Alexa Device is Unresponsive: 5 Common Reasons and Fixes

Alexa is pretty much everywhere these days. You can download an app on your iOS or Android devices if you like this virtual assistant more than the ones you get on smartphones. You can even install it on your computer. I’m trying to say that if you’re looking for that experience, it’s not just on Amazon Echo devices. In fact, as of 2022, there were estimated to be more than 100,000 different products compatible with Alexa.

Despite this, these smart home speakers made by Amazon still remain the most common way that people will choose to interact with Alexa because of how convenient they are. This is evident from the estimated 82 million units expected to be shipped worldwide in 2022. This convenience has made Alexa such a staple of daily life, whether to check the weather, ask for a recipe, get directions, or simply play music.

However, like all tech, you may run into situations where your Alexa device is unresponsive, and you have no idea what you’re supposed to do. It can be confusing if you’re not a tech person, but the good thing is that there are many ways that you can fix your Alexa not responding. Let’s talk about the different reasons why this happens and learn how to fix them.

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Why is my Alexa device unresponsive?

The first question you probably ask yourself when Alexa is not responding is to ask what the possible causes of such behavior could be? After all, in some cases, no matter how much you try to fix it yourself, it might not be possible. This is especially true when it results from a severe hardware or software problem on the OEM level.

However, there are quite a few potential causes of Alexa not working or listening to you out of nowhere. Let’s hope that yours is one of the more straightforward causes if your Alexa doesn’t respond.

The following are causes of an unresponsive Amazon Echo or Alexa device:

Alexa servers are down

When you speak to Alexa, she processes what you said into a form that can be sent over to Amazon’s servers. Here, it is processed, and a reply is sent back, which Alexa then reads out to you. This is why you need to have an internet connection to use Alexa.

When the Alexa server is unresponsive, you will also have your Echo device unresponsive to any commands or questions that you deliver. Fortunately, you can check social media or websites like Downdetector. It will help determine whether it’s a general outage or if you are the only one who has Alexa not responding to commands.

Poor internet connection

Similar to the above reason, you’ll be dealing with your Amazon Alexa not working right if your internet connection is poor. This is because Alexa will not be able to send your query or command to the servers on Amazon’s side. Without this connection, you may have to deal with an unresponsive device.

Device is muted

What if it only seems like your Alexa device is unresponsive. Still, it has actually been responding to you the whole time? This can happen if your device is muted and you never notice!

The good part is that it is easy to notice if your device is muted. You will see that the indicator light on the Echo device is red when this is the case. If you catch this, be sure to unmute the device and try again. You should have better luck now.

Voice is not recognized

Alexa can recognize pretty much any straightforward English, particularly those with American or British accents. But it might not be able to hear what you’re saying if your voice is too different from the voice profile set-up or if you are not speaking clearly.

You’ll need to make sure that you speak at a loud volume and enunciate your words clearly. You might have thought Alexa stopped working, but all this time, it was simply because you weren’t speaking clearly enough.

Software glitches

The bane of pretty much any technological platform is software glitches and bugs. These are never intended, so no matter how hard developers try to get rid of them, they might pop up whenever they feel like it. For example, there can potentially be a bug that stops your Alexa from working right and responding.

The fortunate part is that in many cases, these software glitches can usually be solved with some easy steps from the user’s side. Unfortunately, in some instances, it will require Amazon’s intervention to fix things.

How can you fix your unresponsive Alexa device?

Is your Alexa not responding to everything you say, whether you plead with her or scream out commands? Well, I understand your frustration. Fortunately, there are many different fixes that you can give a shot in case your Alexa doesn’t respond to you.

Summon Alexa audibly

You notice Alexa not responding to commands may simply be because she doesn’t know that you’re calling her in the first place. “Alexa” is the default wake word on Amazon Echo devices. Are you making sure to enunciate her name well enough, and are you sure she can hear you from the distance you’re at?

Also, make sure that you have not changed the wake word for your device at any time. After all, if you changed it to “Shirley” yesterday, no matter how many times you say “Alexa,” she won’t respond to you!

Restart the Echo device

Knowing how to restart Alexa is one of the easiest ways to fix a random slew of software problems that you might face. So here’s a pro-tip: you should know how to restart any tech you buy because this simple move can fix all sorts of problems!

Restarting Alexa is a piece of cake. If the Echo runs on batteries, just take them out and put them back in. If it runs on mains power, unplug it and plug it back in.

Switch to a reliable internet connection

If your Alexa won’t connect to WiFi, there’s no way that she will be able to respond to you. Even if you have a WiFi or cellular connection, it simply isn’t reliable. So make sure that you have a trusted internet connection to connect Alexa.

One thing that can help reduce the distance between the device and the wireless router. This will help the device get a strong signal.

Reset Alexa

If your Alexa is not responding, you can try to reset it. Keep in mind that there are a lot of devices made by Amazon that use Alexa, so there are way too many steps for me to list when it comes to resetting your Echo. Instead, you can check the device’s manual in question or find your model in this list from Amazon.

Use the original power adapter

Alexa must get as much juice as she needs to power her internals. If you’re using a cordless model, you don’t need to worry about this. However, if your Echo needs to be plugged in, make sure you use the original adapter. This can help if your Alexa device is unresponsive.

Remove any obstructions

Having walls, furniture, or other obstructions around or in front of your Echo device can stop it from being able to hear you clearly. It may seem like you’re dealing with your Amazon Alexa not working, but it is simply a case of it not being able to hear you! So make sure to keep the area close to your Alexa device clear of any large obstructions.

Update Alexa firmware

Issues with Alexa not working caused by software bugs could have potentially been fixed in an update pushed out by Amazon. The good thing is that it is a straightforward process to update your device.

Open the Alexa app on your smartphone, go into Settings, and then head to the About section. Take a note of the Device Software Version and compare it to the one on this page. If the number on your app is lower, you need an update.

Just ask Alexa to “check for software updates,” and that’s it! She will do the rest! This is one of the best ways to fix things if Alexa stopped working.

Credits: Thanks for the photo to Canva.

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