Have you ever had the sinking feeling that something is wrong but you couldn’t quite put your finger on it?
As an Amazon Echo owner, I sometimes come across Alexa features that I didn’t previously know about that have caused me to fear the worst for my Echo device. About three months ago, I had one such experience which left me frantically searching the internet for answers.
It all started one Saturday evening when I got home from the grocery store. While trying to lug all the groceries in, I was caught by surprise when right there on the countertop, my Echo dot was
It took me about 10 minutes to fully unload the car, and when my attention returned back to Alexa, she was still updating? It was curious because I had never experienced Alexa taking this long to update. Come to think of it, I’d never experienced Alexa updating at all, so far! Her self-care just seemed to happen in the background.
So I decided to ask her point blank. “Alexa, why are you blinking yellow?” She responded quickly, telling me to check the help section of the mobile app, but I had no time for that. So I asked again, “Alexa, why does Alexa blink yellow?” She responded with a reply all too familiar to Amazon Alexa users, “Hmm I don’t know that one” (How many of you read that in Alexa’s voice? 😄). And with that, I decided to give up for the time being. I figured, if it didn’t mean Alexa was broken, I could live with it, it wasn’t an issue, and so I finished unpacking my groceries.
But ugh, the blinking yellow light just never stopped! You know how sometimes life gets busy and you lose track of time? Well, the next couple of days were really busy at work so there was no space on my mind for Alexa’s problems. A week went by and Alexa was still blinking yellow. I thought to myself, “Nothing takes a week to update.” I had to get to the bottom of this. So I hopped online and googled the only two things I could think of that might make this problem go away: “Why does Alexa blink yellow?” And “How to stop Alexa from blinking yellow all the time?”
What does Alexa blinking yellow mean?
What I found out truly surprised me! As it turns out, there are many light ring color modes (12 at the time of writing this) every Alexa user should be aware of. And each one of them means something different! I’ll briefly explain each one here so that you’re caught up. Some of them apply to all Amazon Echo devices and others only apply to Amazon Echo devices with a camera, like the Echo Look or the Echo Show.
Let’s start with ones you are probably already familiar with and go from there.
(1) If your device is plugged in and there is no light ring, it means Alexa’s on and waiting to fulfill your requests.
(2) If she displays a solid blue ring with a spinning cyan ring around it, then your device is booting up.
(3) Solid blue ring with a stationary cyan stripe? Then Alexa is processing your request.
(4) If her ring is alternating cyan and blue, then Alexa is responding to you.
(5) Is the light ring a spinning orange light? The device is now in setup mode and connecting to your wifi network.
(6) A white ring means Alexa is adjusting the volume. A blinking white ring on a device with a camera, such as the Echo Look, means the camera’s on.
(7) Solid red means Alexa is muted; the mic and camera off. A flashing red ring means Alexa is unavailable.
(8) A flashing green ring means you have an incoming call.
(9) When you are on an active call, Alexa displays a spinning green ring.
(10) Do you see a flashing purple ring? Then there was an error during Wi-Fi setup.
(11) A single purple flash, while interacting with Alexa means “do not disturb” mode is enabled.
(12) And finally, a flashing yellow ring means you’ve got a message! But I like to think if it as today’s version of “You’ve got mail!”
Finally, I knew what was causing my Echo to keep flashing yellow. Now, how to stop it?!
How to stop Alexa blinking yellow?
Now that I knew what the flashing yellow light meant, it became increasingly clear that in order to stop it, I needed to access my messages. But how could I do that? And what did I need to I say?
Turns out there are multiple ways to access your messages. The first, and quite frankly my preferred way, is to open up the Alexa mobile app and view your messages there. I like it because you can just press play and listen to your messages privately on your phone with headphones on. But probably the easiest way is to just ask, “Alexa, what are my messages?” In my case, she responded, “One message from Sarah, ‘Hope you’re actually using the Echo I got you for Christmas! Let me know how you like it!’”
Well, that was easy!! But unless you’re aware of what the colors mean, you can feel like a real idiot not knowing how to get your Alexa device to work. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t seem to be able to tell you what the colors mean when you ask her. But oh well, the problem was solved. Or was it?
Alexa blinking yellow but no messages??
After a week of my sister thinking I was ignoring her, I finally responded back: “Hey I’m just getting your message, I didn’t know how to work Alexa until now, but yes I’m using it and I love her.” My sister and I started using Alexa regularly to send fun little messages back and forth. And after 2 months of sending and receiving messages like a pro, I thought to myself “I’ve got the hang of this! I know exactly what the yellow light means!” And I did…that is until I didn’t.
One day I came home from work to find Alexa blinking yellow again. Puzzled, I looked at my phone and didn’t see any new messages from my sister. I began to worry that Alexa WAS actually broken this time.
So I decided to ask Alexa what was up now. “Alexa, what are my messages?” To my surprise, she responded; “one Amazon package has arrived.” I literally started laughing. So as it turns out, the yellow light can also mean your Amazon packages have arrived or that you have a notification from Amazon.
I hope this story can save other Alexa owners a lot of headache and trouble in understanding what the different lights mean. I’ve gone ahead and created a handy little cheat sheet you can take with you that’ll let you know exactly what each color represents. When you eventually encounter some random color that you don’t recognize, just refer to the cheat sheet and you’ll quickly be able to diagnose the issue with your Alexa device. Happy querying!