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Alexa Device Is Unresponsive: 16 Causes & Fixes (2023)

Alexa Device Is Unresponsive

“Alexa, I said turn off the bedroom lights. Don’t give me that silent treatment!”

Alexa can sometimes be hard to predict.

Sometimes Alexa talks non-stop,

Asking whether you want to listen to rain sounds while you sleep.

And sometimes, it doesn’t respond at all.

It can be frustrating, especially if it happens repeatedly.

But there are a lot of ways you can resolve it.

Depending on the issue, troubleshooting an unresponsive Alexa device is no sweat!

Read on to learn:

  • 16 causes of Alexa device not working.
  • 16 easy ways to fix unresponsive Alexa devices.
  • When to soft reset an unresponsive Alexa device.
  • How to change or update WiFi network on Alexa app.
  • And so much more…

Why is my Alexa device unresponsive?

Your Alexa device is unresponsive because the WiFi connection is unstable or has low bandwidth. Alexa may also seem unresponsive if the new smart device isn’t set up, turned off, incompatible, or connected to a different WiFi. Outdated firmware and power connectivity issues can also cause the issue.

Alexa device is unresponsive – 16 causes & fixes

#1: Smart device not set up

Did you buy your smart device recently?

If so, have you set it up already?

Alexa can’t communicate with unregistered devices.

Since Alexa only works with WiFi, your new smart device has to be connected to the WiFi too.

“But this is just an extra pair. I’ve already registered the others before.”

Regardless of whether your new device is an extra pair or not, it must be set up first.

Brand-new devices that are unregistered are considered non-existent.

And Alexa can only detect it once your new device is connected to a WiFi network.

How to fix it:

Most smart devices have a companion app. 

For example, a Roomba robot vacuum has an iRobot Home app.

Check your user manual to see what app you should download.

Typically, the app is named after the device’s brand name.

So, download the manufacturer app. Then, set up your new device by following the on-screen instruction.

#2: Device not connected to the same WiFi network

“My device is already set up, and it is powered on. But why Alexa still doesn’t work?”

Alexa devices can’t detect devices that are connected to a different WiFi network.

These devices are supposed to communicate via WiFi.

And they can’t do that if they are not on the same network.

If Alexa can’t still detect your new smart device, it must be because it’s connected to a different WiFi network.

How to fix it:

First, check on which WiFi network your new device is connected to.

You can do that by navigating the smart device companion app.

To check or change the WiFi network, first, go to the app setting. Then, select “Network Settings” or similar. 

Check if the WiFi network matches the same network connected to your Alexa device.

If not, disconnect from the WiFi. Then, connect with the correct WiFi network.

Make sure that you enter the correct WiFi password.

Here’s a step-by-step video on how to change the WiFi network on your Amazon Alexa device:

Note: Most smart devices only work with WiFi with a 2.4 GHz band. So, make sure that you’re using WiFi with a 2.4 GHz frequency band.

Reading recommendation: Should Smart Devices Be on a Separate Network? The Truth

#3: Not enabled Alexa skill

If the problem remains unresolved after changing the WiFi network, it must be because the setup process is not complete yet.

“But my device is already set up!”

Some devices require that you enable their Alexa skills to complete pairing.

Alexa skills are smart device apps or features inside Alexa’s system.

With this, users can control their smart devices more easily using Alexa.

Review your user manual and see if skill-enabling is necessary for the smart device to work.

How to fix it:

If your smart device has an Alexa skill, make sure to enable it first.

To enable Alexa skills:

  1. Open the Amazon Alexa app.
  2. Go to the menu setting.
  3. Select “Skills & Games.”
  4. Tap the search icon at the top.
  5. Enter skill name.
  6. Then, click “Enable To Use.”

Tip: Command Alexa to enable a skill by saying, “Alexa, enable [skill name].”

#4: Connected device is switched off

“Alexa can control my other smart devices except for my guest room lights.”

Are you sure that Alexa is the problem and not your guest room lights?

Alexa can only control smart devices that are switched on.

Since it works with WiFi, your smart devices should stay on all the time.

Did you have family or friends who slept over?

Perhaps your guests had switched off the lights in the guest room when they left.

