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How to Fix Alexa When She Is “Having Trouble Understanding Right Now”

How to Fix Alexa When She Is “Having Trouble Understanding Right Now”
How to Fix Alexa When She Is “Having Trouble Understanding Right Now”


Key Takeaways

  • Did you know that Alexa issues are usually fixable with simple troubleshooting steps like addressing Wi-Fi, checking for updates, and checking connections?
  • If all else fails, you can also try a factory reset or contact Amazon support for further assistance.

A smart speaker can be handy, but also a pain in the neck when it fails to understand your commands. If your Echo keeps saying “I’m having trouble understanding you right now,” we’re here to help fix it.

Why Is Alexa Having Trouble Understanding?

An Echo Dot with a red ring at the base
Josh Dolloghan/MakeUseOf

As smart as it is, an Amazon Echo is just a device, so it can face 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 probably not broken, and you don’t need to get a new device. The first thing you should check is the Echo light ring color meaning. For example, if the light ring is red your device is probably just muted. Otherwise, the problem here is not with the device itself, but with the connection.

Try out these troubleshooting steps to fix the issue…

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. 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 providers and forgot to update your Echo. Perhaps someone played with your Echo and changed the network by mistake. If so, you can connect your Echo and Alexa to Wi-Fi.

Go to the Alexa app on your phone, select Devices, go to Settings (small gear in the upper right), and tap Change next to Wi-Fi Network. Ensure that it’s connected to the right network. If not, tap Join another Wifi network, and follow the steps on the screen.

4. Make Sure the Software Is UpdatedAn Amazon Echo Dot displaying the time

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 updates is to say “Alexa, check for software updates”. Depending on your Echo model, it can update itself or Alexa will provide instructions.

5. 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.

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.

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 and under Device Settings, scroll down until you see Registered To. Tap Deregister to continue with the reset.

After you complete the factory reset, you’ll have to reconnect it to your home Wi-Fi in order for it to work.

If you go through all of the above steps, and your 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.

Hopefully, with these troubleshooting steps, you can get Alexa to understand your commands again. If not, your last resort can be to contact Amazon support.


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