A smart speaker can be a wonderful thing, especially for busy people. You can use it to add items to your shopping list, call your family, search for recipes, play your favorite music, or even play games. And all of that is possible with just the use of your voice.
But a smart speaker, like an Amazon Echo with Alexa, can also be a pain in the neck, especially when it fails to do the one thing it’s designed to—understand your commands.
So if your Alexa keeps saying “I’m having trouble understanding you right now,” we’re here to help fix it.
Why Is Alexa Having Trouble Understanding?
As smart as it is, an Amazon Echo is just a device, which can suffer from technical issues. Luckily, most issues are easy enough to fix—once you get to the root of the problem.
When Alexa is having trouble understanding, the first thing you need to know is that it’s not broken, and you don’t need to get a new device. The problem here is not with the device itself, but with the connection.
Ways to Fix Alexa Having Trouble Understanding
1. Try a Simple Restart
Have you tried turning it off and on again? This advice is the most common one in tech support, as it solves so many problems. The same is true for the Amazon Echo.
If you can’t get it to understand, simply unplug it from its power source, which is either the wall or a battery-powered speaker. Wait a few seconds, connect it again, and wait for the blue light to stop circling before you try to talk to Alexa again.
2. Check Your Wi-Fi
Alexa can only work if it’s connected to the internet. So if your connection is down, the device won’t work as well.
Check if the internet is working on other devices, like your laptop or smartphone. If it is, and Alexa is still not responding, try to reset your router and wait a few minutes before you talk to the device.
3. See If Alexa Is Connected to the Right Network
Maybe you just moved homes and forgot to change the Wi-Fi network on your Alexa app for iOS or Android. Or maybe you changed internet suppliers and forgot to update your Echo. Perhaps someone played with your Alexa and changed the network by mistake.
All of these can make Alexa not understand you. To check if that’s the case, go to the Alexa app on your phone, go to Devices, select your Echo and look under Wi-Fi Network to see that’s connected to the right one. If not, tap Change, and follow the steps on the screen.
4. Bring Alexa Closer to the Router
Even if your internet is just fine and the device is connected, the signal may not be strong enough to reach Alexa. This can happen if the router is on the other side of the house, or in a closet, for example.
To test if this is the case, place the Amazon Echo right next to your router. If it works when you do that, you may want to leave your Alexa in that room or find a new location for the router.
5. Make Sure the Software Is Updated
Alexa automatically connects to its servers on a daily basis to check for software updates. If your device is having trouble understanding, maybe it’s because it couldn’t download the latest version for some reason.
The easiest way to prompt Alexa to check for updated is to press the mute button for 30 seconds. You’ll know the device is connecting to the server, once the red light is gone and the blue circular light appears.
6. Try a Factory Reset
As a last resort, you can opt for a factory reset. This will erase your saved routines, alarms, and reminders, and basically revert the device to how it was when you first plugged it in. However, this may be the thing to get it working again.
You can do a factory reset through your app. Find your device on the app, as described in step 3. Under Device Settings, scroll down until you see Registered To. Tap Deregister to continue with the reset. You can also use the buttons on the device to do this. Here’s the full guide on how to reset your Amazon Echo.
After you complete the factory reset, you’ll have to reconnect it to your home Wi-Fi in order for it to work. Here’s how to connect Alexa to Wi-Fi with or without the app.
If Nothing Works, Go to the Source
If you go through all of these steps, and you’re Alexa is still having trouble understanding, the problem may be with Amazon itself.
Check to see if Amazon servers are down with a site like DownDetector, or reach out to Amazon support on their website.
The future is now. Here is everything you can say to your Alexa, available in a free PDF to print off and keep handy.
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