Why is my Echo Dot Flashing Yellow?
We have a new toy here in the office, and it’s an Amazon Echo Dot, though it’s just as frequently referred to by the name of the virtual assistant: Alexa. It’s a cool little thing with an expressive light ring on the top to let you know what’s going on with the Echo Dot, like some sort of robot from a 1970s sci-fi flick. So why would the Echo Dot flash yellow?
The Echo Dot is a neat little device, more powerful than previous models and much more attractive to look at. When we were initially playing with it, we were surprised at how easy it was to set up and how intuitive it became to use. We had played around with earlier models and got on well with it and Alexa, but things have improved a lot this time round.
Echo Dot light ring
As well as making Alexa respond vocally, the Echo Dot flashes different color lights to let you know what’s going on. The majority of the time, the light will not be used. If you’re not interacting with it or asking Alexa to do something for you, the device will stay dark. Otherwise it would be a waste of power.
As the Dot doesn’t have a screen and doesn’t want to keep talking at you all the time to keep you up to date, the designers decided on the light ring. I think it works well, and once you know what all the colors mean, it makes the device even easier to use.
The colors used with the Echo Dot mean specific things:
- A solid blue ring with a spinning cyan color means the Echo Dot is booting up.
- A solid blue ring with cyan in the direction of someone speaking means Alexa is listening and processing your command.
- An alternating blue and cyan ring means the Echo Dot is responding or about to respond.
- An orange spinning ring means the Echo Dot is trying to connect to WiFi.
- A solid red ring means you have turned off the microphone, so you cannot use verbal commands.
- A flashing green ring means a call is coming in or your Echo Dot has received a Drop.
- A spinning green ring means a call or Drop is ongoing.
- A white light ring means someone is currently adjusting the volume on the Echo Dot.
- A pulsing purple ring means there is an issue with the WiFi or network settings on your Echo Dot.
- A single flash of purple after you have said something means Do Not Disturb is active.
- No lights means the Echo Dot is idling and waiting for some kind of input.
Echo Dot flashing yellow
Of the myriad of colors the Echo Dot uses, there’s one we didn’t mention in the list above: yellow. Amazon has made a couple of curious color choices with the Echo Dot. They use red to signify that the microphone is off, yet most people associate red with an error or something going wrong; just ask anyone who’s ever had an Xbox 360. The same applies for orange and yellow, which are often used as warnings of something going wrong.
If your Echo Dot flashes yellow, though, don’t be alarmed; it just means you have a message waiting. If you want to know what it is, just ask. Usually, “Alexa, play message,” will work. Otherwise you could try saying, “Alexa, read my notifications,” which should do it.
Setting up messaging on the Echo Dot
Messaging using an Echo Dot is not the same as sending a text or email. You can only message other Alexa users. They don’t need an Echo Dot, though, as they can use the Alexa app instead. Aside from that, the system is very straightforward. To set it up 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 its obvious a lot more work has gone into giving Alexa natural speech patterns since the last time I tested Alexa. 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 Alexa app or Echo Dot users. Aside from that, messaging is fast, free, and very simple to use.
If you see your Echo Dot flashing yellow, don’t worry. It isn’t an error, but a message. Just say, “Alexa, read my notifications,” and the yellow light will disappear!