With the wide array of devices and routines I have configured on my Alexa App, it’s a big problem when the app decides to stop working!
While generally, the app does what I need it to do, at times it has been quite slow to load or has even appeared frozen.
Here are the troubleshooting steps I’ve previously taken to get the app back up and running.
Note: When I talk about the Alexa App not working, I mean the app doesn’t load at all, is very laggy when loaded or completely freezes after a while. If you are able to navigate through the app but can’t get connected devices to work correctly, check out my other troubleshooting guide for that here.
Note: This article is aimed at App users on mobile or tablet devices and not the web browser version.
1. Restart the Amazon Alexa app
I always start with the easiest solution first … which means closing the app and opening it again.
By closing, I mean completely removing it from background processing which can iron out any glitches responsible for slowing or lagging app functionality. Plus, it's quickly done, only taking a few seconds to try!
Even while writing this article, I encountered a bug in the App with the Workout functionality, which resulted in a white screen that I couldn’t close out of. As with any software, there will always be the odd bug to deal with.
On Android, closing the app involves pressing the “Recent App” button on the bottom of the screen (You may need to swipe up and hold if swipe gestures is enabled)
Then find the app and swipe up to close that app (Or hit “Close All” or “Clear All”)
On iOS, you swipe up from the bottom to the middle of the screen, then find the app and swipe up. Older versions require you to double press the home icon to get the list of apps.
This solution works for me most of the time as some parts of the Alexa app can be slow to respond.
2. Restart your Device
Restarting your phone (or tablet) can also help fix glitchy apps without too much effort. The reason for this is by restarting your phone, you are cleaning out temporary data stored in memory which may be causing a problem.
So essentially, rebooting your phone and re-running the Amazon Alexa app means that you're starting with a clean slate that might fix the issue.
3. Check for App Updates
I have seen a few buggy Alexa updates in my time where settings become unset and devices act strangely.
If you suspect you may have an old version of the Alexa app installed, then you can navigate to the app in the App Store or Google Play store to see if an updated version is available.
App updates in theory take care of any pending bug fixes affecting the app's functionality and can also feature design improvements or additional features.
4. Check to see if there is an Alexa outage
The Amazon Alexa app is largely dependent on cloud services to operate. While the uptime of Amazon's cloud services is pretty high, there have been occasions where Amazon web services suffers an outage. (Like in Jan 2021, which impacted customers in the UK and Europe)
Before troubleshooting any further, it’s worth checking the DownDetector website or Twitter to see if there’s any other reports of an outage. If so, then it's just a case of sitting tight and waiting for service to resume.
5. Check Wi-Fi and Internet Connectivity
Are both your phone/tablet and your smart home devices fully online?
The Alexa App on your phone or tablet needs an active internet connection to fully function. You’ll get a “No internet connection” message at the top of the app otherwise.
Phone / Tablet
Your phone / tablet doesn’t need to be on your home Wi-Fi to access the Alexa app however it does need an internet connection. This is great as you can control the devices in your home from anywhere in the world.
You can also set up new devices without being on your home Wi-Fi network as Alexa will connect using the previously saved Wi-Fi settings.
The various devices around your home need to have an active Wi-Fi network that has internet connectivity. (Later Alexa devices have a built-in Zigbee hub which can allow some basic voice controls without an active internet connection).
If your Wi-Fi network has gone down, then Alexa will not be able to communicate with any devices. This can result in issues with the app not working correctly.
Check Wi-Fi and Internet connectivity
To check Wi-Fi, try and connect to your home network on your smartphone, while standing beside the router.
If it doesn’t work, or there are warning lights flashing on your router, then I recommend restarting it (power cycling). This involves removing the power cord, leaving the router unplugged for up to one minute, then powering it back on.
Routers can usually take up to five minutes to get back up and running with an active internet connection.
Network name or password changes
In the past I’ve changed my Wi-Fi network name or password and forgot to update devices accordingly, resulting in apps or devices acting a bit strangely. Be sure to update the Wi-Fi settings in your Alexa App, if there are any changes to the router.
You can update your Echo device by logging on to the Alexa app and selecting the ‘devices' heading. Then choose Echo & Alexa, select the device you want to update, and hit the ‘change' button near the Wi-Fi network. Finally, follow all the instructions listed on the app.
Different network connections
As discussed above, while your phone shouldn’t need to be on the same Wi-Fi network as your Alexa devices, there’s no harm in connecting it just to rule that out as a problem.
Firewall / Router configuration
Your network firewall or configuration can create issues with how your devices communicate with each other. Various security techniques and protocols, such as disabling UPnP, always on VPNs, hidden Wi-Fi networks, disabling DHCP, MAC address filtering, AP / Client isolation can all have knock-on effects on smart home devices. Even router firmware updates can increase security levels causing issues.
I recommend reviewing your Wi-Fi configuration to see if there’s anything obvious causing the problem.
Too many devices
If you've got one too many devices on the same Wi-Fi network, this saturation may lead to slower speeds or connectivity issues. In such situations, it's best to remove devices you don't need to use immediately from the network so that the application you do need to use gets the internet speed it requires to function properly.
Wi-Fi range can also negatively affect device responsiveness, resulting in stalled or glitchy behavior when trying to remotely control.
It may be worth upgrading your home network to a mesh Wi-Fi system if you think this is a root cause. Or possibly, move devices close to the router if you can.
6. Is your operating system still supported?
The Amazon Alexa app requires minimum software versions to operate. It also periodically drops support for older versions as they reach end of life.
If you have an older phone or tablet, it’s possible that you installed the Alexa app when it was supported, however, it may no longer be.
As of the time of writing, for Android phones and tablets your version needs to be 8.0 or greater. While for iOS devices, you need to have version 14.0 or greater.
To check your device version on Android, go to Settings > About > Software Information and look for the Android Version. On iOS, go to Settings > General > About and you should see the Software Version.
For the latest information about software versions, check out this page on the Amazon website.
7. Sign out and sign back in to your Alexa App
I’m not entirely sure why this would work but it’s listed as one of the main troubleshooting steps in Amazon’s help center.
If your Amazon Alexa app is working intermittently, you can try logging out and logging back in. (If the app is entirely unresponsive, skip to the next section)
Select the “More” option once the app is running again, and then press on ‘Settings.' Next, at the bottom of the page click on your name and press ‘sign out.'
Once logged out, try signing in again to see if that fixes the problem.
8. Re-install the Alexa app
If none of the above works, then I recommend completely uninstalling the Amazon Alexa app and reinstalling it.
This should also take care of any pending updates because you'll be able to download the latest version of the app from Apple's app store or Google's play store.
Once installed, you can then sign in and test.
I hope this troubleshooting guide helps you to get back in control of your smart home devices. Unfortunately, if none of these tips work, I recommend reaching out to Alexa customer support to hopefully find a solution.
Let me know your experience with the Alexa app below and if any of these tips worked for you.