What do the Amazon Echo colors mean?

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What is your smart speaker trying to tell you?

What is your smart speaker trying to tell you?
Photo: Song by Victoria/Gizmodo

The Amazon Echo smart speakers are versatile, capable little gadgets that keep getting better over time, but they don’t by design have screens (you’ll have to buy an Echo Show for that. ). This means their only way to display visual updates is via an LED ring that can flash different colors. Here’s what all those colors mean.

Where you’ll see these lights depends on the Amazon Echo you have at home. On older models, the flashing ring appears on the top of the speaker, while on newer Echo speakers, the orb-shaped light is on the bottom. It shouldn’t take you too long to figure out where to look.

We’re focusing on the speakers here, but the Echo Show smart displays also use colored lights, which appear as stripes across the bottom of the screen, with the same colors you’ll see on the screenless speakers. Of course, you can get a bit more information when working with an actual screen (like visible notifications that packages are on the way, for example).

You can change some of the notifications you receive on your Amazon Echo: open the Alexa app on your phone, tap After, Settingsand then Notice. Maybe you ordered a gift that will surprise someone else in the house and you don’t want them to suspect anything, in which case you can choose Amazon purchases to disable these types of alerts on your Echo device.

You can turn off some notifications in the Alexa app.

You can turn off some notifications in the Alexa app.
Screenshot: Amazon-Alexa

However, not all alerts can be turned off – as you will see, some of them are quite important when it comes to the functionality of your device.

Blue (static, with cyan spotlight): Alexa is listening

You’ve probably figured this one out for yourself: When you say “Hey Alexa,” your smart speaker will emit a blue light with a cyan accent. This is how you know your device has actually heard the wake word and is paying attention to you. Once you’ve spoken your command and it’s being processed, you’ll see the ringtone glow as confirmation.

Cyan (rotating on a blue background): Echo starts

There’s another occasion where your Echo will use cyan-tinted blue, and that’s when it kicks in. When you plug the device in (or restart it after a power outage), you should see a static blue light with a cyan accent spinning rapidly around it. If the device needs to be configured from scratch, the rotating cyan on blue light will turn into a rotating orange light.

Orange: configuration and connectivity

As we said above, a spinning orange light can indicate that your device has been turned on for the first time and is ready to be configured. It also appears when you try to reset your Echo, both when the device is processing the reset command and after it is complete. Finally, a spinning orange light may also indicate that your Amazon Echo is trying to connect.

Red: microphone off

If you see a solid red light around your Amazon Echo, that means the built-in microphone is currently muted, likely because you or someone else in your household pressed the mute button. Alexa won’t respond to any voice commands in this mode, until the mute button is pressed again, so it’s a handy privacy feature.

Yellow: Messages or notifications

A steadily glowing yellow light on your Amazon Echo speaker means you have a message or notification. It could be an alert that a package is on its way from Amazon, or it could be a message from a contact you’ve sent in the Alexa app. Say “Alexa, what are my notifications?” or “Alexa, what are my messages?” for you to read them.

Green: Calls

The light around an Amazon Echo will flash with a green tint when you receive an incoming call on the device, and you can then say “Alexa, answer call” to route it through the smart speaker (you can also take it on your phone if you prefer). The green light will then switch to rotating mode when you are on the phone with someone else.

Purple: Do not disturb and connectivity

If you’ve put your Amazon Echo in Do Not Disturb mode (so no calls or notifications can come through), you’ll briefly see a purple light appear whenever you make a voice command request. You can say “Alexa, turn off do not disturb” if you want to go back to normal. If the purple light is flashing, it means the Echo can’t connect to your wifi.

White: Volume and Alexa Guard

When you adjust the volume level on your Amazon Echo, a white light will appear around the device to give you a visual readout of the current volume setting. You will also see a white light around the smart speaker when Alexa Guard is on: this is the security feature where the Echo listens for noises like a smoke detector or the sound of breaking glass.

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