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Hey Google Not Working? 12 Simple Fixes

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If you’ve ever taken a long car ride with a young child, you know that curiosity knows no limits.

“How much longer until we get there?”

“What’s the weather like back home?”

“That’s a funny name for a town! What does it mean?”

“How do bees pee?”

Your hands are on the wheel; your child is demanding answers. Luckily, you have a secret weapon: “Hey, Google,” you ask, and you can both know the answer to the latest question in seconds. 

Beyond satiating your random bits of curiosity with a hands-free Google search, the Google Assistant app has become a reliable tool for quick and helpful resources like calendar updates, setting alarms and timers, turning up the heat on your Nest thermostat at home, and sending text messages. 

We rely on these hands-free assists so much daily that it is incredibly frustrating when Hey Google goes silent on you. 

Luckily, there are a few simple fixes that can get Hey Google back up and running in a majority of cases. Most of the time, it is a simple adjustment to a setting or an easy fix to an external factor such as your Internet connection.  

If you try all of the tips and tricks below, and Hey Google is still giving you the cold shoulder, there may be a deeper issue with your phone – and it may be time to look for a new one. Our Phone Deal Finder below will help you sort through the best phone deals to find the best price on a new phone. 

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First thing is first, though: let’s look for a quick fix to your current issue with Hey Google.

Why Is Hey Google Not Working?

Hey Google may not be responding for many reasons: losing an internet connection, running low on power, or competing with background noise and interference from other voice assistant apps. We’ll go through them one by one, starting with the most common and easiest fixes and working our way through to more complex suggestions.

Restart Your Phone

This catchall trick really does resolve many problems.

Recommendations abound to power down your phone occasionally, including a recent Reader’s Digest article that suggests turning your phone off at least once a week. Restarting helps correct simple connectivity issues, clears your cache, and reset any battery-draining apps running in the background.

To shut down your Android device (short of letting the battery drop to zero), you will want to hold down the power button and volume down button on the side of your phone. This works either from your lock screen or when your phone is awake.

Go to a Quieter Location

Do you need to set a timer for a meal you are cooking? The crackling sound of the ingredients coming together on the stove may have drowned out your voice calling, “Hey, Google,” to your phone across the room on the other counter.

Background noise can interfere with our attempts to access the Hey Google features. Head to a different room or turn down the heat and try Google Assistant again to see if that might be the problem.

Check Your Internet Connection

Whether you are home, at the office, or connecting to a mobile hotspot while on the go, Hey Google needs access to internet connectivity to tap into its “brain” to provide you with quick and dependable assistance.

Cell service is inconsistent in some areas, so it’s not uncommon for your Google Assistant to need a moment to respond (or worse: not respond at all) if you’re in an area with patchy coverage. 

To resolve this issue, check your phone’s status bar at the top of your screen to ensure you have a connection, then try to wake Hey Google again.

If you don’t have a good connection, make sure you’re connected to home or public WiFi if it’s available. If you’re out and about, turn airplane mode on and back off to try to force your phone to reconnect to the nearest cell towers. If all else fails, move somewhere where you know you’ll get a better signal.

Enable Google Assistant

We don’t want to overlook the obvious – let’s make sure  Google Assistant is installed on your device. To do this, navigate to the Google Play Store on your phone and search for Google Assistant. It will show a button with “Install” if it has not yet been installed on your device.

If the app is already active on your phone, you will see two buttons: "Uninstall” and “Open.” Click Open and use the voice command, “Hey Google.” 

Update Google Assistant

Sometimes, after completing the steps above to confirm the app is installed on your device, you’ll notice an “Update” button instead of “Open.” Developers always find ways to improve their applications, and Google is no exception.

An out-of-date app can cause issues with performance and reliability, so it’s always worth checking for updates when Hey Google isn’t working as you expect. Once you switch to the latest version of your favorite Google app, you might be pleasantly surprised that Hey Google responds faster and has more features than before.

