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5 min read 165 comments

"Ok Google" broke down on many phones: 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 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.

'Ok Google' detection currently broken on many phones

The Internet has been abuzz for hours with frustrated users on Twitter, Reddit and Google's support forums claiming that "OK Google" and "Hey Google" voice detection has stopped working on their phones. The issue was affecting users all over the world, and across different manufacturers such as Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi and others.

This error was so infuriating because the one common solution, to simply retrain Voice Match to fix OK Google detection, wasn't working because the options to do so in the settings were grayed out.

However it looks like Google, without any fanfare, has rolled out a fix for this, and it is now possible to retrain Voice Match once more and activate Assistant with your voice again. My own "Ok Google" detection was broken and I managed to fix it using this method!

  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.

Has this fix worked for you? Let us know in the comments!


1. 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 automagically. 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

2. 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.

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

3. Disable S Voice or Bixby if you have a Samsung

Although there is no clear reason why, it appears as though Google Assistant (and the older Google Now) are 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 long press it and select Disable

disable s voice 4
Long press the S Voice or Bixby icon and select the Disable option. / © AndroidPIT

4. 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

5. 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. In order to do this, you'll need to open the Google app and then its main menu, then go to Settings > Voice (under Search) > Voice Match. From there, tap Retrain voice model and say "OK Google" three times, as you did when you initially set it up.

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

Readers' favorite comments

  • Ronald Larsen 6 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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  • I just spent a while troubleshooting this issue and realized the phone was in battery saver mode. Please note that OK Google voice detection does not work when battery saver is enabled!

    • The real answer is always in the comments.

    • Thank you so much! This fixed it for me!

    • OH MY GOD THANK YOU! I've been looking for about an hour and this is my issue. I was going crazy in my car over this. I use battery saver a lot. When you charge the phone battery saver turns off. But I believe it is new in Android v9 that when you unplug again it goes back into battery saver mode. So my phone is basically always in battery saver mode when unplugged. This problem was always there but I never noticed it until the android update.
      Awesome side note: using google assistant on a Pixel 2 to try to fix the problem, it's not smart enough to tell me to to turn off battery saver. The same is true for this article and any other forum I found.

  • Perfect! After trying other fixes that didn't fix anything, I tried your method. It took less than a minute and everything is back to normal. Thanks for posting.

  • It worked like a charm but when I say "ok google" when phone is locked it says "cant reach Google at the moment". Is there a fix for that?

  • Retraining Google Voice work, thanks so much

  • Royp 1 month ago Link to comment

    I have a Samsung s8 with EE. I have been using Google assistant with my Motorola Bluetooth headset. All I have to do is press the button on the headset and say 'call home and it will call my home but now it will only work if the phone screen is unlocked. Unless I enter my unlock code manually all I get is 'sorry I am unable to help with that but I'm learning all the time'. Have disabled s voice son will see how I get on. Anyone else with this issue??

  • I just purchased an LG G7 & found a fix for the "OK Google" problem. It works when I turn off "Battery Saver"! Good luck...

    • THANK YOU!!! I've been having trouble with my Pixel. This worked perfectly.

    • Thank you very much, my LG V20 was working fine until the Oreo update and then Ok Google didn't work. I did what you said and disabled the battery saver function and now ok google works.

    • Oh wow, is Google kidding here? I knew battery saver blocked google assistant but the new battery saver lost the overt orange overlay to communicate that it's enabled and there is no notification to tell me google assistant is unavailable in that mode. This has been a pain for weeks but I'm glad you posted this. Thanks for the help.

    • Jojo 2 weeks ago Link to comment

      Thank you a million. Turning "Battery Saver" off "saved" my LG G6. It worked for me and "OK Google" responded.

    • That's it! Thank you! I have tried everything else I could think of, so was going crazy. Thanks again!

  • Android 9 (Pie) updated killed "OK Google" ability. Not the first time one of their updates on their phone (Google Pixel) has done this. I've done all the usual fixes. Nada. Mic is working fine if I manually select Google app and talk to my mic. Always something.

  • Updated to Pie and now assistant doesnt hear my voice. Embarrassing when standing around saying Hey Google over and over and nothing happens. The assistant was dumb as heck anyway so now I just use my phone to make calls and text and use my laptop for any web searching. Reliability on Droid is horrible. Works one month nothing works the next. It's not a smart phone

  • After one of my updates on my s7 edge, my 'ok google' was no longer active. I tried many times set up my voice, with no success 🤬!
    After trying the 1st part of this article I was able to fix it 😉👍👌! Thank you Android Pit

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