"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, and at times the best tech just doesn't work. In this article, we have listed the steps you can take if the OK Google or Hey Google voice command has stopped working on your phone.

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Simple steps to identify the problem

Sometimes you do not need to perform long-drawn, complex troubleshooting steps to fix a nagging issue. The solution could be something very basic. And that is exactly what we want to do here. Before we try out some of the more difficult steps, let us try 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 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 and turn off Google Assistant (and, therefore, the OK Google command). Before you even start doing the major troubleshooting steps, make sure Google Assistant is enabled in the first place. 

Here's how you can do it.

  1. Open the Google app on your phone
  2. Tap the More option on the bottom right corner
  3. Tap on Settings
  4. Tap Google Assistant
  5. Scroll down to General
  6. Make sure the Google Assistant toggle is set to on.
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 above
  2. Tap on Voice and then tap Voice Match
  3. Make sure the 'Hey Google' toggle is on.

Make sure you're connected to the internet

This may be stating the obvious, but for most uses, Google Assistant does need Wi-Fi or mobile data to operate, 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. 

 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.' 

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, perform the following steps:

  1. Open the Google app on your phone.
  2. Tap the More option on the bottom right corner
  3. Tap on Settings
  4. Tap on Voice
  5. Check what language options are checked and make sure that the selected language is the one applicable to you.

This same menu will also show you 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 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 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 that may interfere with the microphone picking up your voice, so check these too – and close any that you think may be making noises.

AndroidPIt google pixel XL 9848
The microphone hole sometimes requires 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 that your Google Assistant (and the OK Google command) stops working because of this. It is a good idea to check if the battery-saving mode on your phone is on before you blame anything else for OK Google not working.

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

  1. Open Settings
  2. Scroll down and tap Battery
  3. Tap the Battery saver option and make sure it is off

On other Android skins, the same option may appear under the name 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 not working problem is to ensure that your phone 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, open the Play Store.
  2. Search for the Google app.
  3. On the Google app page, check if you see the option to update instead of Uninstall.
  4. Update the app by clicking 'Update' and try if the issue is resolved

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. Here's how you can do it.

  1. Open the Google app.
  2. Tap the More option on the bottom right corner.
  3. Tap on Settings and then tap on Voice.
  4. Tap Voice Match and then select the option that says 'Teach your Assistant your voice again.'
  5. 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 June 2021. Older comments have been retained.

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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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  • 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...."

  • 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.

  • @ Ronald Larsen from 2018 comment. Your method still tried and true. Worked perfectly. I've done everything. Now Google is baked in system (androids) cannot be deleted nor can Bixby. So when others say disable Bixby you really can't. I deleted Google assistant. Deleted voice but once I did that the toggle for hey google won't stay on I couldn't even get it to move. Also when I tried to retrain my voice, just got a blue circle for a few seconds than a error message saying cannot connect try again or dismiss. I messed with all the settings, force stopped the apps ( Google, Chrome and assistant) cleared cache and data for all 3 nothing.
    I compared my settings to my son's all the same. Yet his goggle assistant works just as it did prior to the new April 2021 update. My kids have the same phone as me. My daughter's did the same as mine. Assistant only works from home screen holding down the home button. At first got 4 or 5 colorful Google lines had to tap those to get the mic going than it'd work. That stopped. I thought it was my android auto. Tried to mess with those settings. So don't despair my fellow frustrated Google assistant lovers. I posted this on the Google store assistant app review because I've left numerous feedback comments in help sections in my Google home page with no help back or emails. My only extra bit of advice on top of Ronald's is make sure you disable the auto updates as I stated in my review I left. You have limited characters so I tried to be brief. In the search for those that aren't that tech savvy or newer to technology, open the Google play store in search bar type in Google click on it, do not open it or uninstall it. If you already uninstalled the updates do not clicked on install updates. On the upper right corner there are 3 dots click those and uncheck auto update. Do this for Google Chrome and assistant as well. Until Google figures out the bugs I'm leaving it as is.

    So here's my review I left on Google play for Google Assistant with Ronald's instructions somewhat updated. I have the Samsung Galaxy s21+. FYI, all Google kept relaying to the same complaints were go to the Google app and leave feedback in the community and someone will get back to you. Guess what?? NO responses! I'm hoping this helps atleast one person. I've wasted hours. Please pass it along if it helps!!

    I FIXED IT MYSELF. ANDROID USERS GO TO SETTINGS/APPS/select GOOGLE/UPPER RIGHT CORNER THERE'S 3 DOTS, select uninstall updates. Went into assistant app on home screen tapped mic said train voice followed directions. Everything back to pre UPDATE settings. MAKE SURE IN PLAY STORE & SEARCH FOR GOOGLE, CHROME & ASST APPS/UPPER RIGHT DESELECT AUTO UPDATES FOR THE FUTURE UNTIL THEY DEBUG THIS. I'M so happy they've still not responded to any feedback left on numerous occasions & THEY GET PAID!

  • I have a Samsung note 8 and cannot get the voice match to toggle on.. I keep getting a "trouble connecting" message.. I was told to update my android system webserver but it's disabled with no enable option.. I have no idea how it was disabled?

  • Oni 2 months ago Link to comment

    Oh my goodness thank you Doug!!!! the battery saver was my problem too!!!! Once I turned it off after reading your info it worked beautifully. Two months of trying everything .....google frustration!!! . Unbelievable!!!!

  • 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 10 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 Apr 5, 2020 Link to comment

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

  • MrG Feb 10, 2020 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 Jan 31, 2020 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.

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