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OK Google isn't working: here's how to fix it

Google Now was supposed to help us all exist in a futuristic utopia where we carried our own permanently available assistants in our pockets. But instead, many 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 that should get the voice recognition software working and keep your thumbs free from the risk of repetitive strain injury.

1. Check your language settings

If Google Now isn't responding to you, maybe it is because you're speaking the wrong language. US English will be the default language for many users, but it's still worth checking in the Voice section of your Language Settings menu and altering as required. 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 automagically. If you're multilingual, be warned that voice recognition for languages other than English can sometimes be subpar.

Updating your language pack may also solve your problem. Go to Voice > Search Language Settings > Offline Speech Recognition > English (US) > Update Available.

AndroidPIT OK Google Detection from any screen
Check first that the default language is set to English (US). / © AndroidPIT

2. Check the microphone on your device

As a voice-based system, Google Now 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 are making noises which may interfere with the microphone picking up your voice, so check these too – and close any that you think may be making noise.

AndroidPIt google pixel XL 9848
The microphone hole sometimes requires a careful cleaning. / © AndroidPIT

3. Disable S Voice if you have a Samsung

Although there is no clear reason why, it appears as though Google Now and the S Voice feature on Samsung phones like the S6 and S6 Edge are not always compatible. If you have a Samsung with S Voice installed and would prefer to use Google Now, your best bet might be to disable S Voice on your device entirely.

how to remove samsung preinstalled apps
Many of the preinstalled apps from Samsung or Google can only be disabled. / © AndroidPIT

4. Rule out all the simple fixes

This may be stating the obvious but the feature does need Wi-Fi or 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. Also, check to make sure Ok Google is actually turned on.

AndroidPIT router wifi 2
It may sound obvious but make sure you're connected before you use OK Google. / © AndroidPIT

5. Re-train OK Google voice model

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

In order to do this, you'll need to go to the Google Settings App, locate the Search & Now option, followed by Voice then OK Google detection. Now just hit Retrain Voice Model and say "OK Google" three times, as you did when you initially set it up.

Have you had problems with Google Now? Have we missed any useful fixes? Let us know below.

53 comments

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  • In accessibility I changed from Samsung TTS to Google TTS and now it works fine, even when screen is off.

  • This is and has been an none issue way before the release of the pixel. Now we are stuck with 700 dollars of phone that doesn't do what it suppose to do. I feel like they have done it to us again. I'm going back to my Nexus at least it works. These pixels have so many issues. Both software and hardware. I have the Google pixel and I want my dam money back.

  • Fix solution... Very simple turn off all accessiblity .some app may try to turn off mic by help of accessibility might be kingroot app do this and then retrain Google voice its definatily work. After that u'll be able to use Google now in all window 😉

  • I've tried all of this and more. Even removing all updates won't work. Factory reset didn't work. No matter what I do I can not get "ok google" to activate from my home screen or anywhere else. Only when I hold the home button. I just don't know what to do anymore. I've tried everything.

  • My suggestion is to FORGET ABOUT OK GOOGLE because it is NOT Okay!
    It is the ultimate tracker - it's worse than having an ankle bracelet. And this for-profit company is turning much of the population into zombies that are crying to wear the ankle bracelet empowering Google with knowing more about you than you do.

  • I am unable to even you the voice option. I can't push the retrain voice button or the from any screen. It doesn't recognise my voice until I press the mic button? Any ideas. I have been Google hunting for nearly 6 months.

  • I completely powered down (the phone, not me) and when I powered back on little Miss OK Google was back! When in doubt, reboot!

  • Fix solution... Very simple turn off all accessiblity .some app try to off mic by help of accessibility might be kingoroot app do this and then retrain Google voice its definatily work. After that u able to use Google now in all window

  • Ok my google will not load a lot of wep sites I have no idea what is happening it just say the it can't find the server but it worked just 2 minutes ago what is happening

  • My OK Google just stopped listening about a week ago. The microphone is fine. I went though the 20 suggested on-line fixes without any luck and even called my cell phone support. No Joy. I finally went to the ultimate support source ... my young employees. They went into the Google application and remove all updates (you can't uninstall it). I then restarted the phone and of course Google would not work at at. I then updated the Google app and presto! It works again. Simple is good.

  • Using the Google Pixels C I keep getting told the microphone is not working and to reboot the tablet. I Just cannot get it to work at all. The mic works fine on all things it has to, EXCEPT the one thing I want it to LOL

  • Trying to use ok google to phone my wife 'Jude', keeps calling 'Judith Benson'; Changed contact to 'Lewis mam', now when I say ' ok google phone Jude' google says 'calling Lewis mam mobile'. Any ideas?

    • Mark G. 1 month ago Link to comment

      There is a setting within the Google app which allows you to assign a nickname to a contact - saying "brother" will call the assigned contact. This may be what's causing the problem.

  • It continues to tell me google is offline to check my connection but im hooked to wifi and have full service. Anyone have this issue and know how to fix it?

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