Common Google Home Issues & How to Fix Them

What to do when Google Home isn't working

Google Home smart devices are pretty smart most of the time, but that might not feel so true when it under-performs. Sometimes it's a Wi-Fi issue, a microphone that doesn’t hear you, speakers that don’t deliver clear sound, or connected devices that don’t communicate with the Google Home.

Regardless of how Google Home isn’t working, there’s most likely a pretty simple explanation and an easy fix to get things working again.

Frustrated person unable to play music on Google Home
Julie Bang / Lifewire

This article applies to both Google Home and Google Nest speakers.

Restart Google Home

No matter what problem you’re having, the first thing you should try is restarting it. You’ve probably heard that restarting is great for other technology when it isn't working correctly, and the same advice holds true here, too. 

Here’s how to reboot from the Google Home app:

  1. Download Google Home.

  2. Open the home tab by tapping the icon of a home on the bottom left corner of the app.

  3. Select the Google Home device you want to restart.

  4. Tap the settings/gear icon at the top right.

    Google Home Android app Home screen, cast devices, and speaker pages
  5. Select the three-lined menu at the top right of the next page.

  6. Choose Reboot, and then confirm with OK.

    Google Home device settings and reboot option

If rebooting this way doesn’t fix the problem you’re having, unplug the power cord from the back of the Google Home and let it sit like that, unplugged, for 60 seconds. Plug the cord back in and wait another minute for it to fully power on, and then check to see if the problem goes away.

Connection Problems

The Google Home works well only when it has a valid network connection. Problems with it connecting to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can cause lots of issues, like spotty internet connections, buffering, music that suddenly stops out of nowhere, and more.

See What to Do When Google Home Won’t Connect to Wi-Fi for an in-depth look at what the connection problem could be, and what to do about it.

Similar to a Google Home connection problem is the case where guests who aren't on your Wi-Fi can't connect to the device. You can fix this by enabling Guest mode.

Unresponsiveness

The most likely reason for why Google Home doesn’t respond when you talk to it is because you’re not talking loud enough. Move closer to it or permanently place it somewhere it can more easily hear you.

If it's sitting next to an air vent, computer, TV, microwave, radio, dishwasher, or some other device that puts off noise or interference, you, of course, have to speak much louder than you normally would so that it knows the difference between those noises and your voice.

If you’ve done this and Google Home still isn’t responding, check the volume level; it's possible it does hear you just fine but you can't hear it! You can turn the volume up by saying "Ok Google, turn it up" or by swiping in a clockwise motion on the top, tapping the right side of the Mini, sliding to the right on the front of your Google Home Max, or pressing the upper volume button on the back of the Google Nest Hub.

If you still can’t hear anything, the mic might be completely disabled. There’s an on/off switch on the back of the speaker that controls whether the microphone is enabled or disabled. You should see a yellow or orange light if it's turned off.

Is the mic on but you hear static? Try to factory reset Google Home to restore all its settings back to the way they were when you first bought it.

If the results you're given aren't specific to you—like if it won't find your phone or recall things you've told it to remember—you should reset the Voice Match settings.

Random Responses

In an opposite situation, Google Home might speak up too often! There isn’t much you can do about this since the cause might just be a simple misinterpretation of what it hears from you, the TV, a radio, etc.

The trigger phrase to have it listen can be “Ok Google” or “Hey Google,” so saying something like that in conversation can be enough to start it up. You can adjust the sensitivity at which it hears these phrases through the Google Home app.

In some cases, you might activate it when it's moved, so keeping it on a sturdy, flat surface should help.

Music Doesn't Play

Another common Google Home problem is poor music playback, and there are multiple reasons it could happen.

What you might see when there are issues with music is songs that start but then stop occasionally, or even at the same point during the same song. Other problems include music that takes forever to load after you tell Google Home to play it, or music that stops playing hours later for no apparent reason.

See What to Do When Google Home Stops Playing Music for all the steps you should walk through to fix the problem.

Wrong Location Information

If Google Home has the wrong location set up, you’ll definitely get some strange results when you ask about the current weather conditions, request traffic updates, want distance information from where you are, etc.

Fortunately, this is an easy fix:

  1. While on the same network as your Google Home, open the Google Home app.

  2. Make sure you see the correct home name listed at the top (change it if you need to), and then tap Settings.

  3. Choose Home information, and then either Set address (if you're entering a new one) or Home address (to edit an existing one).

  4. Select Add home address to enter an address, or Edit if you're changing it.

    Google Home settings and address screens

If you need to change the location set up for your work, you can do that through the app, too:

  1. Tap the account icon from the top right of the app.

  2. Ensure that the account you see at the top is the same one associated with your Google Home. If it isn't, tap to change it.

  3. Choose Assistant settings.

  4. Tap Your places, and then Work.

    Google Home assistant address settings
  5. Enter the correct address and then tap OK to save.

Need More Help?

Any other issue at this point should be directed toward Google. You can contact the Google Home support team to have them call you, or use the chat option to instant message or email someone from the support team.

See How to Talk to Tech Support for a general guideline on what you need to know before contacting Google and how to best handle the call.