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OK Google not working? Here's how to fix it

It's rare if Assistant's voice triggers fail, but it's pretty easy to get things back on track.
By
October 4, 2022
Google Assistant prompt on the Google Pixel 3 XL

For those of us who’ve been around a while, it can still feel like the future when using “Hey Google” or “OK Google” triggers Google Assistant on an Android phone. The illusion quickly falls apart, however, when you use those magic words and nothing happens.

It could be that you didn’t speak loudly enough. There are a variety of potential reasons for OK Google not working though, some of which are no fault of your own.

Also read: Alexa vs Google Assistant

QUICK ANSWER

First, check your settings — make sure that both Google Assistant and “Hey/OK Google" are turned on, and that Assistant is set to the right language. If that doesn't fix anything, try updating the Assistant app, turning off battery saver options, or re-training the OK Google voice model.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS


Rule out simpler fixes

It’s worth scouring around a bit to rule out the simplest issues. For example, check your language settings — OK Google might not be working because you’re speaking the wrong language.

  1. To check or change settings, open Assistant manually, usually by swiping up from the bottom left or right corner of the screen. If you have a Home button, hold it down.
  2. Tap on your profile picture when it appears.
  3. Tap Languages.
  4. Select one language as your primary.
  5. You can pick Add a language if you’re bilingual, but note that some features aren’t available in every language.

Also, check the microphone on your device. There can be debris in the grille that makes it harder for your device to pick up audio. Make sure you’re not in a loud environment, either, since while OK Google detection has improved over the years, noisy surroundings can still render it useless.

Make sure Google Assistant is on

Even more fundamental is whether or not Google Assistant is on in the first place. On your Android device, try to trigger it with the appropriate gesture or button commands instead of your voice. If it’s not active, you should be prompted to change that.

Related:  The Google Assistant commands you need to know

Make sure that the OK Google command is enabled

If your device has Google Assistant, here are the steps to turn on Hey Google/OK Google:

  1. Trigger Assistant via gestures or your Home button.
  2. Tap on your profile picture when it appears.
  3. Select Hey Google & Voice Match.
  4. Flip the Hey Google toggle on if it isn’t already.
  5. You may have to train Assistant on your voice if this is the first time you’re using it.
  6. Check the Other devices tab to make sure all your Assistant-ready devices have Voice Match enabled.

Turn off battery saver/optimization options

However unlikely, there’s a possibility your phone’s battery saving features might an obstacle, since these can limit performance and non-essential functions. If you want to test this, launch the Settings app, select Battery, then switch off options like Battery Saver.

Update the Google Assistant app

Your OK Google problem might boil down to the Assistant app not being properly updated. To check for any updates, here’s what to do:

  1. Open the Play Store.
  2. Tap your profile picture.
  3. Select Manage apps & device, then the Manage tab.
  4. Tap Updates available.
  5. If Google Assistant needs an update, it should appear here. Check the box next to it, then tap the update button.

More: How to fix Google Assistant problems

Re-train the OK Google voice model

Sometimes, voice assistants can need a bit of re-training in order to improve recognition. Google Assistant is no different, and you can do that without much trouble:

  1. Trigger Assistant via gestures or your Home button (again, if you have one).
  2. Tap on your profile picture when it appears.
  3. Select Hey Google & Voice Match.
  4. Tap Voice model to begin the process.
  5. Check the Other devices tab to make sure all your Assistant-ready devices have Voice Match enabled. They should, but if not, devices won’t be able to recognize you personally.

Read more: The best Google Assistant devices