The Amazon Echo (and other Alexa-enabled devices) have become a ubiquitous part of the homes of many people across the world, and for good reason. It makes a lot of things significantly more convenient, including timers, alarms, playing music, and getting information. However, there are some issues that come up, particularly with lights coming on for seemingly no reason.
The reason why your Alexa is randomly lighting up is not due to any one cause. One of the most common reasons why Alexa lights up is because it hears, or thinks it hears, the wake word (usually “Alexa”). When this happens, a blue light will come on. However, there are other color lights that come on for different reasons.
But why does it come on at random? And what do all the lights even mean?
Why does Alexa Randomly Light Up?
The typical reason your Alexa will light up is if it believes it hears its wake word (which can be either Alexa, Echo, Computer, or most recently, Ziggy). In this case, the light will be blue. Once it hears a command followed by the wake word, it will start to flash the blue light before attempting to do the command. Whether it fails or succeeds, the light will turn back off until it is woken up again.
What does each light color mean?
While the blue light is the most common light you will see on an Alexa device, it is far from the only one. For example, the first light people generally see when using their Alexa device is an orange one, as this light shows up during the setup process. The orange light may also show up during other situations, such as if the speaker is currently attempting to pair with another device (such as a Bluetooth speaker or headset).
White is also a common color seen, as many Alexa devices display this color when you turn the volume up or down. If the white light is spinning around the device (such as a circular Alexa device), this means that the Alexa Guard feature is set to “Away” mode. This feature listens for sounds that may suggest something is wrong, such as broken glass or a smoke alarm.
Now, if you are seeing a flashing yellow light over and over again, this means that you have a message, reminder, or notification. The only way to stop this light from flashing like this is if you say “Alexa, what are my messages/reminders/notifications.” These alerts can also be turned off by checking them on the Echo Show’s monitor or through the Alexa App.
If the light is purple, this means that “Do Not Disturb” is on, and comes on when it hears voice commands in this state. It may also be seen if your Wi-Fi is experiencing issues. Red, meanwhile, is usually associated with the Alexa device being muted, the camera (if present) is turned off, or if it is flashing red, not able to connect to the Internet.
The last color is green, which is associated with the device’s calling features. If the light is pulsing green, this indicates that you have an incoming call. If the light is spinning, however, this means that the call is ongoing, or Alexa’s Drop In feature is activated (which allows you to drop in on any device on your account and hear/communicate through them).
Is Alexa always listening to me?
While Alexa devices are useful, there are still things that give some people pause. One of those things, in particular, is protecting their privacy, which more people lately have been concerned about. So it begs the question, how much of what a person says is being listened to by smart devices like Alexa?
The short answer is that, yes, your Alexa device is always listening. The reason why it does this is because it needs to be able to react when it hears the wake word.
How do I make Alexa not listen to me?
If you don’t want Alexa to be listening to you at a certain point, your only options are to leave the vicinity of the Alexa device, press the mute button (usually on top of the device), or simply unplug the device altogether. Of course, none of these options are particularly convenient, making people tend to just put up with Alexa listening, even if they don’t want her to.
Does Alexa record everything I say?
Alexa devices are designed to record everything you say while it’s “active” (meaning after it has heard the wake word). So while it does not record when it is waiting to hear its name, that does not necessarily mean that it will only record inconsequential things. Alexa can wake up and start recording if it even thinks that you said something. There are plenty of people out there who have their fair share of incidents where Alexa woke up when they said “I like” (or honestly, sometimes for no reason whatsoever). It should come as no surprise that people would feel untrusting in Amazon.
Is there a risk to Alexa recording me?
In a lot of cases, there is not really any risk associated with having their conversations recorded, especially in the limited capacity that they are. But because Alexa has a tendency to wake up when not intended, and especially due to similar concerns with other companies (like Facebook) selling private data, people are rightfully concerned that Alexa may do similarly.
This concern is not improved by the fact that deleting the recordings is inconvenient. Not impossible, but it could certainly be easier. To date, Amazon has not announced the ability to opt out of recordings. They say that the recordings are for the purposes of improving Alexa’s ability to help its users, but privacy concerns and inconvenience combined makes people rightfully skeptical. It can even go further than that, however, as Alexa recordings have even been subpoenaed by judges before.
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