Amazon Echo problems: top-down view with ring light colored red.

Smart speakers make daily task management easier, usually. However, sometimes they miss the mark and the Amazon Echo is no exception. While it’s one of the more popular smart speakers available, users tend to repeatedly run into the same Amazon Echo problems. Rather than experiencing buyer’s remorse, here are some easy fixes to get Alexa and Echo working harmoniously again.

Editor’s note: Most of these tips apply not only to the entire Amazon Echo family, but also the majority of third party Amazon Alexa speakers. 

Related: 10 best skills and apps for Alexa

Alexa is unable to find devices

If Alexa can’t locate and activate your various smart home devices when you ask it to, consider a few things before calling it quits. While this sounds redundant, double check the device you’re trying to connect is compatible with the Echo. Sure, the speaker tends to work with most on-brand products but a few odd birds aren’t supported.

Amazon Echo 4th gen hero
How to reset Alexa devices: Echo, Echo Dot, and more

If your problem is that the devices are compatible, but Alexa just can’t find them, something is wrong. Make sure to use the right commands, as Alexa can be a bit finicky when it comes to syntax. For example, “Alexa, turn the volume down by 10” is different than “Alexa, turn the volume down a bit.”

What’s more, this may not actually be an issue with the device in question. If that’s the case, just power restart the device and it should be fine after that. To be safe, you can power the Echo on and off too.

One of the most common Amazon Echo problems is how Alexa activates without warning

Amazon Echo problems: Dot image on white surface with Android figurine in background.
Amazon Echo problems include proprietary devices that tend to activate Alexa when you don’t want it to.

Just like a newborn, Alexa is always awake and it’s always listening. For the most part, this is a feature instead not a bug, because Alexa can activate at a moment’s notice with the “wake word.”

If you say, “Hey, can you start the laundry,” and the sentence is intended for your spouse, Alexa won’t lift a virtual finger. This is good since we don’t always want Alexa doing our chores. However, if you say, “Alexa, can you start the laundry?” You would expect it to begin without a hitch, and that’s typically the case.

Sometimes, though, users experience the opposite problem, where you’re listening to a podcast and a commercial airs with the hot word “Alexa.” In this instance, you didn’t summon Alexa to do anything, but it interprets its hot word as a command and may perform an action you didn’t want. Not only can this be confusing for first-time smart speaker owners, but it quickly gets annoying.

If your latest Netflix binge has a character named Alexa, it may be best to mute the Echo's mic when streaming the show.

If your favorite TV show has a character named Alexa, just mute the Echo’s microphone when you’re watching TV. It’s an extra step, but worth it to avoid hearing Amazon Alexa chime in every other scene.

Perhaps it’s such an issue that you want to change the wake word altogether, in that case, it’s just a few basic steps:

  • Open the Alexa app.
  • Click Settings.
  • Select your device from the list.
  • Click on the Wake Word option.
  • Choose your preference between the four choices: “Alexa,” “Amazon,” “Echo,” or “Computer.”

As of now, you can’t come up with your own hot word for Alexa, but that may change with future updates.

Alexa doesn’t perform skills

Alexa can perform over 50,000 skills, so it’s no wonder some act up or don’t always execute properly. If a given skill isn’t doing what you anticipated, it may just be a bunk skill. With that many options, it would be remarkable if all of them were noteworthy.

When opening the Alexa app, you can tab over and explore Your Skills, which is a list of skills you’ve used with Alexa. Find the specific skill giving you trouble and select Manage Preferences. From there, turn it on and off. For most cases, that should be fine. However, in some instances, just like uninstalling and reinstalling apps, you have to disable and enable an Alexa Skill. Once that’s completed, restart the Echo and the issue should be solved.

Alexa can’t stay connected to Wi-Fi

Amazon Echo problems: Amazon Echo, Google Home Mini, and Google Home top-down image on wood table.
Unfortunately, Alexa isn’t the only virtual assistant that occasionally struggles to remain connected to Wi-Fi.

