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5 min read 194 comments

"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 that should 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

I can be good to know when 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 that "OK Google" and "Hey Google" voice detection has stopped working on their phones. 

Sometimes the most common solution, to simply retrain Voice Match to fix OK Google detection, isn't working because the options to do so in the settings are grayed 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

If Google Assistant 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 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). / © AndroidPIT

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. / © AndroidPIT

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 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.

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The microphone hole sometimes requires careful cleaning. / © AndroidPIT

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. / © AndroidPIT

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, 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.

Did you try turning it on? / © AndroidPIT

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. Assistant should once more respond to your voice as normal.

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

Readers' favorite comments

  • Ronald Larsen 10 months ago

    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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  • If your "Ok Google is not working" then follow this procedure. 10000% working guarentee. For samsung S9+ and other devices.

    Go to setting -> search for " device assistance app" -> click on the search result and select the google -> now go back to main setting page and search for voice match in google setting -> select access with voice match -> Bang -> its start working. 100% working.

  • OnePlus6 user here and Ronald Larsen's Top/Favourite comment on this post...it worked for me very smoothly! I just didn't re-update the Google app yet. I'll update once I do. Even my Google voice assistant stopped responding to "ok/hey Google" outside the voice assistant app, randomly one day. I'm thinking it was because of the Android Pie update maybe, but anyway, Google app update rollback to factory version worked!

  • My issue started after my phone (LG v20) updated to Android oreo. The commands "Hey Google" and "Ok Google" are detected by my device then the search pop-up will come up but the voice recording chime doesn't come up. So even if I speak after the two commands and I see the four colored dots at the bottom move as I speak, my inquiry does not get through. Still have to press the mic icon to get my voice commands and questions to work. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  • If "Battery Saver" is on, then Google Assistant will not be monitoring for your voice command. Turn off Battery Saver, then your voice of OK Google will be responded.

  • Thanks for helping tips

  • I found out my LG phone won't allow the "OK Google" to work when I am in battery saving mode. Turned off battery saving mode and all is now well.

  • storm 1 month ago Link to comment

    This is a feature I intentionally disable.

  • How fix my issue in samsung s8..

  • My ' hey Google' is not working, Nokia 7 plus. It's on Android p and I've tried retaining voice. The recorder just keeps searching for voice command. However, in the normal mode when I open Google assistant through screen two, the recorder works fine for other commands. Please help.

  • I travel a lot use my "Hey Google". The latest software update I lost Google assistant. I have a Samsung Galaxy 9+. I tried everything mentioned and no luck. When I am in the voice section, "retrain voice" is grayed out. I also can not select " I hold down the home key and google comes up, but i have to tap the microphone icon and then google assistant works. It should be hands free.

  • "I just experienced this problem but fixed it in a way I don't understand. Farther down that same settings page that has the toggle for "Access with Voice Match", I had to toggle on "Use Screen Context." Worked for me after that.
    Yep. Took me a month to figure this out, even with your comment... Moderately pissed off.
    I had to:
    1. Toggle 'Use Screen Context' off (since it was on already)
    2. Toggle 'Google Assistant' off
    3. Go back to the previous page
    4. Re-enter the phone's voice settings
    5. Toggle 'Use Screen Context' on again
    6. Toggle 'Google Assistant' on again
    7. Am now able to turn on 'Access with Voice Match'

    Not 100% sure if I did everything in that order, or if they're all vital to making it work, but those are all the things I did to fix it (crucially the going out and back into it thing). Happy Googling, friends." from another thread these 2 cracked it

    • I've tried every suggestion... This actually worked. I didn't know what you meant at times but I went back undoing in order you suggested.. So far so so good.. one phone down, three tablets an Amazon fire, and another phone to go... Good times....🤪

  • I have a Huawei mate 10 pro and ok goole works as long as i don't clear the phones memory. If a restart the phone it starts working again. I should add I'm swedish, but google assistant answers happily in swedish when it works.

  • Ivo F 2 months ago Link to comment

    Mine was also not working due to the battery saving mode!

  • Well, I don't know what's going on with mine. When I tap the microphone to start talking, I only can get a few words done, Either it shuts off and I have to start it again or, it will stay on and I can see the word listening, as I'm talking nothing happens. Very frustrating.

  • Many great suggestions here but the one I had on a Pixel 2 wasn't covered. I tried all listed comments. Google Assistant was working as was voice recognition if I first started Assistant either by clicking the app or squeezing the phone but Assistant wouldn't start hands free. Google pushed "battery saver" with the "Pie" update & forced battery saver on. Turns out battery saver blocks hands-free activation of Assistant, so if you want to activate Assistant by saying "OK Google" or "Hey Google", turn off battery saver.

    • Wallllyyyyy...that was it.....wish the original post suggested that would have saved me some time. No even sure why bat saver was on.

    • Bingo! Turned of Battery Saver and now voice recognition works as it should on my LGG6 phone. Thanks!

  • After a few days my voice recognition would simply not respond. I went to the app sttings and allowed it to access storage and it's been working ever since.

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