Do you find yourself shouting “Alexa!” along with a command and waiting for what feels like an eternity for a response? Don't worry, you're not alone. I’ve personally had the experience of slow response times with Alexa, so I have created this troubleshooting guide to help.
I’ve broken this guide down into 3 sections:
- Slow response times when asking general questions
- Slow response times when controlling a connected smart home device (like a smart lock, robot vacuum, or smart bulb)
- Slow response times in the Alexa App on your smartphone
If Alexa is not actually answering any of your voice commands, then check out this article here which is dedicated to that problem.
Slow response times when asking general questions
In this section, I discuss solutions for slow Alexa responses when asked general questions like “What is today's weather in New York”.
This could be on an Echo speaker, Echo Show Display, Fire TV, or other Alexa built-in device (like an Ecobee thermostat, LG Smart Fridge, etc.).
If you are getting slow response times when voice-controlling connected smart home devices, then jump to the next section.
1. Check the speed of your internet connection
Alexa requires a fast and stable internet connection to respond quickly. You can use a speed test website when on Wi-Fi to check your internet speed. (Or just Google “Speed Test” and there is a test built-in to the search results)
While there is no specific minimum requirement, I find that Alexa needs at least 1-2 Mbps to work properly. If your internet speed is slower than this, you may experience delayed response times.
If your internet speed is generally fast but for some reason has dramatically slowed down, then your provider may be having congestion on their network. In that case, it may be worth contacting your ISP to get an ETA on when their network will be fully operational again.
2. Are other devices hogging bandwidth on your network?
When multiple devices are connected to the same home Wi-Fi network, they all share the same bandwidth. This means that if there are other devices using the internet at the same time as your Alexa device, they could be hogging bandwidth and causing Alexa to respond slowly.
For example, if someone in your home is streaming a 4K movie on their laptop while you are asking Alexa to play music, the streaming activity could be using up a significant amount of bandwidth, leaving less bandwidth available for Alexa. This can result in Alexa taking longer to respond to your commands.
To prevent this from happening, you can try disconnecting other devices from the Wi-Fi network or limiting their internet usage. Alternatively, you could set up a Quality of Service (QoS) rule on your router to prioritize Alexa traffic over other devices.
By ensuring that Alexa has sufficient bandwidth to work with, you can help to ensure that she responds quickly and accurately to your commands.
3. Weak Wi-Fi Signal with Alexa device too far from Wi-Fi Router
Sometimes, Alexa responds slowly because it has trouble connecting to the Wi-Fi. This can happen if Alexa is too far away from the Wi-Fi router or if the signal is weak.
To fix this, try moving Alexa closer to the router. If that doesn't work, consider using a Wi-Fi range extender or mesh Wi-Fi system to improve the signal.
Other things that can affect Wi-Fi strength include the layout of your home and the number of devices connected to the network. If Alexa is still responding slowly, you may want to check for weak Wi-Fi signal areas and take steps to improve the signal.
4. Is there Wi-Fi Interference?
Another factor that can cause Alexa to respond slowly or experience connectivity issues is Wi-Fi interference. Wi-Fi signals can be disrupted by various electronic devices, such as microwaves, cordless phones, and baby monitors, that operate on the same frequency as your Wi-Fi network.
To reduce Wi-Fi interference from electronic devices like microwaves, you can move the device away from the router, change the Wi-Fi channel, or upgrade to a newer router operating on a different frequency band.
5. Restart your Router
Restarting your router is an effective troubleshooting step that can help to resolve many Wi-Fi connectivity issues, including those that may be causing Alexa to respond slowly. When you restart your router, it essentially resets the device and re-establishes a fresh connection to your internet service provider (ISP), which can help to clear up any temporary glitches or errors.
To restart your router, follow these simple steps:
- Turn off the router: Locate the power button on your router and press it to turn the device off. Alternatively, you can unplug the power cord from the router.
- Wait for 30 seconds: After turning off the router, wait for at least 30 seconds before turning it back on. This allows enough time for the device to fully power down and clear any temporary data or errors.
- Turn on the router: Press the power button again or plug the power cord back in to turn on the router. Wait for a few minutes for the router to fully restart and re-establish a connection to your ISP.
After restarting your router, try reconnecting your Alexa device to your Wi-Fi network and see if the issue has been resolved. In many cases, restarting the router can help to clear up connectivity issues and improve the performance of your Wi-Fi network.
6. Check for updates to software and firmware
To make sure your Alexa device isn't sluggish, check to see if there's a pending software or firmware update. These updates can fix bugs and improve the device’s overall performance.
On an Echo speaker, to check for updates, you can simply ask Alexa to do so using voice commands.
- “Alexa, check for updates”
If there are updates available, Alexa will ask you whether you want to install them.
On an Echo Show, you can do so by going to Settings > Device Options and pressing on “Check for Software Updates”.
