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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.

63 comments

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  • My Android's Google Assistant no longer does anything, either when I tap the microphone icon or when I say "Ok, Google." All that happens in either case is that the colored spinning icon, that's supposed to indicate that the app is working on something, just spins. Forever, until I cancel out of it. I am unable to retrain the voice recognition because, again, when I tap on that option under the Settings, all I get is a forever-spinning color wheel icon. I've already tried soft resetting the phone and reloading the app. Any ideas? Thanks.

  • I have a problem in which the phone detects a voice command when I say nothing. It's really getting to my nerves because I can be alone, hearing music with the headsets on and suddednyl the music stops to get the message of "Please go to google configuration to..."

    The thing is... The headsets do not have a microphone. Does anyone know how to flat out deactivate that? I have and HTC 626

  • Aaron 2 months ago Link to comment

    So yeah Google no longer get any input from my Mic. Everything else does but for some reason goggle doesn't. Google acts like everything is ok but when I start it up to listen it comes up but wont recive anything through the mic. Guess I may have to go and use S Voice.

  • Bill 2 months ago Link to comment

    I read nearly all of the suggestions...finally found one that worked for me on S7 Edge Nougat. Went to Google Play store, search for Google...uninstall...stay on that screen...wait until it show "Update" on the left and "Open" on the right...Do an Update and then start the app. You have to repeat a lot of the steps you've done before but now "Ok Google" works every time from any screen, locked or open.

  • Ok..tried everything..where it says train voice. .I cannot even access it..it's not lit up..I can push it all day..also..people cannot hear me when on speaker phone..they come across perfectly..I sound garbled

    • Try disabling any application that uses the microphone including Google and the Samsung voice apps. if that doesn't work you may have a bad microphone.

  • Bob 2 months ago Link to comment

    My solution was to uninstall/reinstall the program, then it worked fine.

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

  • John Ivy 3 months ago Link to comment

    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.

  • Advocate 4 months ago Link to comment

    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.

  • Rob Heke 4 months ago Link to comment

    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

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