound without popping up the navigation box. How to fix it? 😭


    • Jios 10 months ago Link to comment

      The exact problem I was looking for yet this guy explains obvious steps like we're just born yesterday


  • Dkaz 10 months ago Link to comment

    Ronald Larsen thank you for the only response that has actually worked! I saw my last update was from about 5 days ago and had a feeling that was the issue, but I like to give a big name app like Google the benefit of the doubt. After checking/trying every other suggestion, uninstalling that last update did the trick. My husband had the same issue on his phone (newer model than mine) but it fixed itself within 2-3 days, so it really confused us why mine was still messed up. Thanks again!


  • Alain Church 10 months ago Link to comment

    Android 11 - Brand New POCO F3

    No way "Hey Google" work automatically... the magical 4 dots do not appear...
    unless I push the "Home" circle and activate it manually.

    I checked all the article suggestions, plus some more detailed options,
    but found nothing strange !

    The "specific" Google App microphone permission is "Always ON", tough :-(

    Any reasons for that??


    • DreamyDimple 10 months ago Link to comment

      My device is Redmi Note 9 Pro. I just updated it to Android 11, and the Google Assistant did not pop up after I used my voice command 😭


  • brian 10 months ago Link to comment

    I had to retrain the voice model (step 6) - many thanks for your help


  • Dark Nova 11 months ago Link to comment

    Oh look an instruction guide that basically says "We don't want to actually have to figure out what is wrong with our own software, so lets blame everyone elses...."


  • Jim Brown 11 months ago Link to comment

    I had this problem before and managed to get it working using the instructions suggested by Ronald Larsen. I have today lost the ability to use this with Android Auto again. When I initially say 'OK Google' I get the 4 dots as usual and when I say Text ____ that message comes up on the screen along with the 4 dots apparently working. I don't hear anything further and the dots just disappear. If I try saying 'OK Google' again there is no response. I am getting really annoyed by this. Luckily I have handsfree in my car anyway so I can just go back to that but voice commands are so much easier. Any further help would be appreciated.

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