It's worth noting that Alexa devices usually update automatically in the background when connected to Wi-Fi, so you may not need to manually check for updates. However, if you suspect that your Alexa device is not running the latest software version or if you are experiencing issues with performance, it may be worth checking for updates manually.
7. Power Cycle your Device
If your Alexa is slow to respond, here's a quick and easy fix: power cycle it.
To do this, unplug your device's power adapter and wait for 30 seconds before plugging it back in. It will take a minute or two to reboot, but then try using Alexa again as normal.
Power cycling your Alexa device clears its cache and can eliminate any temporary glitches or bugs that might be causing the slow response time.
8. Reset your Echo device
If none of the above works, resetting your device might help solve the problem.
You can reset your Amazon Echo to its factory settings using the Alexa app on your smartphone. Go to “Devices,” tap the “Echo & Alexa” icon, select the speaker you want to reset, scroll down, and tap “Factory Reset.” Confirm the factory reset.
Alternatively, you can reset your Alexa directly from your Echo device. The steps will differ depending on the model and generation of your speaker.
For example, to reset a standard Echo or Echo dot, press and hold the Action button for 5 seconds until you see a spinning orange light ring on the device. Release the button, and wait for the device to restart.
For an Echo Show, press and hold the Mute and Volume Down buttons for about 15 seconds until the Amazon logo appears.
After resetting your Echo device, you will need to set it up again. Follow the on-screen instructions to connect it to your Wi-Fi network and sign in to your Amazon account.
Resetting your Echo can help to resolve many issues, including those that may be causing Alexa to respond slowly.
Slow response times when controlling connected smart home device
If Alexa responds quickly to general queries like “How are you?” or “What's the weather like?” then your connection to Alexa’s servers and the performance of those servers is not the problem.
If you are trying to use a voice command to control a smart device in your home (like a smart bulb, or a robot vacuum), and getting a slow response, then the issue is more likely caused by that device.
Note: If a device you have connected to Alexa is completely unresponsive, then check out our other troubleshooting guide here.
The above 8 troubleshooting steps also apply if a connected smart device is slow to respond.
- Check the speed of your internet connection – When you initiate a voice command to control a smart device (like a smart bulb), that action is triggered by Alexa’s cloud servers. So you need a fast and stable internet connection for that to work.
- Are other devices hogging bandwidth on your network – If your internet connection is maxed out with high-bandwidth downloads, then the Alexa server request may struggle to get through to the smart device
- Weak Wi-Fi Signal with the smart device too far from the Wi-Fi Router – Alexa can’t control a smart device if it’s not within Wi-Fi range. This is particularly a problem for robot vacuums and robot lawnmowers as they wander around. For that reason, you might get a very slow response as the message tries to get through.
- Is there Wi-Fi Interference – Again other devices like microwaves may be close to the smart device, causing interference.
- Restart your Router – Worth a try to see if it can clear any glitches in the Wi-Fi network
- Check for updates to software and firmware – This time, you need to check the smart devices app to see if there’s new software to install.
- Power Cycle your Device – Restart the smart device so it can try and connect again
- Factory reset your smart device – This involves resetting your smart device to its original settings. Specific instructions will be unique to the device so best to check the manual. You will also need to delete the Skill from the Alexa App and then re-add it.
Slow response times in the Alexa App on your smartphone
If you’re getting slow response times on the Alexa App then I recommend checking out my troubleshooting article here where I walk through the following.
- Force close the app completely and then reopen it. This can help to iron out any glitches responsible for slowing or lagging app functionality.
- If that doesn't work, you can restart your smartphone. This can help to fix glitchy apps without too much effort by cleaning out temporary data stored in memory that may be causing a problem.
- Next is to check for an Alexa app update. Sometimes, there may be a bug in the app that has been fixed with an update. Checking for updates in the app store can help to take care of any pending bug fixes that may be affecting the app's functionality.
- You can also check for an Alexa outage online. Since the Alexa app is largely dependent on cloud services to operate, there may be occasions when Amazon web services suffer an outage.
- As discussed in the previous section, a common reason why the Alexa app may be slow to respond is Wi-Fi or internet connectivity issues. It’s worth checking both your own phone and any connected smart home devices for internet connectivity. Sometimes, a simple router restart can help to fix the issue.
- Finally, if none of these steps work, you can completely uninstall and reinstall the Alexa app. This should take care of any pending updates because you'll be able to download the latest version of the app from the app store.
Why is Alexa slow to respond, and what causes this issue
Alexa might be slow to respond due to poor internet connectivity, outdated software or firmware, signal interference, distance from the router, or congestion based on the number of devices connected to the Wi-Fi network.
Can a slow Wi-Fi or Internet connection affect Alexa's response time
Alexa's response time can be affected by a slow Wi-Fi or Internet connection, resulting in delayed responses or not being able to answer at all. A steady and fast connection is needed to get the most out of Alexa's features. From my experience, this needs to be at least 1-2 Mbps.