What to Do When Google Assistant Won’t Send a Text

Is she just not listening or is something else going on?

A woman tries to send a text via Google Assistant

 hocus-focus / Getty

Google Assistant is a virtual assistant that can search the web, set appointments, and send text messages, among other tasks. If your Google Assistant is not sending text messages as instructed, then there is likely a problem with your contacts or the Google app. Here we'll help you get to the bottom of it.

Check if Google Assistant Voice Commands Are Working

To isolate the problem, let's start by figuring out if your device's voice commands are working properly. Try using Google Assistant to perform a simple voice command web search. If Google is unable to complete this task, then we know the problem is not limited to text messaging.

Make sure that Google Assistant voice commands are turned on. If they are, try retraining the voice model to make sure it understands you correctly. You can also try resetting the Google app to its original state.

If other Google Assistant voice commands are working properly—and the problem appears to be limited to text messages—then it is likely because of an error in your contacts. Another possible culprit is incorrect permissions settings in the Google app.

Check Your Contact Numbers For Errors

Open the Contacts app and check your contact numbers for errors. Extra spaces, parentheses, periods, and commas can block calls and texts from going through.

An incorrectly formatted phone number displayed on an Android phone.

To avoid problems, all phone numbers should follow this format: 555-555-5555. Parentheses and other characters—as in (555) 555-5555—can interfere with Google Assistant's ability to route calls and messages.

Make Sure Google Assistant Has Permission To Send Texts

Google Assistant relies on the Google app to work properly, meaning it needs a variety of permissions to carry out voice commands. Permissions settings control which apps have access to the functions of your mobile device, such as calling, texting, and recording.

If you want to send text messages with Google Assistant, then the Google app needs permission to use the short message service (SMS) function on your phone.

Here's how to adjust Permissions on an Android device:

If you have an iOS device, Speech Recognition permissions can be found under Settings > Privacy > Speech Recognition.

  1. Open the Settings app, and select Apps & notifications.

    Android settings app.

    If you have an older version of Android, you may need to select Apps instead of Apps & notifications.

  2. Select Google.

    the Android Apps and notifications menu
  3. Select Permissions.

    the Google app info screen
  4. Make sure the slider next to SMS is slid to the right. If the slider is slid to the left or grayed out, Google Assistant cannot send or access text messages.

    the Google app permissions screen
  5. Check to see if Google Assistant is now able to send text messages. If it is not, then try resetting the Google app to its original state.

Reset The Google App To Original Settings

If you have verified that there are no errors in your contact phone numbers, and your Google app has the correct permissions, then the next step is to reset your Google app to its original state.

This process will eliminate any potentially corrupt data in the Google app. You will also be able to download and install updates to the Google app if that doesn't do the trick.

These instructions do not apply to iOS devices. However, you can try deleting either the Google or Google Assistant app and then re-downloading them.

  1. Open the Settings app, and select Apps & notifications.

    the Android settings app

    If you have an older version of Android, you may need to select Apps instead of Apps & notifications.

  2. Select Google.

    the Android apps and notifications menu
  3. Select Storage.

    the Google app info screen
  4. Select Clear Cache.

    Google app storage menu
  5. Select Clear Storage.

    the Google app storage menu

    In some older versions of Android and the Google app, you may need to select Manage Space instead.

  6. Select Clear All Data.

    the Google app clear data menu
  7. Select OK.

    the Google app delete data confirmation screen
  8. Tap the back button to return to the main Google app info screen, then select the menu icon indicated by three vertical dots (⋮).

    the Google app info screen
  9. Select Uninstall updates.

    the Google app uninstall update option

    Some older versions of the Google app do not have this option. If you do not see the option to uninstall updates, you will not be able to attempt this fix.

  10. Wait for the updates to uninstall, then select Disable.

    the Google app info screen
  11. Select Disable App.

    the Google app disable confirmation popup

    Only disable the Google app temporarily as part of this troubleshooting process. Do not stop the troubleshooting process on this step. If you leave the Google app disabled permanently, your phone may not function properly.

  12. Select Enable.

    the Google app info screen with the app disabled
  13. Check to see if Google Assistant is now able to send text messages.

  14. If Google Assistant still cannot send text messages, navigate to the Google Play Store and install the latest version of the Google app.

    the Google app in the Google Play Store
  15. Check to see if Google Assistant is now able to send text messages. If it still cannot send messages, then you may need to wait for Google to issue a fix. Visit the official Google Assistant support forum to report your issue and check for additional information.