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What the light ring colors on your Amazon Echo mean

The color of your Echo's light ring is important. Here's what Alexa is trying to tell you.

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When lit up like this, Alexa is listening.

Sarah Tew/CNET

One of the hallmark features of most Amazon Echo speakers is the light ring -- or in the case of the Echo Show ($230 at Amazon) displays, the light bar.

When you wake up the speaker by saying "Alexa," the light turns blue and then swirls around as Alexa is processing your voice command.

That light ring also serves as a status indicator and a notification light, too. At times, the Echo's ring or Show's bar will light up with different colors, all of which mean something important.

Here's what those colors mean.

Read more: 22 tips for your new Amazon Echo

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Waiting on you...

Most of the time, the light ring stays off. If the device is plugged in and there are no lights showing, it means the speaker is active and waiting for you to speak the wake word. When you interact with Alexa, you will see white and various tones of blue.

  • If you speak the wake word or manually wake Alexa, the light ring will turn solid blue and a small section of cyan will point in the direction of the person speaking.
  • Solid blue with spinning cyan after you've spoken a command means Alexa is processing your request. This also happens when the speaker is powering on.
  • Alternating blue and cyan when Alexa is responding to a command or query.
  • The light ring will show the volume percentage in white when you manually turn the light ring on the Amazon Echo or the first-generation Echo Dot, press the volume up or down on the second-generation Echo Dot or tell Alexa to adjust the volume.
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When the red light is on, the Alexa microphone has been turned off.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Just so you know...

The light ring will tell you if there are any problems with Alexa, as well. Status indicators are red, purple or orange.

  • Pulsing violet indicates that there was a problem during Wi-Fi setup.
  • Spinning orange means the device is currently connecting to your network.
  • Solid red means the microphone has been turned off and Alexa is not actively listening for your commands.
  • spinning blue light that ends with a purple flash indicates that Do Not Disturb has been activated.
  • flash of purple after you interact with Alexa means that Do Not Disturb is still enabled.
  • A continuously spinning white light means Alexa Guard is on Away Mode.

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When the green light is on, a call is coming in.

Amazon

Something to share...

Now that Alexa lets you send messages and make calls, Amazon has introduced two new colors for notifications: green and yellow.

  • pulsing green light indicates an incoming call.
  • A spinning green light means you're currently on a call.
  • A pulsing yellow light is telling you that you have messages in your inbox. You can say, "Play my messages" or "Check my notifications" for more information.
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The Echo Show has a handy screen to communicate with users... but it still uses bands of colored light on the bottom of that display.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Show goes on...

Unlike the Amazon Echo smart speakers, the Echo Show benefits from having a full display. But the device still uses similar light signals to its speaker counterparts, and they appear on the bottom of the screen in a thin band. Here are the color meanings:

  • A solid band of blue with a cyan spot indicating the direction of the speaker will appear when you speak the wake word.
  • A solid band of red means the microphone and camera have been turned off. After a few seconds, the light will turn off, leaving a microphone/camera-off symbol in the upper right hand corner of the display.
  • A band of orange means your Echo Show is experiencing network connectivity issues.
  • A band of violet means you have set the Echo Show to Do Not Disturb mode. After a few seconds, the light will turn off, leaving a crescent moon symbol in the upper right hand corner of the display.