You know in movies like Star Wars where human characters can somehow decipher R2D2's random bleeps and bloops as if he were speaking in plain English? Well, communicating with your Amazon Echo is a little like that.

The colors on your Echo may not look like much to the untrained eye but they each communicate something specific about your device.

The lights are like a little language of their own. Some of these signals are intuitive and easy to figure out through trial and error. Others are a little more confusing, and some, you would never in a million years be able to figure out on your own. But they're easy enough to memorize, and it's worth getting the hang of it so that you know what your Echo is trying to tell you.

Amazon Echo

  • Solid blue with small cyan section. When you speak the wake word, Alexa uses the cyan to point to the speaker.
  • Spinning cyan on solid blue. This means that Alexa is processing your request.
  • White. White represents the volume percentage.
  • Spinning violet. This means that Alexa had an issue with wifi setup.
  • Spinning orange. Spinning orange means Alexa is currently connecting to the network.
  • Solid red. This tells you that your microphone has been turned off.
  • Spinning blue with purple flash. This means do not disturb. Further purple flashes are Alexa telling you that it's not listening right now.
  • Pulsing green light. This means that you have an incoming call.
  • Spinning green. Spinning green means that you are in the middle of a call.
  • Pulsing yellow. Messages in your inbox.

The Echo Look

The camera-enabled Echo Look has a few features of its own with these flashing lights.

  • Solid blue with spinning cyan. This means the device is powering up.
  • All lights off. Echo Look is active, and awaiting your command.
  • Solid blue with cyan. Alexa is currently processing your request.
  • Spinning orange. Setup mode.
  • Blinking white. Your camera is on. This is a good one to remember if you don't want to have to throw a towel over your device every time you change clothes.
  • Solid red. Camera and microphone are both off.
  • Flashing red. Alexa unavailable.
  • Multiple colors. Error during wifi setup.

Amazon Tap

Finally you have the Amazon Tap.

  • Cyan. Cyan lights will pop up when you press the microphone button.
  • Cyan and blue pulses. Powering up.
  • Pulsing cyan. Alexa is processing your command.
  • Solid red. Microphone has been turned off.
  • Pulsing red. Alexa cannot process your request right now.
  • Pulsing amber. A left-to-right amber pulse means that the speaker is currently in setup mode for wifi.
  • Pulsing blue. Bluetooth pairing mode.

The Echo is, for the most part, pretty well fully automated. It's good to know that pulsing amber means "wifi setup mode," but Echo will manage most of its tasks solo. Still, it's nice to know exactly what all of those lights mean if for no other reason than to impress your friends and make them think that you're some kind of robot whisperer, capable of detecting and interpreting the subtle, nuanced language of the machine. Just lean in real close, put your ear to the machine, and say "I think it's trying to tell us something!"