How to Fix It When Alexa Is 'Having Trouble Understanding Right Now'

Maybe it's Alexa—or maybe it's you

Alexa is Amazon's digital voice assistant, which can be used with Amazon devices, including the Amazon line of Echo products. Alexa can answer questions, tell you traffic or weather information, play news reports, initiate phone calls, play music, manage your grocery list, purchase items from Amazon with voice shopping, and more.

While reliable, sometimes issues arise with Alexa, and users hear the message, "Sorry, I'm having trouble understanding you right now. Please try a little later." Here's what's behind this problem and how to fix it and get Alexa back to work.

These troubleshooting steps apply to Alexa in use with Amazon products, such as the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Flex, Echo Auto, Echo Studio, and more.

Causes of Alexa Not Understanding Errors

The "I'm having trouble understanding you" error occurs when an Amazon Echo device has trouble contacting the Amazon servers to help decipher and understand what you're saying. It could be because you lost the wireless connection, or perhaps your internet service is down. There may even be an issue on Amazon's end. Whatever the reason, there are some simple troubleshooting steps to try to fix the issue.

Person using smartphone next to internet router
Kittichai Boonpong / EyeEm / Getty Images

How to Fix 'Alexa Not Understanding You Right Now'

Try these troubleshooting steps in the order presented to narrow down your issue and get Alexa listening again.

  1. Restart the Alexa-enabled device. A simple restart is a tried-and-true tech troubleshooting method. Restarting the Echo device may be all you need to do.

  2. Check the internet connection on Is My Internet Working?. Is your internet down? If so, Alexa won't be able to work. If your internet isn't up and running, take steps to restore your internet connection.

  3. Check the Wi-Fi connection. Echo devices connect to dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz/5 GHz) networks that use the 802.11a/b/g/ n standard. If Wi-Fi is down, reset it and see if that gets Alexa working again.

  4. Make sure the Alexa-enabled device is in Wi-Fi range. Your Wi-Fi might be available, and the internet might be streaming, but that's no help if your Alexa-enabled device is too far away. Move it closer to the router.

  5. Reset the Alexa-enabled device to factory defaults. Your Echo might be having a software issue that it can't resolve on its own. Resetting the Alexa-enabled device back to factory defaults may fix the issue.

  6. See if the problem is on Amazon's end. The problem might be on Amazon's end. Contact Amazon support to see if the company is experiencing any issues. Or, visit DownDetctor to see if there are any Amazon outages.

  7. Visit the Amazon Alexa help page. Amazon offers a wealth of Alexa troubleshooting information along with chat help and forums. You may be able to find your answer there.

  • Why is my Amazon Alexa flashing red?

    Your Alexa device can flash in several different colors, depending on what it's trying to communicate. A flashing red light means the device has been muted. Tap the flashing red button on top of the device to unmute it.

  • Why doesn't Alexa understand me?

    To help Alexa understand what you're saying, speak slowly and clearly. Keep your Amazon device somewhere where it won't be confused by echoes off of walls, by conversation and background noise, or by words coming from other speakers. Make sure your device isn't muted; it will show a red light if it is.

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