When Amazon Alexa is not working, there are things you can do to get it going again.

We love Alexa and Alexa loves us. . . most of the time. But every once in a while, she stops working and leaves us in trouble.

We were tired of combing the internet for troubleshooting help, so we decided to create a one-stop guide. Read on for tips on how to start Alexa.

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Test, test
We use an Amazon Echo Dot for our Alexa testing and research. But our advice also applies to other versions of Echo, like the standard Echo, Echo Spot, Echo Plus or Echo Show.

Alexa does not answer you

This embarrassing question is what prompted us to write this article in the first place. Every now and then Alexa completely ignores us. Super rude of his TBH.

Here’s what you can do to fix the problem.

Check if the echo is cut

Amazon Echo Dot top view

If Alexa isn’t listening to you, your Echo may be on silent. How do you know? The light ring turns red when the speaker is muted and cannot hear you.

Fortunately, this problem is very easy to solve. Just press the button with the Xed microphone. This will turn off the mute mode.

Unplug the Echo’s power cord

When Alexa isn’t muted but still doesn’t recognize you, try unplugging the plug from the Echo base and plugging it back in. It still works for us.

Alexa can’t complete a task

When Alexa is having trouble, you usually know it (because she tells you). But that begs the question of why she is struggling and how you can help her. Here is what we found.

Check the Wi-Fi connection

The Echo’s light ring turns purple when it can’t connect to the internet. If this happens, troubleshoot your Wi-Fi connection.

Top view of Echo Dot with purple light ring

Photo credit: Unsplash

If the problem is not with the ISP, modem, or router, you can try resetting the Echo.

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The reset button
If all else fails, reset your device entirely. Use a pin to press the small factory reset button on the first generation Echos. For newer generations, simultaneously hold down the microphone and volume buttons. This will Reset your Echo device to its factory default settings, so only use it if you’ve tried everything.

Download skills

Sometimes you haven’t downloaded the Alexa skill for the task you want to perform. Alexa usually tells you if this is the case, but it’s good to recheck when Alexa often struggles with an action.

You can find and download skills on the Alexa app.

Alexa often misunderstands you

Sometimes we meet people we don’t quite understand. Maybe they pronounce the words differently than we do, or they tend to mumble.

Alexa has trouble understanding some people.

In this regard, Alexa is exactly the same as us. She has a harder time understanding some people than others. But do not worry; there are ways that Alexa can understand you better.

Desensitize Alexa to your voice

Get Alexa used to the sound of your voice. Under Settings> Your Profile> Voice, you can try saying different phrases to make Alexa recognize you better. (You may need to delete and re-add your voice profile to do this.)

Work on your diction

What does Alexa think you are saying when you talk to her? Say, “Alexa, tell me what you heard,” and she’ll repeat a recent request. This feature helps you know if there are certain words or phrases that she really stumbles over.

For more information, you can also find transcripts of your conversations with Alexa by visiting Settings> Alexa privacy> Check voice history.

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Dust your echo
Sometimes your Echo speaker gets filled with dust. This may affect Alexa’s ability to hear you.

To resolve this issue, use compressed air to dust your Echo. Do not stick a pin in the speaker – you could damage it.

to summarize

If Alexa ghosts you, most of the time it’s fixable. There are several things you can do to reestablish the connection.

Other smart hubs

The Amazon Echo is primarily a smart speaker, but most people also use it as a smart hub to control their devices. If you’ve had too many issues with Alexa and want to replace it, here are some of our top smart hub suggestions.

Other smart hubs

Smart hub Price Details
SmartThings Hub $ 69.99 * View on Amazon
Wink 2 $ 99.00 * View on Amazon
Iota Mansion $ 299.00 Show hub

*Amazon.com List price (as of 06/07/20 12:20 MST)

Other smart speakers

We haven’t done a thorough review of the most popular smart speakers yet. However, if Alexa doesn’t mute it for you, the following brands sell speakers with voice control similar to Amazon Echo devices:

  • Google / Google Nest
  • Apple
  • His bone
  • Yamaha
  • Bose
  • Roku

Next steps

Now that you know how to fix your echo, here are some possible next steps.

Need an Alexa-compatible security system? We could have a good solution for you.


Is your internet connection difficult? Maybe it’s time to look for better service.