If that’s the case, then Alexa won’t be able to control the room lights.

Making it easy to assume that your Alexa device is unresponsive.

How to fix it:

Troubleshooting this problem is fairly easy!

You just have to switch on the lights again manually.

To prevent this from happening again, inform your house guests about your smart home.

Tip: If you don’t want to leave smart devices switched on all the time, consider creating Alexa routines.

#5: Incompatible smart hub

Are your smart devices already set up and switched on?

Are they connected to the same WiFi network?

Have you enabled their Alexa skills already?

Are you using a smart hub?

If you answer “Yes” to all the questions, your smart hub is not compatible with your Alexa device.

Alexa works with thousands of smart devices. But only those that are registered on its system.

So, if your smart hub is not Alexa-registered, then Alexa won’t respond to any of your queries.

How to fix it:

You can check whether your smart hub is Alexa-registered by visiting Amazon’s Smart Home page.

To check the Alexa compatibility of your smart hub:

  1. Visit the Amazon Smart Home page.
  2. Proceed to “Voice Assistants & Hubs.”
  3. Then, enter the smart hub brand or model on the search bar.

If your smart hub model didn’t show up, then your device is not Alexa-registered.

If you’re eager to use Alexa to control all smart devices, replace your smart hub.

Tip: Buy directly from Amazon to ensure that your smart hub is Alexa-registered. Or at least use the Amazon Smart Home as your buying reference.

#6: Unstable internet connection

Most smart devices use WiFi to work and communicate with other devices.

So, if your WiFi is unstable, expect your Alexa device to lag or become unresponsive.

Many things cause your WiFi connection to become unstable, including:

  • Low internet plan.
  • Out-of-range router.
  • Outdated router firmware.
  • Crowded internet network.
  • Loose or damaged wirings.

How to fix it:

Fortunately, fixing an unstable internet connection is easy.

You don’t always have to upgrade your internet plan.

First, try moving your Alexa device closer to the WiFI router and modem. Or at least in the same room.

Doing this is necessary because, according to research, building materials can block and weaken WiFI signals.

Placing Alexa closer to the router will allow WiFi signals to travel shorter and faster.

If moving the Alexa device is not possible, install extra routers in other areas of your home.

Extra routers help distribute WiFi signals on unreachable areas in your home.

You may also wonder: Does a Wi-Fi repeater slow down internet?

#7: Low internet bandwidth

Alexa devices use WiFi to work. And they use more data compared to other devices.

Meaning, your Alexa device can become unresponsive once your internet slows down.

“But I’m subscribed to an unlimited WiFi plan!”

Many WiFi users don’t know it, but your unlimited WiFI plan is not unlimited.

Your internet service provider (ISP) sets a monthly data limit to your plan.

Once you’ve reached this limit, your ISP will throttle your internet.

And that’s why you sometimes experience slow internet speed, usually on the 3rd or 4th week of the month.

How to fix it:

There’s no way you can monitor your exact monthly data usage.

So the best way you can address this issue is to manage your data well.

You can do that by setting a time limit when using certain gadgets. 

For example, you can limit your smart TV usage to 3 hours a day.

Disconnecting not-in-use devices can also save data.

Note: Upgrading your internet plan increases your internet bandwidth as well.

#8: WiFi connection interference

In some cases, Alexa devices can’t receive stable WiFi due to connection interference.

WiFi routers and most smart devices have a 2.4 GHz frequency band.

When these devices with the same band get in contact, they can malfunction.

This is because their frequencies can clash and cause disruption to their connections.

You’ll know if there’s WiFi interference when the connection suddenly slows down or cuts off.

How to fix it:

Prevent WiFi interference by moving certain devices away from your WiFi router.

“Which exact devices should I remove?”

To determine if a device can cause interference, know if it uses radio frequencies.

You can refer to their respective user manuals for that.

These devices can be anything in your house, including:

  • Baby monitors.
  • Radio scanners.
  • Cordless phones.
  • Microwave ovens.
  • Wireless security devices.
  • Other WiFi-enabled devices.

Check out: Is Bluetooth Better Than 2.4 GHz? 7 Factors To Consider

#9: Changed WiFi password

Changed WiFi Password

“My Alexa device is working perfectly well, until today!”

