Why Does Alexa Randomly Light Up?

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Dear Alexa, I just want to say on behalf of all of us flesh and blood humans, thank you for your service, but...and don’t take this the wrong way...you’re freaking us out with your randomly flashing light. Yours anxiously, Everyone. P.S. Maybe give the jokes a rest too.

Does your Alexa do this? Not cool, right? Your virtual assistant is supposed to be making your life easier, not introducing more confusion and fear.

But before you perform an exorcism on your home to get rid of the ghosts triggering your Alexa, you should know that there’s normally a perfectly rational explanation for the randomly flashing lights.

Why Does Alexa Randomly Light Up

So, Why Is Alexa Randomly Lighting Up?

The truth of the matter is that 9 times out of 10, there’s nothing random about Alexa suddenly flashing its light. It often just appears random because you haven’t triggered it, or perhaps because you’ve forgotten you’ve set a reminder or alarm.

As you will have noticed, the Echo has a few different light hues at its disposal, and they’re not just to spruce up your living space. You can think of Alexa’s lights like the lighting array on your router or modem. The color of the light and its behavior communicate something specific.

To understand why Alexa suddenly bursts into action of its own accord, you have to learn what each color represents, so in this article, I’m going to address the colors one by one and break them down for you.

Alexa Lighting Up Without Prompt

We’ve established that Alexa isn’t just flashing you the old ring light out of boredom. It’s trying to tell you something, and that something could be that Alexa is listening to you, not listening to you, that your smart speaker is in the middle of a firmware update, or, well...loads of stuff. So, without further ado, let’s explore the Alexa rainbow.

1. Blue

The blue light is Alexa’s meat and potatoes. It’s the quintessential Amazon smart system hue, and it signifies one of four things, depending on the way in which it appears.

A solid blue light will appear after you have uttered your wake word. It informs you that Alexa has heard you and is ready to deal with your request. You’ll also notice a small cyan section within the solid blue ring. It should be pointing towards whoever used the wake word. If this happens all of a sudden, it’s likely due to Alexa mishearing a noise as a wake word.

Once you’ve made your request, you’ll notice that the cyan section starts spinning, informing you that Alexa is hard at work executing your command. You’ll also see solid blue and spinning cyan when firing up your smart speaker.

Finally, if you see an unprompted pulsing blue light, your smart speaker is preparing to install the latest firmware. Alexa usually initiates updates at night, so it doesn’t interrupt your day, which is very thoughtful, but it can still give you the shivers if you catch it on your way to the kitchen for a midnight snack.

2. Yellow

Alexa’s pulsing yellow alerts can appear random, but they’re actually just a polite reminder that you have some sort of notification or message that you’re yet to address. If this is the light that’s been giving you grief, simply say to Alexa “Play my messages”, or, “Check my notifications?”.

3. Red

A solid red light ring on your smart speaker appears when you give Alexa the night off and turn off the microphone. It means Alexa is not actively listening to your commands, so she will not respond to the wake word.

Red light can also signify an error, and to get rid of it, you may have to perform a factory reset.

4. Orange

The spinning orange light is another one that can catch you off guard. It’s Alexa’s way of telling you the smart speaker is in Setup Mode or attempting to connect to your Wi-Fi network.

So, if your network connection lapses from time to time, you’re bound to encounter this color on what appear to be random occasions.

5. Green

The pulsing green light may seem like a random Gatsby-esque occurrence, and even though it goes away after a few seconds, you shouldn’t ignore it, as it indicates you have an incoming call.

Once you pick up the call, the green light will cease pulsing and start spinning until the call is over.

6. Purple

Alexa’s purple light will mean one of two things, that you’ve got Do Not Disturb Mode on, or that your smart speaker is having trouble connecting to the wireless network.

7. White

You’ll most commonly see the white light when adjusting your smart speaker’s volume, but if the white light is spinning, it intimates that Alexa Guard is toggled on in Away Mode.