Smart home technology can make simple tasks a lot easier, but with seven different colored display lights on all the Alexa models, it can be hard to know what your smart speaker is trying to tell you.
If you own an Alexa, you’ll know that there’s a lot this clever piece of tech can do. From simple tasks like setting alarms, playing music and making calls, to more high tech features like Alexa Guard which turns the gadget into a security device that recognises burglaries, it makes day-to-day life easier for many of us.
However, those familiar with Amazon’s popular piece of kit will also know it can often light up to signal that the device is trying to tell you something. Which ever model you have, the screen or display at the bottom of your device can light up or flash, and it can be frustrating when you don’t know why (especially when it wakes you up in your bedroom in the dead of night).
Being a smart speaker, you can simply ask your Alexa why it’s displaying a light and it should explain. However, if you’re not up for a chat with a piece of AI, these real life tech experts are on hand to help you decode the colors so you can understand the best Alexa speakers.
Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She’s committed to helping readers make the best choices in their homes through sharing practical tips and guides, including this one on how to get to grips with smart tech. For this article she spoke with tech experts to learn how to decode the different lights on an Alexa.
The most common color you’re likely to see on your Alexa is blue. A solid blue light simply indicates that your device is listening for voice commands after hearing your wake word (in most cases, ‘Alexa’).
‘Solid blue color with a rotating icon after speaking a command means Alexa is processing your request,’ explains Awais Mahmood, blogger at Wise of Tech (opens in new tab). ‘You’ll also see a blue swirl every time you plug a device back in, if only for a few seconds.’
A bright green light is usually associated with calls. This display can either appear as a flashing or spinning light.
The flashing light indicates an incoming call. You can ask your Alexa to answer or ignore the call to respond to this notification. ‘The spinning light, on the other hand, is used for Alexa’s drop-in feature which allows Amazon devices in the same household (or consenting contacts) to have intercom-style conversations,’ says Awais.
Usually, a white light on your device corresponds to your volume settings. ‘The only variation with the white light is a rotating pattern which suggests that Alexa Guard is in Away mode,’ Awais continues.
According to Robert Whatley from gadget blog, Den of Laptops (opens in new tab), the light ring that wraps around your device reflect your volume setting. ‘The louder the volume, the more white light will be emitted from the ring or wraps around the ring. Conversely, if you decrease the volume, the light ring will show less white and more yellow or red,’ he says.
If you make a voice command and a purple light shows up, this acts a reminder that Do Not Disturb mode is on. In other cases during setup, a pulsing purple light can indicate that there are Wi-Fi connectivity issues.
‘This setting is useful if you’re trying to sleep or if you’re in a meeting and you don’t want to be disturbed,’ Robert explains. ‘You can enable or disable Do Not Disturb by saying “Alexa, turn on/off Do Not Disturb” or by going into the settings menu in the Alexa app.’
A blinking yellow light represents a waiting message, reminder, or notification. As Robert notes: ‘it lets you know there’s something coming up, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to act right now.’
To resolve this, you can simply ask Alexa to tell you your notifications, asking the device to delete them if necessary. You can also check these notifications in the Alexa app or on the Echo Show’s touch interface.
One the best Alexa skills that the yellow light corresponds to relates to Amazon orders. If you’ve recently made purchased something from Amazon’s website, the yellow light is likely an update on your delivery.
If you’re wondering how to set up Alexa, the orange light is the first color you’re met with as it appears on any new Alexa device. ‘A rotating orange light usually means the speaker is in pairing mode and ready for setup,’ Awais explains. ‘After pairing is complete, however, the same light indicates that your speaker is trying to connect to the Internet.’
If the orange light shows unexpectantly, it’s a good idea to check your Wi-Fi settings and look at how to reset your Alexa if necessary.
As universally recognised, red usually has a negative meaning when displayed on your Alexa. ‘At best, solid red means the microphone is muted, or in the case of the Echo Show, the camera is disabled,’ explains Awais. ‘If you see flashing red however, it may mean your Echo isn’t connected to the Internet. Your speaker will often tell you as much if you try to ask for something.’