This isn’t a problem limited to Alexa devices, it seems every smart speaker sporadically disconnects on occasion. If this becomes persistent among your Amazon Echo problems, there are a few methods to try.

First, turn off all relevant devices including the Echo, modem, router, and any other smart device controlled by Alexa. Then reboot it, basic IT stuff here.

If the problem remains, move your speaker as far from the devices while still being within range. When doing so, keep it close to the router and switch it over to a 5GHz network to lessen interference. If that doesn’t work either, you may have to contact Amazon support.

Streaming service performance is inconsistent

Spotify logo.
Spotify is at the root of many Amazon Echo problems.

One of my and others’ favorite features of the Echo is streaming music seamlessly from Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora, and iHeartRadio. Unfortunately, sometimes these services experience more track skipping than true wireless earbuds. In this case, the problem probably isn’t the Echo, but rather Wi-Fi interference, which was addressed in the previous section.

Now, Spotify seems to cause the most trouble. If you’ve tried troubleshooting and you’re still experiencing these Amazon Echo problems, you may have to unlink and re-link your premium account.

  • Open the Alexa app.
  • Click on Settings > Music & Media > Spotify.
  • Click on Unlink account from Alexa, and confirm.
  • Click on Link account on
  • Follow the prompts to log back in.

Related: Apple will allow Apple Music on Amazon Echo devices

Alexa takes your calls, all of them

Amazon Echo problems: first gen base.
When setting up your Echo to be able to make calls through Alexa, you’re also giving it permission to reroute incoming calls through the virtual assistant, which may not be desired.

Amazon Echo devices support voice calls, which lets you make calls through Alexa, similarly to initiating calls with Google Assistant. This is hugely useful for intended, outgoing calls, but it can cause issues receiving them.

When letting Alexa make calls, you must provide your phone number. This can cause of the most common Amazon Echo problems, as it also makes Alexa receive all the calls made to that number, whether you set it to or not.

You have a few options here: disable the feature completely, or activate “do not disturb” for your Echo smart speaker. You could also use Google Voice and set it up specifically for Alexa-routed calls, but it’s a circuitous solution at best.

Alexa can’t hear you

Amazon Echo problems: Top-down image of the Amazon Echo.
Sometimes, the microphones struggle to register distant voices.

Although the Echo is equipped with a seven far-field microphone array, it doesn’t always register the hot word. There could be a few things mucking up the works here. Perhaps you have a specific accent or cadence Alexa struggles to interpret. However, in time Alexa will learn to recognize you.

  • Open the Alexa app.
  • Click on Settings > Voice Training.
  • Run through any or all of the 25 sample commands to read aloud.
  • Echo will record them and recall your speech pattern

Another issue could be a physical one: rooms are filled with barriers, from support beams to your feline’s luxurious cat condo. Any of these fixtures can impede the microphone’s ability to properly pick up audio. Rearrange the room a bit and keep loud appliances at bay, and see if that helps.

Echo notifications are too loud

This is one of the more bearable Amazon Echo problems, but it exists nonetheless. If your notifications are too loud or too quiet, the settings may be out of sync with Alexa’s volume. For instance, a timer may go off with the loudness of a fire alarm and be too jarring. To fix these, follow these steps.

  • Open the Alexa app.
  • Click Settings.
  • Select your device.
  • Click Sounds.
  • Adjust the slider to your liking.

These are the most salient Amazon Echo problems that users run into. Hopefully, this solved the issue and you can return to enjoying your speaker. Worst case scenario, just factory reset your Echo. True, it’s a pain since it requires you to completely re-inform Alexa and reconfigure the Echo, but it should do the trick if all else fails.

If you’re experiencing other issues we didn’t address, let us know in the comments and we’ll figure a solution.

Next: Best headphones with Google Assistant integration