The Echo Dot has become the cornerstone of Amazon’s home and office automation system. The Dot is a cool little device shaped like a hockey puck, with a few controls (which I rarely use), a remarkably good speaker in its 3.0 incarnation, and a flashing light ring that is the main way the Dot communicates with users, in conjunction with the Alexa app’s voice interface.
One question that often comes up, however, is why the Echo Dot is flashing yellow – or any of several other color and flash pattern combinations. So why is your Echo Dot flashing yellow?
Echo Dot Light Ring Color Meanings
- Echo Dot Light Ring Color Meanings
- Echo Dot Flashing Yellow
- Setting Up Messaging On The Echo Dot
- Receiving Messages
- We’ve Got More Echo Dot Resources For You!
The Echo Dot communicates verbally via Alexa, but it has color and pattern combinations as well that can give you nonverbal cues about what your Echo is doing. Your Dot can produce a steady light, flashes or pulses, a circular rotating light, and can even light up just one part of the ring. Each color and pattern combination has its own meaning.
An easy way to keep the different meanings straight is to remember that blue lights mean your Amazon Echo is handling a command, which could mean listening to a command, processing one, or responding to one. Warm colors, like red and orange, usually indicate some issue that is preventing your Echo from working normally. All other colors, like yellow, purple, and white, are status indicators, which are not necessarily good or bad. They just let you know if your Echo is in a state that differs from its default state.
When your Amazon Echo is plugged in and sitting on the shelf, table, or countertop without any lights showing, it means that it is awaiting your next command. This is the default state for the Echo, so you can give it any command you want to start using it.
Solid Blue Ring, Cyan Arc
A solid blue ring with a stationary cyan arc means that your Amazon Echo is listening to a request. It’s the device’s way of letting you know that it heard your “Hey Alexa,” and is taking in feedback. If you ever notice this ring when you aren’t trying to give Alexa a command, as happens when you accidentally activate the device, just say “Nevermind Alexa,” and wait for the ring to go away.
One of the neat things is that the cyan arc will point in the direction that it thinks you are speaking to it from. This is a good way to check how accurate your Amazon Echo’s microphones really are.
Solid Blue Ring, Spinning Cyan Ring
The solid blue ring with a spinning cyan ring means that your Amazon Echo is loading and not in a state where it can process commands. You’ll see this ring when your Echo is starting up (after you plug it in) and when it’s processing your last request. For example, if you have a slow internet connection, you’ll likely see your Echo in this state regularly, as a slow connection can cause requests to take longer to process.
Pulsating Blue and Cyan Ring
When your Echo’s ring is pulsing between blue and cyan, it means that the device is responding to your request. This happens after the spinning blue and cyan ring has gone away, indicating that Alexa has processed your request and is ready to respond. This ring will appear when Alexa is reading to you from the internet, asking you a question about your command, playing music, and so on.
Orange Arc Rotating Clockwise
When your Amazon Echo’s ring is a spinning, orange arc, it means that the device is trying to connect your network. This happens normally from time to time and may even be a frequent occurrence if you have a weak internet connection.
The issue will normally resolve itself, assuming your WiFi network is turned on and you haven’t changed your connectivity permissions/passwords. The only time to worry about a spinning orange arc on your Amazon Echo is if the rest of your devices are connected to your WiFi network but your Echo is still unable to connect to it.
Solid Red Ring
A solid red ring may seem intimidating (especially if you’ve ever experienced the Xbox’s red ring of death). However, its meaning on the Amazon Echo isn’t nearly as foreboding as it looks.
When the ring on your Amazon Echo turns solid red, it just means that you have disabled the mic on the device. This prevents your Echo from being able to hear, process, or respond to your requests. You can turn your mic on and off using the button on top of the device.
And yes, it has been confirmed in the teardowns of the device that pushing the mute button physically prevents the mic from getting power. Your Echo can’t listen to you when you see the red ring, so you can turn it on whenever you want a little extra privacy.
Pulsing Yellow Ring
A pulsing yellow ring on your Amazon Echo means that you have a notification waiting for you. Different apps and services can leave you with different notifications, so you won’t necessarily know where the notification is coming from until you check it.
To check notifications on your Amazon Echo, you can say, “Hey Alexa, what did I miss?” or, “Alexa, read my notifications.” Once you’ve gone through all of your notifications, the yellow ring will disappear.
When your Echo is in Do Not Disturb mode, the yellow ring won’t be visible, even if you have notifications. However, you can still check your notifications with the above commands if you have any.
Pulsing Green Ring
When your Amazon Echo’s light is pulsing green, it means that somebody is calling your Echo device (or a connected phone number). You can answer the call on your Amazon Echo by saying, “Alexa, answer.” If you don’t want to respond to the call, you can say, “Alexa, ignore.”
Green Arc Rotating Counter-clockwise
Tying in with the above ring, a rotating green arc means that you are on an active phone call with your Amazon Echo. This one should be pretty clear, as you’ll only ever see it when you’re on a phone call. However, if you do happen to see it when you aren’t on a phone call (at least not to your knowledge) you should probably have Alexa try hanging up.
You are adjusting the volume on your Echo Dot.
Pulsing Purple Ring
An error occurred during your Dot’s setup and you need to set it up again.
Single Purple Flash
Alexa is in Do Not Disturb mode, and you have just finished an interaction with your Dot.
Spinning White Arc
Alexa is in Away Mode.
Echo Dot Flashing Yellow
So in this article, I’m going to explain the flashing yellow light on your Echo Dot. When your Echo Dot flashes yellow, it just means you have a message waiting. If you want to know what it is, just ask. You can say “Alexa, play message” or “Alexa, read my notifications”.
Setting Up Messaging On The Echo Dot
Messaging on the Echo Dot is kind of frustrating because it could be incredibly convenient, but instead, it’s just kind of convenient. The big block: you can’t use your Dot with people who don’t have a Dot of their own, or at least the Alexa app. (And very few people have the Alexa app without a Dot to use it on.) Aside from that, the system is very straightforward. To set up messaging, you will need to use the Alexa app or your Echo Dot.
Using the app:
- Select Contacts and select the person you want to message.
- Select the Message icon.
- Select the microphone to record a voice message or the keyboard to type one.
- Select Send message.
Message using your Echo Dot:
- Say, “Alexa, message NAME.”
- Record your message.
Once the recipient receives the message, they will either be notified by their Alexa app or see the flashing yellow ring on their Echo Dot. They can then read and reply to their message as they need to. You can listen to the message using the app or the Dot. If it’s a voice message, then it will simply be played back to you. If a typed message was sent, Alexa will transcribe it for you and read it out loud for you.
Transcription seems fairly accurate, and it’s obvious a lot of work has gone into the Alexa natural speech recognition functions. The voice is almost conversational and very easy to live with, rather than sounding as if you suddenly have an old school text-to-speech program as a roommate. As far as I can tell, the message system cannot break out of the Amazon ecosystem and it can only be used by the Alexa app or Echo Dot users. Aside from that, messaging is fast, free, and very simple to use.
We’ve Got More Echo Dot Resources For You!
Here’s our guide to playing free music on your Echo Dot!
We’ve got a walkthrough on how to factory reset your Echo Dot.
We can show you how to listen to Apple Music on your Echo Dot.
Want to use a Bluetooth speaker? Here’s how to pair a Bluetooth speaker to your Echo Dot.
Podcast fan? Here’s our guide to using your Dot to listen to podcasts.