Because they don’t have screens, Amazon Echo smart speakers use colored lights to communicate their needs or get your attention. But what does Alexa want this time? Interpreting an Echo speaker’s lights isn’t always easy, and in some cases, one color could mean several different things.
Tip: Sometimes the easiest way to learn about your Echo speaker is to ask it questions. If an Echo speaker shines a light that you don’t understand, try asking “Alexa, what does your light mean?”
Your Echo speaker uses blue and cyan lights to communicate three key functions. And while that may sound a bit confusing, you can usually tell what’s going on by observing how the lights move, flash, or spin.
When you use Alexa’s wake word, your Echo speaker will shine a solid blue ring. This ring contains a small, bright patch of cyan that usually points to whoever’s talking. Once you give Alexa a command, the blue light may shimmer a bit to let you know that Alexa is processing your request.
If a blue and cyan light is spinning around your Echo speaker, it’s either turning on or updating. Alexa isn’t listening for commands during these processes. Bear in mind that Echo speakers may update without shining any lights.
When Alexa detects that you have an unread notification, message, or reminder, your Echo speaker will repeatedly flash a burst of yellow light. This light will continue flashing until you’ve viewed all notifications, messages, or reminders.
You can view these notifications, messages, and reminders within the Alexa app. Or if you don’t mind Alexa airing out your business, you can simply ask your Echo speaker, “What are my notifications? or “What are my reminders?”
If an Echo speaker continues to flash a yellow light, you can ask it to delete your messages, reminders, or notifications. You can also enable Do Not Disturb mode, which will stop the light from flashing.
Your Echo smart speaker will shine a solid red light when its microphone is disabled. Pressing the “mute microphone” button again will get rid of the red light, though of course, it will also reenable the speaker’s microphone.
According to Amazon, your Echo speaker only “listens” to you after you say a wake word. But there are still obvious privacy concerns when using any internet-connected microphone. Pressing the mute button eliminates these concerns, at least in theory. You can check what Alexa’s heard at the Amazon Privacy Hub.
A pulsing green light indicates that you’re receiving a call. To answer the call from your Echo speaker, simply say “answer.” Your Echo speaker will show a spinning green light for the duration of the call. To end the call (or avoid answering it), tell Alexa to “hang up” or “drop the call.”
Your Echo speaker will also flash a green light during Drop-Ins. Family members across your home can use Drop-Ins like an intercom system, and oddly enough, you can add trusted contacts to your Drop-In list from the Alexa app.
If you want to disable calling or Drop-Ins on your Echo speaker, open the Alexa app and navigate to “Device Settings.” Then, scroll down and find “Communication.” Open the Communication menu and turn these features off.
Your Echo speaker will show a spinning orange light while in setup mode. This light will, oddly enough, turn purple if there’s a connection error. The orange light should go away after you finish setting up the Echo speaker.
But if an Echo speaker flashes orange after setup, then it’s having trouble connecting to the internet. It cannot process requests until it’s reconnected—the orange light should spin when it’s trying to reconnect to your network.
If you can’t reconnect your Echo speaker to the internet, I suggest waiting a bit, as it might be a problem with Amazon’s servers. You can also try resetting Alexa from the settings panel in the Alexa app.
You’re trying to talk to your Echo speaker, but it keeps shining a purple light and ignoring you! That’s because it’s in Do Not Disturb mode. The speaker won’t respond to your requests until you exist Do Not Disturb.
You can always ask Alexa to enable or disable Do Not Disturb mode, and there’s a toggle for the feature within the Alexa app. Note that you can also schedule Do Not Disturb in the app.
Confusingly, Echo speakers sometimes shine a purple light if they can’t connect to the internet during setup. It’s an odd choice, given that Echo speakers usually show an orange light when there’s a connection failure.
Echo speakers show a white light when you adjust their volume. This white light will taper off as you decrease the volume, and it will actually flash if you try to exceed the minimum or maximum volume level.
If you’ve enabled Alexa Guard, a feature that listens for “danger sounds,” you may notice your Echo speaker shining a spinning white light. This simply means that Alexa Guard is active, as the smart assistant thinks that you’re away from home. You can tell Alexa that you’re back home through the mobile app.
An Echo speaker’s lights can get a bit annoying, especially if you only use the speaker to stream music or listen to podcasts. But you can’t really disable these lights. The best thing you can do is enable Do Not Disturb mode when your speaker isn’t in use.
Enabling Do No Disturb will keep notification, message, call, and Drop-In lights from showing up on your Echo speaker. Just ask Alexa to “enable Do Not Disturb mode” when you want a bit of peace. Or, schedule Do Not Disturb times within the Alexa app.
Bear in mind that Do Not Disturb won’t stop timers, reminders, or alarms. It also prevents your Echo speaker from taking voice commands. You can ask Alexa to “disable Do Not Disturb mode” if you want things to go back to normal.