Calm down!

Did you check its WiFi settings?

Perhaps your device got disconnected from your internet.

As you may know by now, your Alexa device won’t work without WiFi.

“But I didn’t disconnect my WiFi.”

Well, have you changed your WiFi password? If so, then that’s the reason why.

When you do that, your WiFI will disconnect from every device.

And that includes your Alexa device.

How to fix it:

You can resolve the problem by reconnecting your Alexa device to your WiFi network.

To connect Alexa device to WiFi network:

  1. Open the Amazon Alexa app.
  2. Go to “Devices.”
  3. Choose “Echo & Alexa.”
  4. Select Alexa device.
  5. Tap the setting icon (gear).
  6. Click “Wi-Fi network.”
  7. Select the appropriate WiFi network.
  8. Then, follow the on-screen instructions.

Once you’ve connected your Alexa device to your WiFi, make sure to do the same to your other smart devices.

#10: Power connectivity issues

“My WiFi connection is stable. What’s the problem this time?”

Alexa devices are not rechargeable.

Meaning they have to be plugged in all the time.

If your Alexa device is unresponsive, check its power adapter.

Is the latter fully plugged into the socket? Are there no bite marks on the cord?

Next, check if the power outlet has a charge by using an outlet tester. You can also try plugging other devices to see if it’s working.

While you’re at it, check if there’s accumulated dirt on the speaker power port.

If any of these mentioned parts are damaged, your Alexa device won’t work. 

How to fix it:

To keep your Alexa device working, make sure it receives sufficient electric power.

Make sure that the power outlet has a charge. And that power adapter and speaker power port are in tip-top condition.

Here are some things you can do to prevent power connectivity issues:

  • Avoid using loose power sockets.
  • Use an Amazon-certified power adapter.
  • Clean the power speaker port once in a while.
  • Place your Alexa device in high areas or shelves.
  • Place your power adapter inside a cable box organizer.

Further reading: Does Alexa Have To Be Plugged In To Work? + Alternatives

#11: Crashing Alexa app

“I created a routine, but Alexa didn’t perform it.”

You can only create Alexa routines through the Amazon Alexa app.

But if it’s crashing or lagging, your new routine may not be saved.

And so, Alexa won’t perform it.

Since the app is malfunctioning, any new input may fail to register.

“Why does it happen?”

Usually, an app crashes if it runs into some software bugs.

These bugs can cause the app’s system to freeze and prevent receiving new data.

The app will only get back to normal once these software bugs are removed.

How to fix it:

Developers remove software bugs by creating new software updates.

And users receive these updates by updating their apps.

Check your app store if there’s an available update for your Amazon Alexa app.

If there’s none, you can try uninstalling and reinstalling the app.

Uninstalling and reinstalling the app delete temporary data on the app’s system. And that includes software bugs.

#12: Malfunctioning manufacturer app

Sometimes it can be the manufacturer’s app that has an issue.

Alexa depends on the Amazon Alexa app. And your smart device also depends on its manufacturer app.

Once the companion app malfunctions, the device can stop communicating with your Alexa.

The companion app acts as a bridge between your smart device and WiFi network.

When the app crashes, your smart device may fail to communicate with your WiFi network.

As a result, the smart device will fail to connect with your Alexa device as well.

And that’s exactly why your Alexa device may appear unresponsive.

How to fix it:

You can fix a malfunctioning app by updating it.

If updating the app doesn’t work, you may try uninstalling and reinstalling it as well.

Note: Uninstalling and reinstalling the app may disconnect your smart devices. Reconnecting your devices is easy but can be time-consuming. So, make sure only to do this if nothing above works.

#13: Outdated Alexa device firmware

“Both the apps work fine. But Alexa remains unresponsive…”

If that’s the case, then the issue must be on the Alexa device itself.

Like smartphones, Alexa devices have firmware. And this firmware updates from time to time.

These updates are necessary to enhance Alexa’s features and improve security protocols.

Normally, Alexa devices update themselves during off-hours.

But then can fail to do so if there are system errors.

If the firmware of your Alexa device is outdated, it can avoid receiving voice and app commands.

How to fix it:

To resolve the issue, update your Alexa device firmware.

