Alexa Routines Not Working: 12 Easy Fixes

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Alexa routines are a series of actions triggered by a single voice command or event. Instead of having to invoke each action separately, a sequence of actions can be triggered at the same time, making your life easier and saving you time.

However, Alexa users sometimes find that their routines are not working in the intended way. The routines may not be triggering, or some actions are triggered and others not. 

Whatever the case, it can be frustrating when Alexa routines don’t work.

This article examines some common causes for Alexa routines not working and how to fix them.

Alexa Routines Not Working 12 Easy

Understanding Alexa Routines

What are Alexa routines?

Alexa routines are a set of tasks that are triggered by a single command or a single event. For example, you might have an Alexa routine called ‘Start the Day’ that works like this:

  • morning alarm rings at 6.30 am
  • smart lights turn on and gradually get brighter
  • coffee maker turns on
  • smart display reads you the news headlines and shows you traffic conditions and the best route to work

Actions and triggers

Alexa routines have two components: actions and triggers.

In the above routine, the trigger is the time (6.30 a.m.). This is called a scheduled trigger because it will happen at the same time every day (or on the days that you specify). 

The actions in this routine are (1) the alarm, (2) the smart lights (3) the coffee maker turning on, and (4) the smart display reading you the weather and news.

The trigger for an Alexa routine could also be a voice command. 

For example, you could create a routine triggered when you say, “Alexa, I’m home”. The actions triggered by that voice command might be:

We’ve covered scheduled triggers and voice command triggers, but the trigger could also be location-based.

For instance, the routine described above could be triggered when you are within 100 meters of your home.

For this kind of trigger, you would choose ‘Location’ in the ‘When This Happens’ section, and you would need to enter your home address and select ‘Arrives’. You would also need to give the Alexa app permission to access your location.

How to create and customize Alexa routines

Creating an Alexa routine is simple: 

  • Open the Alexa app and tap on More in the bottom right corner.
  • Tap on ‘Routines’ and then tap the Plus sign in the top right corner.
  • Tap ‘Enter routine name’ and give your routine a name
  • Tap ‘When this happens’ and select a trigger
  • Tap ‘Add action’ and choose what you want to happen

You can also customize an existing routine. 

Open the Alexa app and tap on ‘More’ in the bottom right corner

Tap on ‘Routines’, and you’ll see an item called ‘Featured’ – these are pre-set routines created by Alexa. These template routines include:

  • Sunset light
  • Start my day
  • Goodnight
  • Weather after alarm
  • Morning briefing
  • I’m home
  • Dinner time
  • Wake up

In all, there are 16 of these template routines, and you can customize them by changing the trigger and changing the actions that happen.

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12/07/2023 03:14 pm GMT

Alexa Routines Not Working – Common Issues

Here are some common issues with Alexa routines and how to solve them.

#1. Is the Internet working?

This is the first thing to check when your Alexa routine is not working: do you have Internet?

Alexa communicates with smart devices via the Internet, so if your Internet falls out, your Alexa routines won’t work.

Use your smartphone, a laptop, or a PC to browse the Internet and make sure that your Internet is working.

#2. Is the Echo device muted?

Echo devices have a mute button which turns off the microphone. If your Echo device is muted, it won’t hear your voice command – that could be why your Alexa routine is not working.

Of course, this only applies to voice-activated Alexa routines. If your routine is time- or event-activated, you will have to look for another reason your Alexa routine is not working.

Echo devices (Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show) have a ‘microphone off’ button. 

alexa routines not working 01

When the Echo device is muted, a red ring appears around the edge of the Echo device.

#3. Is the routine enabled?

By default, Alexa routines are enabled, but this button can accidentally get toggled to the ‘Off’ position. 

Open the Alexa app and go to More > Routines and tap on the routine that is not working. Then make sure your Alexa routine is enabled:

alexa routines not working 02

#4. Update the Alexa app

If your Alexa app is out-of-date, that could be the reason your Alexa routine is not working.

Here is how to update your Alexa app.

On Android, open Google Play and click on your profile pic in the top right corner. Then tap on ‘Manage apps and devices’. On the next screen, tap on the ‘Manage’ button. Find the Alexa app in the list of apps and ensure it has the latest software update.

On iOS, go to the App Store, tap your Account profile in the top right, and scroll down to Available Updates. If Alexa is listed there, it means there is an updated version that you need to install.

#5. Update the software for relevant devices

You should also check that other devices in the Alexa routine are up-to-date. 

For example, if a signal from a motion sensor triggers your routine, make sure that device’s software is up-to-date.

