One of the many new features Google have brought to Android in the past year or 2 has been the Google Now voice commands. There are a multitude of commands you can say out loud to make your phone and Google Now perform a required function. There are so many that I often forget which ones there are- my personal favourites are “OK Google…”:

  • “Remind me to…..”
  • “Set an alarm for…..”
  • “What is this song?”

Fairly basic but it seems that a lot of people out there in Android land cannot get the OK Google voice commands to work. You can see that it is not working because the microphone icon in the Google search bar is hollow and not solid.

Not Working
Not Working


I first came across this problem when mine stopped working as well. A Google search (the old fashioned way- typing into a search box!) showed me that the number of people experiencing this issue was quite plentiful, with many posting the questions elsewhere. The problem was that every single website was offering the same solution, and for most people it didn’t work.

Some of the fixes being offered were to: change the voice location to US (not required for Australians any more as our dialect is now okay with Google), enable the hotword detection in the settings and/or to update the speech recognition files. None of this worked for me and it seems didn’t work for many others but here they are to try first:

I then noticed that Google Now would be working fine after installing a new custom ROM but stop working after reinstalling all my apps using Titanium Backup and setting up the phone.

My next step was to narrow down the app or setting causing the problem. I found that just installing all of my apps did not cause Google Now to stop working. I slowly and painstakingly worked my way through each and every setting before I realised that it was an app that when I turned on its access to accessibility it killed the Google Now voice commands.

I was able to replicate the problem and turning the apps accessibility off, made Google Now voice commands work again. The App that I found to be behind all this – Music Boss (which incidentally wasn’t meant to be turned on in Accessibility for any version of Android after 4.3 and above (my mum did always tell me to read instructions, but I didn’t listen). Tonight on the Ausdroid Podcast we had a user in the chat room who had the same issue. Turning off the accessibility for his desktop notifications caused the issue to be fixed. A simple fix it seems but for some reason it is not one I can find anywhere else.

settings music_boss_one Accessibility_off

My advice is thus as follows: if you are having issues with Google Now voice commands not working and you have the hollow microphone icon go into the accessibility menu of your settings and take each app’s accessibility off and see which is causing your Google Now icon to be hollow. You may then have to make a decision which you would prefer- the app to have this accessibility access, or your Google Now voice commands.

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    Somjeet Hom Roy

    thanks a lot. solved my problem ๐Ÿ™‚

    NuMetal Styl

    Thank’s a lot ,Solved!!

    r.m m.m

    thank you very much! solved my problem.
    i have the lg g2 d802 and apparently the “on-screen” accessibility was on and that caused the mess.

    Mista Potatoe

    Exact same thing with my G Flex… I never knew that was the issu .


    Give that man another beer! Many thanks ๐Ÿ™‚


    Thanks so much for this article. Helped me a lot.

    James Finnigan

    Wow, I thought they’d just redesigned the microphone icon. Helpful tip, Scott. Cheers


    genuine question. What is the purpose of having accessibility access for an app? I have all of mine switched too off. Should I have some on?


    if you want an app to be have its full functionality then you probably should. Sorry to quote from a website but from The Android platform includes a built in text-to-speech engine and a screen reader to enable phone manufacturers deliver accessible smartphones. Blind and Deaf users also benefit from the wide variety of Android hardware options available, giving users the flexibility to choose a phone with the features that best meets their needs. Android phones can also be highly customized by downloading third-party accessibility applications that make nearly every function possible without sight, including phone calls, text messaging,… Read more ยป


    Thanks Scott, I am having this issue on my wife’s Galaxy Nexus, so I will need to take a look and see if I can fix it.


    Article bugs…
    ‘You can see that it is not working because the microphone icon in the Google search bar is hollow and now solid.’
    Shouldn’t that be ‘not solid’ ?

    The auto centering image previews for Turn Hotword on, and Update Speech Recognition, are showing as featureless grey rectangles. The auto centering is looking at the content empty parts of both images.


    thanks Jeni, I see you spotted my deliberate mistake re the typo. Just checking to see if anyone was paying attention ๐Ÿ˜‰

    As for the auto- preview- I didn’t like that either but my wordpress skills are not good enough to fix that…if it is at all possible.