“I thought Alexa devices update automatically. How can I do it myself?”

Frankly, there’s no direct way to update Alexa’s firmware.

But you can refresh Alexa’s system. Doing this removes bugs and allows Alexa to receive update notifications.

You can do that by soft resetting your Alexa device.

To soft reset Alexa device:

  1. Unplug the power adapter from the wall socket.
  2. Leave it off for a few minutes. Or at least 30 seconds.
  3. Then, plug it back in.

After that, mute Alexa’s microphone for at least 15 minutes. This allows Alexa to receive update notifications.

If that doesn’t work, consider factory resetting your device.

Warning: Factory reset deletes data and custom settings. So, only do this as your last resort.

#14: Muted microphone

“My Alexa device has lights on. But it doesn’t respond…”

What’s the color of its lights?

If it’s red, then your Alexa device microphone is off.

No matter how hard you shout at Alexa, it wouldn’t hear you if it’s muted.

When you mute the microphone, Alexa stops listening to you. 

Meaning it won’t respond to your queries.

It may sound silly, but you’ll never believe how many users don’t know about this feature.

How to fix it:

To unmute your Alexa device, you just have to press the microphone button.

Alexa devices have different microphone buttons.

Some have microphone buttons that have a typical microphone icon.

And some have slashed circle icons instead.

See which of these two do you have. 

Then, press it to unmute your Alexa device.

To help you out, here’s a quick guide on Alexa’s LED indicator:

  • Red light: muted.
  • Blue light: on/listening.
  • Spinning blue: starting up.
  • Yellow light: new notifications.
  • Purple light: “do not disturb” mode on.
  • Green light: incoming call/in an active call.
  • Orange light: “set up” mode/connecting to WiFi.

Learn more: Why is my Alexa not talking back?

#15: Enabled “whisper” mode

Does anyone in your home use Alexa’s “Whisper” mode?

Because if yes, there are high chances that Alexa is not really unresponsive. You just can’t hear it.

Whisper” mode allows users to talk to Alexa while whispering.

This mode is convenient at night or when you have toddlers at home.

But the thing about this mode is that Alexa responds with a whisper as well.

So, you have to be really close to the device to hear its response.

Not to mention that Alexa will continue to whisper until you turn this mode off.

If one day your Alexa device stops responding, check first if the “whisper” mode is on.

You might think that Alexa is not talking back to you. But the truth is, Alexa is just whispering.

How to fix it:

If you want to stop Alexa from whispering, disable the “whisper” mode.

To disable Alexa “Whisper” mode:

  1. Open the Amazon Alexa app.
  2. Tap the three-line icon.
  3. Select “Settings.”
  4. Click “Voice Responses.”
  5. Then, toggle off “Whisper Mode.”

You can also disable it through voice commands by saying, “Alexa, turn off whisper mode.”

Tip: If you want to keep the “Whisper” mode at night, create a routine. Perhaps you can schedule it to turn on before bedtime and turn off before your morning alarm.

#16: Changed wake word

Have you been using your Alexa device for a long time now?

Then you must be familiar with the “wake word.”

The wake word is Alexa’s trigger word. It’s what you call Alexa to wake it up.

“Alexa” is its default wake word.

But you can change it however you like.

If you often change the wake word, then that may be the reason why your Alexa device is unresponsive.

If you have changed its wake word and still keep calling Alexa “Alexa,” it wouldn’t respond. Unless you change it back to default.

“Yes, I’ve changed the wake word, and I use that. But, today, Alexa stopped responding to that!”

Well, did you factory reset your Alexa device recently?

Because if yes, expect it to happen.

When you factory reset your Alexa device, all data and custom settings will be deleted. And that includes your custom wake word.

Once it’s back to factory default, Alexa’s wake word changes back to “Alexa.”

How to fix it:

If you know how to change Alexa’s wake word, then this process is easy for you.

You only have to change the input on the settings.

To replace or change back Alexa’s wake word:

  1. Open the Amazon Alexa app.
  2. Tap the three-line icon.
  3. Select “Settings.”
  4. Choose “Device Settings.”
  5. Click Alexa device.
  6. Then, input the new or default wake word.

After this, you shouldn’t have a problem communicating with your Alexa device.