Alexa Routines Not Working – Advanced Troubleshooting

Sometimes, the problem is more technical and requires more detailed analysis. Here are some more advanced issues with Alexa routines and how to solve them.

#6. Is the routine connected to the right device?

Alexa routines are device-specific. This means an Alexa routine will only work on one Echo device. It often turns out that what you thought was a failed routine is actually a routine that is set to a different device.

So go into the edit screen for the routine and check the ‘From’ field. Make sure the correct Echo device is invoking the routine.

If you want an Alexa routine to be available across all your Echo devices, you will have to set up the same routine for each Echo device.

There could also be an error in the device triggered by the routine. Go into the edit screen for the routine and check the ‘Action’ field. Make sure that you have correctly selected the device that is supposed to be triggered by the routine.

#7. Test the routine within the app

If you did the above and found that the device is correctly specified in the routine, the next thing to do is run the routine from within the Alexa app.

Open the Alexa app go to More > Routines, and then tap the play button for the routine:

alexa routines not working 03

If the routine works when you play it from within the Alexa app, then it indicates there is something wrong with the trigger for the routine.

#8. Check your trigger

When you set up a routine, there is a field called ‘When this happens’. This is the trigger for your routine:

alexa routines not working 04

There are six categories of triggers in the Alexa app:

  • Voice
  • Schedule
  • Smart Home
  • Location
  • Alarms
  • Sound detection

If the trigger is a voice command, check that you are using the same voice command you specified when you set up the routine. In my experience, this is the main cause of Alexa routines not working: the user is giving a different voice command to the one specified in the routine.

Try changing the voice command in the trigger section of the routine. Now, try it again and see if it works.

#9. Try using a different trigger

A good way to sort out issues with the trigger is to use a time-based or scheduled trigger. 

There is very little that can go wrong with a time-based trigger. In the ‘When this happens’ section, tap on ‘Schedule’ and set it for 5 or 10 minutes from now.

 If the routine still isn’t working after you have done that, then the problem is unlikely to be the trigger.

#10. Delete and reset the routine

If you have done all the above and your Alexa routine is still not working, the next thing to try is this: delete the routine and create it again.

To delete a routine, open the Alexa app go to More > Routines, and choose the routine that is not working. Tap on the three dots in the top right corner and choose ‘Delete Routine’.

Then create the routine again from scratch.

To create a new routine, open the Alexa app, go to More > Routines, and then tap on the Plus sign in the top right corner.

Then follow these three steps:

  1. give your routine a name
  2. set the trigger 
  3. specify the action
alexa routines not working 05

If using a voice command for the trigger, try changing the voice command from the one you used before. For example, if the voice command was previously “Turn on the TV” change it to “TV start.”

#11. Do a power cycle

If the Alexa routine is still not working, you can try doing a power cycle (also known as a reboot) on your Echo device.

Rebooting your Echo device can often fix connectivity issues.

To reboot your Echo device, unplug the power adapter from the device or the outlet and wait for 10 seconds. Restart it by plugging the device back into the wall socket.

#12. Do a factory reset of your Echo device

If none of the above has fixed the problem of your Alexa routines not working, it’s time to do a factory reset on your Echo device.

This returns the Echo device to the state it was in when you purchased it. Be aware that doing a factory reset will erase all device-specific data. It won’t, however, remove any account-level information (that remains safe in the cloud).

Here is how to reset your Echo device:

1st gen Echo device

  • Find the reset button on the Echo device. This is a pinhole and is labeled ‘Reset’.
  • Push a paperclip or a toothpick into that hole and hold for 10 seconds.
  • When the Echo device restarts, you will need to set it up again and connect it to the Alexa app.

2nd gen Echo device

  • Press and hold the ‘Microphone Off’, and ‘Volume Down’ buttons at the same time, for 20 seconds.
  • Wait for the ring light to turn off and turn on again.
  • When the Echo device restarts, you will need to set it up again and connect it to the Alexa app.

3rd and 4th gen Echo devices

  • Press and hold the Action key.
  • Wait for the ring light to turn off and turn on again.
  • When the Echo device restarts, you will need to set it up again and connect it to the Alexa app.


In conclusion, there can be various reasons why your Alexa routines are not working. It could be something as simple as the Internet being down, your Echo device being muted, or the Alexa routine being disabled.

It could also be due to a more complex issue, such as the routine being invoked from the wrong Echo device or an incorrect device in the routine itself. The trigger can also be at fault.

Go through these troubleshooting steps one by one, and you should be able to get your Alexa up and running quickly.

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