Picture of the Amazon Alexa Echo Gen 1 smart speaker, showing the Mic as off, mic mute on, as Indicated by the red light ring.

How to Force a Firmware Update on the Amazon Echo Alexa Smart Speakers




Technically speaking, there’s currently no way to force an immediate firmware update on any of the Alexa Echo smart speakers from Amazon.  Further, these speakers typically update quickly by themselves as new firmware is released, within a couple hours, or at worst, a couple days.  But you may want to update your device immediately, particularly when you know that a pending update is available, and that revision contains features that you’re chomping at the bit to try out.




These speakers, including all the Dots, Echos, will generally update themselves under the following conditions:  1) A firmware revision is available, and 2) when they’ve processed no requests and performed no activities, for at least thirty minutes.  This method likely does not work on the Tap, as its microphone is normally muted (you must press the actions button to get Alexa’s attention on the Tap).

You can take advantage of these conditions, and force a sort of scheduling of an update as follows.

 

1. Power up your speaker(s) and make sure they’ve successfully connected to the internet.

 

2. Tap the  Mic Off   button on your speaker, to mute the speaker’s microphones.  This assures that the speaker will neither hear nor respond to any requests.  The light ring turns  red  on your speaker, indicating that the microphone is definitely muted.

Picture of the Amazon Alexa Echo Gen 1 smart speaker, showing the Mic as off, mic mute on, as Indicated by the red light ring.
Amazon Alexa Echo Gen 1 smart speaker, showing the Mic as off, mic mute on, as Indicated by the red light ring.

 

3. Wait at least thirty minutes.   The firmware update may occur after thirty minutes of your speaker being muted.  However, it can take as long as a day or more.  So patience is necessary throughout this operation.  If you become impatient and unmute your speaker before it has updated, the update request is then cancelled.




4. Observe firmware update has occurred.  After a software update, the Amazon Alexa smart speakers will reboot themselves.  You’ll see the light ring running through its pretty colored patterns during reboot, as pictured next, and the speaker may emit several crackles and pops during firmware installation.

Picture of the Amazon Alexa Echo Gen 2 smart speaker with power adapter, plugged into wall outlet.
Amazon Alexa Echo Gen 2 smart speaker with power adapter, plugged into wall outlet.

 

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Revision History

  • 2017-12-12: Originally published.