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OK Google is not 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 in to 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. Watch your language

Google Now currently only responds to US English. Although this will be the default language for many users, it's still worth checking in the Language section of your phone's Settings menu and altering as required. 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
Always check that the default language is set to English (US), / © ANDROIDPIT

2. Check the microphone

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 a sound.

Samsung Galaxy S6 USB port
The tiny microphone hole next to the charging port sometimes requires a careful clean. / © ANDROIDPIT

3. Disable S Voice

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 remove S Voice from your device entirely.

4. Rule everything out

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.

androidpit sony xperia z3 speed test
It may sound obvious but make sure you're connected before you use OK Google./ © ANDROIDPIT

5. Re-train OK Google

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.

33 comments

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  • 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?

  • 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?

    • I will share with you what I did, although I have no way of knowing if this is exactly what made mine start working again. I had the very same problem you're describing, and tried all the options listed here, to no avail. I opened the Google app, opened the 3 horizontal bars at top left, went to Settings, chose Voice, then chose the Question Mark in the circle icon at top right, and sent a Feedback (at the bottom of the page). I described briefly that Voice stopped working for no reason, that I had tried every option listed with no luck. 2 days later, I went to use Google Voice out of sheer habit, and it was working again!! Good luck with yours.

  • What useless help... Come here looking for troubleshooting this on my phone and what is the first thing: Go to Voice... What? Where is voice, because I can't find any program or app on my phone called voice and there is nothing in the settings menu labeled voice which means that either we are talking completely different versions of the Android interface or you need to provide more details about where this 'Voice' is, because I'm looking elsewhere for my answer and not spending half an hour trying to find Voice on my phone.

    PS: yes, I see the part about changing settings in the languages, but I don't see Voice in that area of the menu.

    • You can find voice in the settings menu in the Google app. Hope I could help!

    • Hope I can help. If you go to the icon called Apps, (a square full of little boxes), and choose the G inside a circle Icon, then the 3 bars at top left, and Settings, you will find Voice. Also, if your Voice has stopped working, refer to the reply I posted to Joshua (above yours) and maybe that will work for you too. Good luck.

  • When i say Okay Google the screen comes on but does not make an opening sound. If I'm not looking at the screen I don't know when to start talking. I've looked for it in settings but simply can't find it. Any suggestions?

  • Paige C 2 months ago Link to comment

    Narrowed it down to Step 5 and that worked. Thanks for the article.

  • I Suddenly had this problem on my Samsung s6. I ended up locating the svoice app and disabled it. Now all good.

  • This article is not correct. There is no option there to retrain voice model on my Samsung Galaxy Core Prime. I'm highly upset.

    • Go to settings, go to Google (in personal section), go to Search & Now, go to Voice, go to "Ok Google" detection, the under "Ok Google" Voice Model at the bottom click Retrain Voice Model. This is for a S6 hopefully it's the same for your phone. Good luck!!

    • I have the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime and I had a similar problem; the fix was to open the Google app itself not Google Now or Google Play- then click the bar in the top left with the three horizontal lines. Your settings should be in there. Hope this helps!

  • Eric 4 months ago Link to comment

    Just wanted to share my solution for anyone else who up might be in the same boat. No Google voice rec services were working on my Nexus 5x. I tried all the methods described in the article to restore functionality. In the end all I had to do was make a quick phone call and magically my mic was working with all voice rec services again. East enough thing to try. Hope it works for you.

  • OK when I first set up OK Google it ran perfectly until one day I decided to retrain Google voice, there I sat with the phone in responsive I tried and tried to no avail then just about a day ago I decided to root my device and now it picks up OK then freezes

    I'm using a blu studio energy 2

  • Tara Vann 6 months ago Link to comment

    For some reason now, when I touch on "OK Google detection" absolutely nothing happens. Just about an hour ago it reached to me pushing it. But then I was told that my Google Search needed to be updated. Do I sent to the Play Store and did so. And it's since then that I can't got that option to react to me pressing it. Sand truth be told, AAAAALLLLLLLL of this started because the box that pops up and has the red button in the middle of a black box to record what j day. Well suddenly that block box turned white and nothing cud be read in it. And when I looked it up, there were as LOT of people having the same issue. Well I got that issue taken care of and not it's the"Ok Google Detection" option not responding to my touching it. Any Ideas???

    • Mike R 6 months ago Link to comment

      Having this same issue on my CM phone w/ Gapps.

      I have two theories.
      1. A recent update to the Google app is causing this behavior on KitKat devices.
      2. After changing this setting on a device running Marshmallow, it is interfering with the older device's ability to open up that option on a KitKat device.

      It's driving me crazy right now because it keeps burning through my phone's battery in just a few hours which is why I keep it disabled in the first place.

  • Samsung galaxys duos 2 gts7582 Google play service not supposed /same usjar id

  • I have a problem even when it works! All "formatting" (pause, pound, star) it's dropped from my stored phone numbers when "OK Google" makes the call. What's up with that?

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