Your smart plug lets you control lights and appliances remotely, but only when connected to your WiFi network.
When your smart plug refuses to join that network, it becomes an expensive wall outlet.
You want to figure out why your smart plug won’t connect, and I’m here to help!
When your smart plug doesn’t connect, the problem may lie with your phone, app, smart hub, or router. Solutions include turning on your phone’s wireless and Bluetooth services, deleting your app cache, and checking your router.
Connection issues with your smart plug are a hassle, but before you run out and buy a new smart plug, read this article! With a little bit of troubleshooting, you may be able to get your smart plug back up and running in no time!
1. Your Phone Is Not on the Smart Plug’s Network
If you’re having trouble connecting to your smart plug on your phone, the first thing to check is your phone’s wireless connection.
To connect your smart plug, both the smart plug and your device need to be on the same network.
After your smart plug is connected, you control settings through a Bluetooth connection.
How To Fix
Check these three settings and make sure they’re active. Note that power-saver modes will often shut down all of these current-hungry services.
If your phone’s battery is low, you might have to manually activate one or more services to connect to your smart plug.
- WiFi: Make sure that your phone’s wireless is active and that your phone is connected to your home network.
- Bluetooth: Your phone communicates with the smart plug using Bluetooth, the same protocol your wireless earbuds use.
- Location Services: Your smart plug needs to connect to location services for sunrise/sunset rules.
Make sure your app has access to all these services.
If you use a VPN on your smartphone, you may have to turn it off while using your smart plug app.
A VPN hides your location and the IP address from advertisers and hackers, but it also confuses your app.
2. Your Smart Plug Outlet May Be Dead
Your smart plug can’t function without electricity. Since it is plugged into an electrical outlet, the current is generally not an issue.
But if there’s no power running to the outlet, your smart plug has no electricity for connections or anything else.
If your smart plug is not showing up on your app or network, you should check to see if the smart plug is passing current to your light or appliance.
How To Fix
If your outlet is connected to a switch, make sure it is in the “On” position.
If that does not work, or if your smart plug is connected to an unswitched outlet, plug a small lamp directly into the wall outlet.
If the lamp works, you know the issue lies with the smart plug. If it does not, you need to check your electrical box for a tripped circuit breaker.
You may also wonder: Do smart plugs use electricity when turned off?
3. Your Phone’s Cache May Be Corrupted
Your smartphone keeps things moving quickly by storing frequently needed images, files, scripts, and other data in a cache.
This saves time and bandwidth, but it can also lead to problems should that data become corrupted.
If your smart plug setup has been working fine, but suddenly your phone can’t find it, you could have a cache issue.
How To Fix
To clear the app cache on an Android phone or tablet:
- Go to the Settings menu, then click “Storage”.
- From the Storage list, click “Other Apps.”
- Find your smart plug app.
- Choose the “Delete Cache” option.
- Restart your phone, then restart your app.
To clear the app cache on an iPhone or iPad:
- Launch “Settings” > “General” > “iPhone/iPad Storage.”
- Find your smart plug app on the device.
- Tap “Delete App”. Offload App is your other option, which saves the app and the corrupted cache to the cloud.
- When the app is deleted, reinstall from the App Store.
4. Your Smart Plug May Need a Reset
After a power outage, you may find that your smart plug no longer shows up on your app or responds to your commands.
Some smart plugs default to Off mode when electricity is abruptly cut off then resumed.
Resetting a smart plug is always a good step when you are having a connection or any other issues.
Like rebooting a computer, resetting a smart plug terminates any hung routines and lets your smart plug return to operation with a fresh instruction set.
How To Fix
While button placements and LED response vary between smart plug manufacturers, the basic reset technique is always similar.
- Unplug your smart plug.
- Wait for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Press the smart plug’s button.
- While still holding the button, plug your smart plug into a wall outlet.
- Release the button when the light signals “On.”
After resetting your smart plug, reconnect it to your home network.
5. Your Smart Plug’s Firmware May Need an Update
Your smart plug’s firmware controls its processor and runs its routines.
Manufacturers regularly update the firmware to add new features and to plug security holes.
But if that firmware goes bad, your smart plug may become unresponsive.
If your smart plug has firmware issues, it may stop reporting data or responding properly to requests and routines.
This is frustrating, but you can usually resolve the problem through your phone app.
How To Fix
Whether you are working with an Android or iOS device, the procedure starts with the smart plug reset described above.
A reset will often fix the issue on its own, but this is also a good time to bring your smart plug up to the latest specifications.
Find “Update Firmware” on your app, and check if any firmware updates for your device are available.
If so, click the update and wait a few minutes to finish downloading the new firmware update.
Do not interrupt the download, as interrupted downloads are the main cause of firmware corruption.
6. Your Smart Plug May Be Too Far From Your Router
If your smart plug is too far from your home router, its wireless connection may fade in and out.
This can become especially apparent when others are using high-bandwidth services like gaming or 4K video.
Move your smart plug to an outlet that is closer to your router.
If your connection issues vanish, you know that your problem lies with your network’s range.
How To Fix
An inexpensive wireless extender like the TP-Link AC750 WiFi Extender (available on Amazon) will give you extra bandwidth for your smart plug and up to 20 other devices.
TP-Link is one of the leading manufacturers of smart home accessories and makes the well-reviewed Kasa smart plug.
If your smart plug has trouble with your wireless network, your laptop’s connection is even worse.
An extender will make for a better smart plug and better streaming.
Reading tip: Do Router Antennas Make a Difference? The Surprising Truth
7. Your Smart Plug May Have Issues With Your Hub
You tell your smart plug what to do, but Siri stays silent, Google Assistant is stumped, and Alexa refuses to answer.
Voice commands may be the coolest thing smart homes offer, but getting them to work properly can be a hassle.
How To Fix
Before figuring out your problem, we must first determine whether your smart home uses Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, or Google Nest.
We must then see whether or not your smart plug is compatible with your smart home system.
Apple’s HomePod can connect to fewer smart plugs than Amazon Alexa or Google Nest.
The Amazon Smart Plug (also on Amazon) integrates seamlessly with Alexa but will not work with Google Nest or Apple HomePod.
Check which systems your plug supports.
Connecting your Smart Plug to Alexa:
- Make sure your smart plug is Alexa-compatible.
- Connect your smart plug to the same WiFi network as your Echo speakers.
- Go to the Alexa app.
- Select the “Add Device” button.
- Select your device.
- The app will lead you through the rest of the connection.
Connecting your Smart Plug to HomeKit:
- Make sure your smart plug is HomeKit compatible, powered on, nearby, and connected to the WiFi network.
- On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, bring up your Home app.
- Scan the 8-digit HomeKit code or QR code on your smart plug or in its documentation.
- If you have an iPhone 7 or above, you may be able to add the smart plug wirelessly.
- Select your smart plug when it appears.
- Tap “Allow” when asked to “Add Accessory to Network.”
- Name your smart plug and assign it to a room.
- Tap “Next”, then “Done”.
Connecting your Smart Plug to Google Nest:
- Set up your smart plug as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- In the Google Home app, tap”Add” > “Set Up Device”.
- From the “Works With Google” list, select your device manufacturer.
- Follow the app instructions.
Editor’s pick: How To Set A Smart Plug Timer On Google Home? 3 Easy Steps
Smart plugs are an inexpensive introduction to the joys of smart home living.
Sometimes they can be less cooperative than we would like, but often the problem is less serious than we feared.
Armed with the information in this article, you should be able to get your smart plug up and running in no time!