Alexa Device Is Unresponsive? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Kerry Souder
by Kerry Souder

Alexa devices have become a staple of modern households, and it’s hard to imagine a world without them. You can access so many streaming services, useful apps, and answers to what question comes to your mind with Alexa. While Alexa devices are generally reliable and useful tools, they don’t always perform as we’d like them to.

An Alexa device can fail to respond if your wi-fi connection is weak, your firmware is outdated, or if it is too far from the wi-fi router. Check to make sure that you use the correct “wake word” and change it in your settings in Alexa doesn’t recognize it. Restore Alexa to its default factory settings if it is unresponsive.

Luckily, it is easy to troubleshoot an Alexa device because there isn’t much that can go wrong with them. Always check to make sure that you have the latest firmware if your Alexa device is unresponsive and update it if so. Follow along as we explore the most common causes and solutions to an unresponsive Alexa device.

Alexa Device is Unresponsive

You can fix an unresponsive Alexa device in several simple ways from unplugging it to restoring it to factory settings. Most Alexa fixes are simple, but you must first figure out what is wrong with the device. Let’s take a look at the best ways to fix an unresponsive Alexa device.

How to Fix Alexa

1. Reconnect Wi-Fi

It may seem simple, but you can often fix an unresponsive Alexa if you reconnect the wi-fi connection. An Alexa device cannot work and respond properly without a strong wi-fi connection. Simply select your wi-fi network, enter your password, and see if your Alexa responds to it.

Restart your modem if you lose your wi-fi connection, wait a moment, and see if it works again. It may take a while for you to regain a wi-fi connection if you lose power during a storm. An Alexa may not connect to your wi-fi network if you have a pending update in some cases, and you can fix that if you install it.

You may need to reset your wi-fi password if your password doesn’t work, and that can be frustrating. Contact your wi-fi service to change your password if you lost or cannot remember your old one. Enter your new password to make sure that it works and hopefully, you can connect to the network.

2. Reinstall Alexa

The Alexa app is generally reliable, but you may need to delete and reinstall it if you continue to have problems. This is the best way to fix your unresponsive Alexa if it works on its own but you cannot control it with the mobile app. Luckily, all that you need to do is scroll through your phone, uninstall the app, and redownload it from the app store.

Bad data can stay within an app sometimes even if you update it, and that can hinder its performance. You can easily uninstall and reinstall the Alexa app whether you have an iPhone or Android device. Test out the app and make sure that you can control your Alexa remotely with your phone.

3. Enable Alexa Skills

Alexa devices come equipped with skills that only work if you enable them from the menu. Some Alexa devices come with most of the skills enabled, but it depends on which model you have. Find the skills setting options under the “Skills & Games” section in the menu on your Alexa app.

Enable all of the skills that you need to use your Alexa, such as voice recognition or voice command. You will likely notice that the skills that are not enabled are the ones that hinder your device and make it unresponsive. Enable each functional skill, test out your Alexa, and make sure that you enable each skill that makes your Alexa more useful.

4. Reset

Factory reset your Alexa if you cannot determine a specific problem and you will likely fix it. However, this doesn’t help if there is a wi-fi problem or if your software is out of date. Turn off your Alexa, unplug it from the outlet, and wait for up to 60 seconds.

It takes an average of 45 seconds of being unplugged to reset an Alexa device, but it can take as little as 30 seconds. Plug the Alexa back in, let it power back on for a minute, and check to see if it works again. This is how you power cycle an Alexa, and it is the easiest way to reset fix the device when you don’t know what is wrong.

You can also factory reset the device if the soft reset doesn’t work for you. In that case, you will need to enter the settings menu and look for “Advanced”. Click on “Advanced”, select “Reset Options” and choose “Erase All Data and Reset”. This will reset your device and restore it to the default factory settings, so don’t forget to enable the skills again.

5. Update Firmware

Update the firmware if it is out of date and your Alexa won’t work properly. Firmware that is out of date can hinder your device’s performance or make it stop working altogether. Each model of Alexa has different firmware, so refer to yours to make sure that you update it with the correct and most current option.

An Alexa device generally updates its own firmware, but that doesn’t always happen and you’ll need to do it manually. Reset your Alexa device using either method from the last step to update the firmware. Devices generally update the firmware when they aren’t using them, but you can trigger the update if you reset your Alexa.

6. Move Device

Where is your Alexa device located? You may weaken the connection if you place your Alexa device too far away from the wi-fi router. Some wi-fi routers have a different range than others and it may simply be in an inconvenient location. Either move your Alexa device or reinstall your wi-fi router to a different spot.

Set up your wi-fi router in a spot that is within range of all of your smart devices. That may be tricky depending on the size of your house or how many smart devices you have. Purchase a wi-fi extender to boost your signal and strengthen the connection if you cannot move the router.

7. Check for Power

Check your Alexa device to make sure that it has power if it won’t respond. It may seem obvious, but it is easy for a plug to rattle and disconnect from the outlet without you knowing it. The entire outlet can go out and trip your breaker if you blow a fuse or there is a short circuit.

Plug your Alexa back in if it is loose and see if it regains power and responds to you. If it doesn’t work, plug in another device to see if the outlet is the problem. Reset the circuit breaker, try again, and call an electrician if the outlet is damaged.

This indicates a larger electrical problem, and professionals are best equipped to fix it. Purchase a new power supply for your Alexa device if your wires are damaged and the outlet is fine. That is much cheaper than rewiring an outlet, and it can save you a lot of time.

8. Change Wake Word

Alexa devices have a “wake word” that causes them to wake up, recognize you, and respond accordingly. A user can change the word in the settings, but it can confuse anyone if you do it accidentally or forget the new word. Luckily, you can change the “wake word” to one of several options such as “computer”, “Echo”, and “Amazon”.

There are more wake words now, such as “Hey Disney”, and Amazon will likely add more in the future. Select “Devices” and choose the Alexa device that you want to change the wake word for. Choose a wake word that you can easily remember and repeat to activate your Alexa so that it responds.

Related Questions

Does an Alexa need wifi?

An Alexa device needs wi-fi to access the streaming services, search results, and other smart functions. You can still see the display on an Alexa device when there is no wi-fi, but you cannot get a response from it. Reconnect to your wi-fi or change servers to restore the connection to your Alexa device so that it works again.

Should Alexa be plugged in all the time?

Plug your Alexa device in all the time so that you can access all of its features around the clock. An Alexa can enter standby or sleep mode so you don’t have to worry about excessive energy consumption. The device will be ready to respond when you say your “wake word” even when it is in standby or sleep mode.

Summing It Up

An Alexa device can be unresponsive if there is no wi-fi connection, certain skills are disabled, or if the firmware is outdated. Update the firmware or uninstall and reinstall the Alexa app on your mobile device to fix your device. Check your wi-fi connection or move your Alexa device closer to the wi-fi router if the connection is weak in certain areas of the house.

Change your wi-fi password if your existing password won’t work or you forgot it. Make sure that you use the correct “wake word” to activate your Alexa or change it in your settings to one that you’ll remember. Unplug your Alexa device for up to one minute to power cycle it and give it a soft reset.

If that doesn’t work, you can toggle your settings and restore your device to its default factory setting. Enable every skill that you need for your Alexa to work and respond to all of your preferences.

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Kerry Souder
Kerry Souder

I am a copywriter and editor based in the Las Vegas area with nearly a decade of experience under my belt writing landing pages, cost guides, blog posts, newsletters, case studies, and social media content. I have a degree in Strategic Communication and experience working in both the account and creative spheres. My goal is to always be discovering new interests and bettering myself as a writer and editor along the way.

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