Amazon Echo with yellow light

Alexa is a voice-enabled virtual assistant designed to function with a compatible smart device, such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Show and Echo Studio. However, you may sometimes experience technical problems, such as Alexa not responding to voice commands or specific features working incorrectly.

Here are the four most common issues you might encounter with Alexa and simple solutions you can try to resolve them.

  1. Alexa Doesn’t Understand My Voice Commands

This issue is perhaps the most common problem with Alexa-enabled devices, causing the device to return a generic error response, such as “Sorry, I don’t know that one” or “Sorry, I’m having trouble understanding you right now.” In specific cases, it might fail to respond entirely.

If this happens, here are a few easy fixes you can try:

  • Check that your Alexa-enabled device has power and internet access, especially if it doesn’t return a response. Temporary internet outages are among the most frequent reasons Alexa ignores your commands.
  • Verify your device’s microphone is on. For example, if your Echo displays a red ring instead of a blue one, the microphone is turned off.
  • If the microphone is on, you might simply be out of range. Ensure Alexa can hear you by moving closer to the microphone. 
  • On occasion, Alexa simply misunderstands or mishears what you say. Check what Alexa heard by going into your Alexa app’s history. If necessary, repeat the command more clearly.
  • Another potential reason Alexa ignores your commands may be an issue with the wake word. Change it and try again.
  • Try restarting it.
  • If none of these quick solutions have fixed the issue, you may need to reset your Alexa device to its factory settings. Each device has a different factory reset procedure; follow your device’s instruction manual for more information.
  1. Alexa Can’t Start a Skill

Alexa Skills are voice-controlled applications. They are the Alexa equivalent of a mobile app and include numerous interactive programs and games, such as Alexa Bedtime Stories.

If your device can’t start Alexa games or other applications, here are the solutions you can try:

  • First, ensure the Skill you’re trying to start is enabled. You can enable a Skill by saying “Alexa, Enable (Skill name)” or navigating to the skill’s page on your Alexa app. 
  • If the Skill you want is already enabled, try disabling it and re-enabling it. You can do this using voice commands (“Disable [Skill name]” followed by “Enable [Skill name]”) or from the Alexa app.
  • Ensure you’re calling the Skill by the correct name. For example, if you want to start Song Quiz Alexa, say, “Alexa, start Song Quiz.” A differently-worded command, such as “Alexa, start the song game,” may not work.
  1. Alexa Can’t Connect To Wi-Fi
Person with ethernet cord fixing WiFi

If your Alexa-enabled device has a screen or a Wi-Fi indicator displaying an orange light, it has a Wi-Fi issue.

Here are the most common fixes you can try to fix your device’s Wi-Fi:

  • Check your internet connection. If your internet is down, Alexa can’t connect to Wi-Fi.
  • Restart your router and check if Alexa can connect once it’s back up.
  • Restart your Alexa-enabled device.
  • Go into your device’s Wi-Fi settings and verify that it has the correct Wi-Fi password.
  • Ensure your device is within range of your router and verify your router isn’t obstructed by too many walls and surrounding objects which can weaken the signal.
  • Check if your Wi-Fi network could use a boost or needs to be de-congested.
  1. Alexa Can’t Connect to Bluetooth

Are you having difficulties connecting your Alexa to Bluetooth? Here are the solutions you can try:

  • Ensure your Alexa-enabled device is correctly paired with your Bluetooth device, such as your speakers or smartphone.
  • Bluetooth connectivity may fail on Amazon Echo devices if your software version isn’t updated. Although updates are typically automatic, you can manually check for software updates in Settings > Device Options.
  • Try manually unpairing and repairing your Alexa-enabled device and your Bluetooth device.
  • Verify the Bluetooth device you’re trying to use has a Bluetooth profile supported by Alexa. As of March 2022, Alexa supports A2DP Source, A2DP Sink and AVRCP.

It can be frustrating when your Alexa is not operating properly. If you are struggling with one of these common issues, give these solutions a try. And if your device is still not operating properly, do some research online and check tutorial videos on YouTube to try and diagnose the problem.

Image Credits:

rushay/Adobe Stock

Elnur/Adobe Stock