Check Google Assistant’s Language

According to communications expert George Bernard Shaw, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” While it has much broader applications, it’s also true when dealing with your Google Assistant. If we don’t speak and understand the same language, we can’t communicate, and neither can Google Assistant. 

Open the settings in Google Assistant and click the language settings. From there, you can select your desired language. Make sure it’s the same one you’re speaking and hasn’t been swapped over to another language by mistake.

Reset Voice Match

When you set up Google Assistant, you would have been prompted to train it to your voice with a setting called Voice Match. This helps it respond specifically to your tone and accent. If you missed setting it up, or accidentally unenabled it, Google Assistant may be having trouble recognizing and understanding your voice commands. 

To do this, open your Google Home app, navigate to settings at the bottom right of the screen, and scroll down to find the Google Assistant settings, including Voice Match. Ensure permissions for Google Voice Match are turned on.

From there, you can either set up Voice Match or improve recognition accuracy by teaching your Google Assistant your voice again.    

Turn Off Battery Saver and Adaptive Battery

Phones are smarter than we give them credit for sometimes. If your battery is low, your phone might have switched to power-saving mode to help it last longer. Or, you inadvertently turned it on yourself. Power-saving mode restricts functions to save power and can affect Hey Google.

You can check whether your phone is in power-saving mode on either the Android Quick Settings pull-down menu bar or in your phone’s main Settings application. From either location, find the Battery section and deselect power saving. 

Disable Other Voice Assistants

When it comes to voice assistants, we live in a world of plenty. You may have other virtual helpers installed on your phone, such as Amazon Alexa, Bixby from Samsung, and many others.

If you have downloaded and activated another voice assistant, it may interfere with some of the functions of Hey Google. We recommend clearing the slate – disable all other voice assistants until Hey Google is back up and running normally.

To disable a voice assistant, open the Settings menu and look for the section for voice assistants or voice commands. From there, find the voice assistant app you want to disable and toggle it off. You can also delete the app if you no longer wish to use it.

Check If Google Is Down

Sometimes, outages hit even our most reliable networks. If Google is temporarily down for one reason or another, Google Assistant will not be able to access its features. 

Search for known current outages with Google on a status checker like You can also check Google’s website and social media channels for updates and estimated restoration times if there is a widespread issue. The good news is that Google is so dependable that it shouldn’t be long before it is back up and running smoothly.

Update Your Device

Manufacturers of our favorite Android devices are always working on new features, fixing bugs, and patching security risks. They roll out updates to ensure our devices function at peak performance for as long as possible.

Some users choose to have the latest updates automatically installed, but it’s always best to make sure a vital software update isn’t missing on your device. Some updates are rolled out to patch security issues, and if that’s the case, Hey Google may not work until you have the latest update installed, just to ensure that your information isn’t being exposed to a potential security risk.

To check for software updates, in your phone’s Settings app, click Security & Privacy. Scroll down to Updates, which will list any recommended actions.

Take Your Phone to a Repair Shop

At this point, you are familiar with the settings of your phone and applications. You’ve checked your network and WiFi and even checked in on Google to see if the problem is with them, not you.

Some things, though, may be beyond your basic DIY repairs. Damaged microphones or speakers and corrupted software might require a repair shop visit to fix Hey Google. In these cases, you may need to find a reputable retailer or repair shop in your area.

The Bottom Line

At the panicked moment of Hey Google not working, one thing is clear: it has become a helpful and valuable resource. Google Assistant truly does enable you to be more productive and efficient, giving you hands-free leeway to do other things. 

When Hey Google doesn’t respond as reliably as you expect, it can be frustrating and disruptive to your everyday life.

The troubleshooting steps listed above will hopefully get Hey Google back up and running the way you need it to. If not, you may have a new phone in your immediate future. Our free and unbiased Phone Deal Finder can help you find the best deals on mobile devices.

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