Common Alexa/Amazon Echo Issues & How to Fix Them

Even virtual assistants need a little help now and then

Amazon Echo atop a table.

Fabian Hurnaus \ Pexels

Discover some quick and simple ways to perform Alexa troubleshooting and get your Echo back to proper working order fast.  

Alexa Is Not Responding

If you say your device’s wake word but Alexa does not respond, it is likely one of a few common issues. Before you begin troubleshooting, make sure your device has power and internet access. An unplugged Echo or internet outage might be the real issue.

If you have a solid red light ring or bar instead of a solid blue one, the microphone is turned off. Press the microphone button on top of the device to turn it on again.

If you have multiple Alexa devices, the wrong one might hear and respond to the wake word. Although Amazon uses Echo Spatial Perception to determine which device is closest to you, the incorrect Echo device may respond.

  1. Check the Alexa app to make sure all devices are set up on a single Amazon account. For instance, if your teen has a separate account and app for her Alexa, they might not work together properly.
  2. Move one or both devices so that the one you want to respond is closer to where you are speaking from.
  3. If the wrong device still responds, you can change the wake word for one of the Echo devices. 

Streaming Issues on Alexa Devices

The most common reason that Alexa won't play music is intermittent internet service or low available bandwidth. The following Amazon Echo troubleshooting can help solve this issue.

Echo sitting atop a different table.
Rick Turoczy \ Flickr
  1. Turn off unused devices that are also connected to Wi-Fi. 
  2. Move the Echo closer to the wireless router and away from walls, metal objects or other possible sources of interference.
  3. Turn off the modem and router.
  4. Wait 30 seconds.
  5. Restart the modem. 
  6. Restart the router. 
  7. Turn the Alexa device off and then turn it back on. 

Alexa Isn’t Connected to Wi-Fi

You might discover that your Echo device is not connecting to your Wi-Fi network at all. Troubleshooting this issue begins in Alexa’s settings.

If your device has a screen, check the light on the device. If it is orange, the Wi-Fi connection is not working properly.

  1. Go to Settings and select Wi-Fi
  2. Enter the network password. This is not the same as your Amazon password. 
  3. Turn off the modem and router. 
  4. Wait 30 seconds.
  5. Restart the modem. 
  6. Restart the router. 
  7. Turn the Alexa device off and then turn it back on. 
  8. Check for updates for your router or modem firmware.

Trouble with Alexa Calling 

Amazon Echo devices can take the place of a home phone. If calling on Alexa is not working and you have made sure you have a strong Wi-Fi connection, try these troubleshooting steps.

  1. Check your contacts. If you recently added a contact, Alexa might not have updated to include it yet. 
  2. Close and reopen the Alexa app.
  3. Open the Conversations tab and check for the contact you are trying to call.  
  4. If the contact is listed, make sure the phone number is complete and correct.
  5. You can sign out of the app and sign back in if the issue is still not resolved. 
  6. Go to the menu of the Alexa app and select Settings
  7. Choose Sign Out.
  8. Sign back in and try making a call. 

Alexa Can’t Find a Device

An Echo device that is offline.
R4vi \ Flickr

If you are attempting to add a new smart home device, but Alexa is not able to detect it during discovery, try this Alexa troubleshooting process after making sure the device is compatible with Alexa.

  1. Setup the device on your Wi-Fi network using the app provided by the manufacturer.
  2. Go to alexa.amazon.com and try to complete setup there. 
  3. Disable and re-enable the skill for your smart home device in the Alexa app.
  4. Use the Disable option in the Smart Home section of the Alexa app to disconnect the smart home device. 
  5. Re-enable the smart home device again.
  6. Check for updates for the device.
  7. Say, “Alexa, discover my devices” to try finding the smart home device again.

Bluetooth Issues with Alexa

You can troubleshoot issues connecting your Alexa device via Bluetooth. First, make sure your Alexa device supports Bluetooth connections.

  1. Make sure the Bluetooth device has a full charge or a new battery.
  2. Move the device and/or the Echo away from possible sources of interference. 
  3. Open the Alexa app.
  4. Choose Alexa Devices from the menu.
  5. Select Bluetooth Devices and then choose Clear.
  6. Restart the smart home device and the Echo device. 
  7. Pair your Alexa device and the Bluetooth device again.

Reset Your Amazon Echo 

For those times when all else fails, you can reset your Amazon Echo device to its original settings. Note that if you reset the device, you will need to register it to your Amazon account and enter device settings again in order to use it. 

  1. Find the Reset button on the base of the device.
  2. Press and hold the Reset button with a paper clip or similar object. 
  3. Wait while the light ring on the device turns orange and then blue. 
  4. Watch for the light ring to turn off and then turn back on. When the light turns orange, the device will enter setup mode.
  5. Connect your Echo device to the Wi-Fi network and register it to your Amazon account with the Alexa app.