You just set up your Amazon Echo, and then you noticed that the ring around the top is doing this blinking flashing yellow thing. What’s up with that? Here’s why your Echo might flash yellow, red, green, or blue.

The Echo uses the flashing colors to alert you of different things, depending on the color. Since the regular Echo and the Echo Dot don’t have a screen, this is the only way they can let you know visually that something’s going on—otherwise Alexa would have to just keep yelling stuff at you until you got annoyed, and that just wouldn’t work.

Each Echo Device Has Slightly Different Light Positions

The regular Echo and the Echo Dot are basically the same device, just in different sizes. They both have the distinctive colored ring around the top of the device. Then, there’s the Echo Look, Tap, Show, Plus, and Spot—and they are all completely different devices in different form factors.

The one thing that they all have in common (aside from letting you talk to Alexa) is that they all have colored LEDs that help you understand what’s going on. The Look has a mini ring around the camera, the Show has a colored LED bar beneath the screen, the Spot has a colored ring around its screen, and the Tap has 5 LEDs that light up with different colors. The colors that you see (and what those colors mean) are the same on all the devices.

RELATED: Which Amazon Echo Should I Buy? Echo vs. Dot vs. Show vs. Plus and More

If Your Echo is Blinking or Flashing Blue: It’s Listening to You

By default, your Echo won’t have any lights blinking or pulsing or flashing at you—it just sits there waiting for you to talk to it. There’s a tiny power light on the back, but that’s the only way to know it’s on just by looking at it.

When you talk to Alexa, the light ring wakes up and turns blue. If you watch it happen, you’ll see that the blue ring closes the circle, and then shows a lighter blue on one segment: that lighter segment is pointed in the direction from which you’re speaking. When you’re done asking a question, the blue light spins while Alexa thinks about what you said and prepares a response.

If Your Echo is Flashing Green: You’ve Got a Call Coming In

If your Echo is flashing or pulsing green, you’ve got a call coming in from one of your contacts.

This is part of Alexa’s calling and messaging feature, which you can use to call or even send text messages to people on your contacts list, or to just call any phone number.

RELATED: How to Call and Message Friends Using Your Amazon Echo

If Your Echo is Blinking or Flashing Yellow: You’ve Got Mail!

If the Echo is pulsing yellow, that means that you’ve got a message in your inbox, and you might want to check it out. The easiest way to check out the message and disable the flashing yellow light is to simply ask Alexa to read your messages to you.

You can also use the Alexa app on your phone to read the message and the flashing yellow light should go away.

If Your Echo is Solid Red: The Microphone is Disabled

If you press the Microphone button on top of your Echo, it mutes the microphone. Alexa shows a red ring while the microphone is muted, and won’t be able to listen or respond to anything you say.

If you want the red ring to go away, you can simply press the Microphone button again to stop muting Alexa.

If Your Echo Briefly Flashes Purple: Do Not Disturb Mode is Enabled

If the Echo flashes purple at the end of an interaction, it means that Do Not Disturb is enabled, which is a feature that makes sure nobody can call or message you through the Echo during certain times.

RELATED: How to Turn On Do Not Disturb for your Amazon Echo

If Your Echo is Blinking or Flashing Orange or Violet: It’s Connecting to Wi-Fi

You shouldn’t see orange and violet very often. When your Echo is trying to connect to your Wi-Fi network during setup, it spins an orange light. If there’s a problem with Wi-Fi setup, you’ll see a spinning violet light.

If you see this frequently, it could mean there’s a problem with Wi-Fi connectivity, and you might want to check out some options to make your Wi-Fi better.

RELATED: How to Get the Most Out of Your Amazon Echo

Image credit: Shutterstock

Profile Photo for Lowell Heddings Lowell Heddings
Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
Read Full Bio »