‘Ok Google’ Not Working on Google Pixel? Here’s How to Fix It

Google Pixel XL

While “Ok Google” functionality is available on almost all Android devices, the feature only works while the display is off on Google’s Pixel and previous Nexus handsets. On the Pixels though, many users have been reporting about the feature not working as intended. Various online forums are filled with complaints from users about the “OK Google” functionality not working while the display is off after some time.

When I first got my Pixel, I was also facing the same issue. I had to periodically restart the handset to ensure that “OK Google” worked even while the handset’s screen was off. Deleting the voice model and training it again was not helpful as well. I was hoping that the Android 7.1.1 update would fix the issue, but the problem continued to persist after that. Thankfully, with some trial and error and feedback from other Pixel users, I have now managed to get “OK Google” to work reliably on my Pixel XL with its display off even if the device has not been restarted in over a day. Here’s how:

Step 1: You will need to re-train the “Ok Google” voice model on your Pixel. For this, you will have to first delete the existing voice model. Do this by opening the Google app, swipe to the left then to bring up the hamburger menu and select Settings from there. Head over to Voice -> “Ok Google” detection and tap the Delete voice model option.

Step 2: Now retrain the voice model. During the process, you will need to say “Ok Google” three times into the phone. Speak the term from three different distances: one very close to the mic, one from an arm’s length, and the third one from around 1.5ft away from the phone. This is very important and will ensure that your Pixel recognises the “Ok Google” voice command even when the device is not in your hands.

Restart your device once you are done with the above steps, though it is not really necessary. Since I have re-trained the “Ok Google” voice model on my Pixel XL using the above steps, “Ok Google” has worked for me without fail every single time. If you own a Nexus 6P or Nexus 6, the above steps should also work in improving “Ok Google” voice recognition functionality on your handset.

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  • James L

    This did not work for me. Perhaps we have different issues but my issue is not that ‘Ok Google’ doesn’t work, it’s that after a while of being on, the Google app doesn’t launch in the foreground when I say OK Google (seems to launch in the background or is hidden). I hear the tone, and I can still say a command and it have an effect, but if the result is a web search, I hear the response of ‘Here are some results from the web’ but nothing is displayed. Or if my screen is off, it remains off. Nothing other than restarting the device or killing the Google App process in the apps settings panel resolves the issue, but only temporarily as the problem eventually returns within a few hours. I haven’t tried factory resetting yet, as my device setup takes hours to reconfigure all the settings/preferences in my various apps that without it being a guaranty I can’t bring myself to do it. This is really annoying considering what I paid for this device.

    • Craig Merrilees

      I have the same problem. Has anyone found a solution?