Alexa is one of, if not the biggest smart home ecosystems on the market, able to do a multitude of things on its own. It can do even more if you connect it to other devices as well. While the Amazon Echo and other Alexa devices have a lot of great things about them, it cannot be said that these devices are perfect or easy to operate for everyone. One thing that some people struggle with at times is how to unmute Alexa. Today, we will help you figure that out, among other things.
When you mute your Alexa, she will be unable to hear any voice commands, and thus, the only way to unmute the device is to push the unmute button on your device. Alexa devices vary a lot in design, which means that the mute button may not be found on the same spot as all devices. For example, to mute and unmute the 1st generation Amazon Echo, you have to push a button on top. Meanwhile, an Amazon Echo Show also has a button on top, but it is smaller.
But what do you do if your Alexa device is not muting or unmuting? And what benefit is there to having your device muted anyway?
How to Unmute Alexa
Muting and unmuting your Alexa device is a simple process, as in most cases, it only requires you to push a button. Push it once to mute it, and then push it again to unmute it. This button is typically located on the top of Alexa devices, such as the regular Amazon Echo, the Echo Dot, and the Echo Show. However, some Alexa devices have the button in different positions. For example, the Amazon Echo Flex, an Alexa device that plugs into the outlet directly (think like an electric air freshener), the mute button is present on the front.
As far as voice commands go, you can neither mute nor unmute an Alexa device using them. If you ask Alexa to mute or unmute your device, it will either turn the volume off or return it to the previous volume level, respectively. Asking Alexa to turn off the microphone will have no effect.
Why isn’t my Alexa unmuting?
If your Alexa is unable to be unmuted, or if it’s unmuted but not able to hear, this may mean that there is something wrong with your device. Be sure to contact Amazon to potentially replace it if needed.
What does Alexa listen to?
One concern people have with devices like the Amazon Echo is privacy. And we would argue that this is a fair concern, especially considering just how many incidents have come out about information being leaked. But what does that mean for Amazon Alexa? What kind of stuff does she listen to?
The way that Amazon has your Alexa device set up is that it is always listening. The design works like this because it has to be able to listen for whichever wake word you are using for it. These wake words can be either Alexa, Echo, Computer, or more recently, Ziggy. Thus, if you are concerned about whether the Amazon Echo is listening, it certainly is. However, it is a little more complicated than that.
Can Alexa hear me when I’m unmuted?
This concern is also valid, especially considering there have been reports in the past about muted devices still being capable of listening to what you are saying. The good news is that Amazon Echo devices are not able to listen in on your conversation when the device is muted. Despite this, your device is still capable of performing certain functions. For basic non-video Alexa devices, you can still do things like have alarms, reminders, and timers go off, receive notifications, and have people drop in on you (if you allow them to, anyway). Meanwhile, the Echo Show is far more versatile while muted, as you can use touch controls to do a number of things. For instance, you can still use YouTube while the device is muted.
Does Alexa record audio?
One thing that may be concerning about your Alexa listening to is whether your audio is being recorded by Amazon. Well, the good news is that Amazon is not recording you – most of the time, anyway. The only time Amazon will begin recording your audio is when Alexa hears her wake word. The recording will begin only when it hears, and ends once it has either succeeded in the task, did not succeed, or simply turned off. The latter usually happens when it only hears its wake word, or because of a false positive.
Speaking of false positives, this in particular proves to be an annoyance often, as it means that there may be situations where you are not talking to Alexa, and she records what you are saying anyway. This gets even worse considering that judges have subpoenaed Alexa recording records in the past. It gets that much more annoying knowing that it may have been recorded without your knowledge, so you have no idea what could be saved. According to Amazon, Alexa records audio in order to help improve Alexa’s voice recognition capabilities. While this is perhaps a valid reason to record audio, a lot of people dislike the fact that it is impossible to opt-out of this feature.
The only current method of dealing with recordings made by your Alexa is to delete the recordings that have already been made. To do this, you have to go into your Alexa app, and navigate to the privacy settings section. Next, click on “Review Voice History,” which will show your devices’ audio recordings, which you can either sort by the date the audio was recorded or order it by the devices that recorded the audio. From here, you can select some, or even all, of the recordings. This will not prevent it from recording more, but at least Amazon, nor any other unwanted parties, will be able to review these recordings anymore.