How to Fix Basic Issues with an Amazon Alexa Device

Introduction

Amazon's intelligent personal assistant is called Alexa. Using nothing but the sound of your voice, you can play music, search the Web, create to-do and shopping lists, shop online, get instant weather reports, and control popular smart-home products - all while your smartphone stays in your pocket. What sets Alexa and Echo apart from first-generation voice assistants is responsiveness. There’s no activation button to press. Simply say the trigger word (either “Alexa,” “Echo,” “Amazon,” or “Computer”) followed by what you want to happen, and it will usually be done - as long as you’ve set up everything properly and are using the correct command.

In this guide, we will go over some basic troubleshooting steps that can help you overcome the most basic Alexa issues.
Amazon Alexa device.

1 Understanding the Light Ring

The vast majority of the time, Alexa sits around completely dormant until called upon. But the ring around the top of the Echo and Echo Dot lights up in seven colors, which can alert you if there is a problem.
Echo device with light ring.

  • Red means the mic switch on top of the speaker has been pressed and the speaker will not listen to your requests.
  • Orange means the device is trying to connect to the wireless network.
  • Violet appears when a problem occurs during Wi-Fi setup.

The status indicator may be different on other Amazon Alexa enabled devices, such as the Amazon Tap (pictured below). It comes in the form of five tiny LEDs along the top-front edge of the speaker.
Top of Echo device with LED status indicators below.

  • Pulsing red lights mean Alexa could not complete or process your command.
  • Pulsing amber lights from left to right mean the speaker is in setup mode, waiting for you to pair it with a network using the Alexa app.
  • Pulsing blue lights mean the speaker is in Bluetooth pairing mode.

That's not all the light ring is for, however. It can tell you if someone is calling you, if your Amazon order is out for delivery, the volume of the speaker and more.

? What type of issue are you experiencing?

  1. Alexa isn't connected to the Internet
  2. Alexa can't find my smart-home devices
  3. Alexa can't hear me
  4. Alexa keeps accidentally activating

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Amazon's intelligent personal assistant is called Alexa. Using nothing but the sound of your voice, you can play music, search the Web, create to-do and shopping lists, shop online, get instant weather reports, and control popular smart-home products - all while your smartphone stays in your pocket. What sets Alexa and Echo apart from first-generation voice assistants is responsiveness. There’s no activation button to press. Simply say the trigger word (either “Alexa,” “Echo,” “Amazon,” or “Computer”) followed by what you want to happen, and it will usually be done - as long as you’ve set up everything properly and are using the correct command.

In this guide, we will go over some basic troubleshooting steps that can help you overcome the most basic Alexa issues.
Amazon Alexa device.

The vast majority of the time, Alexa sits around completely dormant until called upon. But the ring around the top of the Echo and Echo Dot lights up in seven colors, which can alert you if there is a problem.
Echo device with light ring.

  • Red means the mic switch on top of the speaker has been pressed and the speaker will not listen to your requests.
  • Orange means the device is trying to connect to the wireless network.
  • Violet appears when a problem occurs during Wi-Fi setup.

The status indicator may be different on other Amazon Alexa enabled devices, such as the Amazon Tap (pictured below). It comes in the form of five tiny LEDs along the top-front edge of the speaker.
Top of Echo device with LED status indicators below.

  • Pulsing red lights mean Alexa could not complete or process your command.
  • Pulsing amber lights from left to right mean the speaker is in setup mode, waiting for you to pair it with a network using the Alexa app.
  • Pulsing blue lights mean the speaker is in Bluetooth pairing mode.

That's not all the light ring is for, however. It can tell you if someone is calling you, if your Amazon order is out for delivery, the volume of the speaker and more.

What device would you like to connect?

Amazon Echo Show Show Me How

Clicking this button will open a new guide that will provide you with steps to resolve your issue.

Amazon Echo Dot Show Me How

Clicking this button will open a new guide that will provide you with steps to resolve your issue.

Amazon Echo Show Me How

Clicking this button will open a new guide that will provide you with steps to resolve your issue.

There are multiple ways to add a new Smart Home device to the Alexa service.

You may need to switch to another method if one does not work. Some devices need more information to be recognized.

Using Voice Commands

  1. Activate Alexa (usually, you can say "Hey Alexa").
  2. Say "Discover My Devices".
  3. The Alexa system will attempt to find any available smart home devices and prompt you through setting them up.
  4. Listen carefully to what Alexa says and respond with the information for your device.

Using The Smartphone App

  1. Open the Alexa app on your mobile device.
    Alexa
  2. Select Smart Home Devices.
    Smart Home Devices
  3. Select Add.
    Add Device
  4. Select Add Device.
  5. Select the category of your device.
  6. Select the brand of your device.
  7. Follow the instructions on screen to connect your smart home device to Alexa.

Using Your Computer

This option only works if you already have an Alexa speaker setup with your Amazon account.
  1. Open your preferred web browser.
    Main Desktop Browsers.
  2. In the address bar, type alexa.amazon.com, and press enter or return.
    Browser with address typed in and highlighted.
  3. Enter your Amazon account Email and Password, then select Sign In.
    Alexa sign in with Email Password and Sign In button highlighted.
  4. Follow the instructions on screen to connect your Smart Home device to the Alexa services.

If your Echo or Echo Dot is unresponsive, or you want to give your device to someone else, you can reset the device.

After you reset your Echo device, you need to register it to an Amazon account and reenter any device settings to use it again.

  1. Use a paper clip (or similar tool) to press and hold the Reset button. You can find the Reset button at the base of your device. After you press and hold the Reset button, the light ring on your Echo device turns orange, and then blue.
    Bottom of Amazon Echo with reset hole highlighted.
  2. Wait for the light ring to turn off and on again. The light ring then turns orange, and your device enters setup mode.
  3. Open the Alexa app (or @ echo.amazon.com on a PC or Mac computer) to connect your device to a Wi-Fi network and register it to your Amazon account.

If your Amazon device cannot hear you, chances are you're muted. To check if you're muted, just look at the top of the device. The microphone button and light ring will be red if you are muted. Simply tap the microphone button to enable voice control.

Amazon Alexa device with microphone button selected.

For the time being, the microphone-off switch is the only way to stop Alexa from responding to accidental or unwanted voice activation caused by a TV show you might be watching or casual conversation.

You may try moving your Alexa-enabled device further from your TV, or simply press the mute switch before watching a show/movie to prevent unwanted voice activation.
Alexa device with microphone button selected.
Alternatively, you can change the "wake word" for Alexa within the Alexa app (or @ echo.amazon.com on a PC or Mac computer).

  1. Select Settings.
    Alexa app with Settings menu selected. Screenshot.
  2. Select the Alexa-enabled device whose wake word you wish to change.
    Settings screen with example Alexa device selected. Screenshot.
  3. Scroll down in the settings until you see "Change your wake word." Select a new wake word from the drop down menu.
    Change your wake word settings with drop down menu. Screenshot.

Be aware, as the warning above the selection menu indicates, that it will take a few minutes for your changes to take effect and that during this time you will be unable to use your device.

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