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Automatic update is leaving smart speakers unusable, and there’s no way to fix it

We always advise people to keep their devices up to date. That’s because most updates come with security patches that stop cybercriminals from taking advantage of vulnerabilities.

The thing is, not all updates end up helping users. In fact, sometimes they create more problems than they fix. Microsoft has been having a terrible time recently with its Windows 10 updates. Tap or click here to find out the key function the latest Windows update broke.

Now, another tech giant is having update problems and this one is even more serious. The automatic update is leaving smart speakers unusable and, in many cases, without a fix.

People can’t get enough of smart speakers

If you’ve entered the world of smart speakers like the Amazon Echo or Google Home, you know just how great they are. You can ask questions like what the weather will be like this weekend or how your commute to work is going to be today.

Those are just simple tasks. You can also use them for more helpful things, like controlling your smart appliances and lights — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Tap or click here to learn about the 25 most useful Alexa skills you’ll use time and again.

Simplicity and convenience have made smart speakers hugely popular in the U.S. and the trend is only going to get stronger. Amazon recently said it has sold more than 100 million Alexa-enabled devices.

But there is something most people don’t know about their smart speakers. They are constantly receiving automatic firmware updates behind the scenes, and one recent update is causing havoc.

 

Related: Yes, your smart speaker is always listening. Here are 6 ways to stop devices from recording you

 

Is your smart speaker still working?

What’s happening now is a recent firmware update to Google Home and Home Mini devices has left some of the smart speakers “bricked,” which means they no longer work. Users have been complaining about the issue on Google’s support forum for over a month and on the social media site Reddit.

They are saying that after the update, their Home or Home Mini has all four LED lights on and the speaker is unresponsive. A Google rep replied to some of the complaints at the end of September saying, “The team is working on this issue and checking the root cause since not all Google Home devices are affected.”

The problem is there hasn’t been an update to that original post. People are still waiting for a fix. Another issue is if the device is outside the warranty period, Google will not replace it.

How to make your Google Home or Home Mini work again

Some of the affected users have been lucky and were able to get their speakers to work again. Others, not so much.

If this issue happens to you, here are a couple of things you can try to make them work:

  • Unplug the speaker, wait a minute and plug it back in. Some affected users have said this worked.
  • Factory reset the speaker.
    • For Google Home – Do this by pressing and holding the microphone mute on the back. After 5 seconds, your device will begin the factory reset process. Continue to hold for about 10 seconds more until you hear a sound confirming the device is resetting.
    • For Google Mini – Press and hold the factory reset button located below the power cord on the bottom of Home Mini. Look for a circle etched into the base. Hold for about 15 seconds. You’ll hear your Google Assistant confirm it’s resetting Google Home.

If these fixes don’t work for you, the next step is to reach out to Google and let them know what’s going on. Since the problem came from its own firmware update, hopefully Google will come through for its customers — even if their warranty is expired.

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