Picture of the Amazon Alexa Echo 2 speaker top view, showing the -Action- button highlighted.

What do the Buttons on Alexa Mean

All Alexa speakers feature two to several buttons, and most also have a light ring around the top.  Here, we describe what these Alexa buttons mean, and discuss what each button / plug is for, and when to press them to access the many speaker features.  Finally, we touch a bit on some of the light ring patterns you’ll see when pressing these buttons.





What do the Buttons on Alexa Mean

Volume Down and Up Buttons

The later Alexa speakers have two push-button volume controls on the top. These round depressions, with raised minus and plus symbols inside, decrease and increase the speaker volume.  See the volume buttons, pointed at by the green arrows in the next picture.

Picture of a typical Alexa speaker with its -Volume Up- and -Volume Down- buttons highlighted.
A typical Alexa speaker with its -Volume Up- and -Volume Down- buttons highlighted.

Press the minus button to lower speaker volume. Press the plus button to raise the volume.  Note that changing the volume on one speaker in this way does not affect the loudness of any other Echo speaker on the network or in the same group.  Each Echo device remembers its own volume setting.

The light ring briefly lights up when you press either UP or DOWN button.  It glows white and shows where the volume is currently set.  The less of the ring that glows, the lower the volume setting.  The more of it that glows, the higher.  See the following picture show how the light ring lights depending on volume setting.

Picture of the speaker light ring, showing set at one quarter volume.
The light ring on the speaker, showing set at one quarter volume.

The ring goes out a couple seconds after the last volume button press.

Picture of the light ring, showing one half volume. Finger setting volume.
The light ring, showing one half volume. Finger setting volume.

Each press of either volume key illuminates the light ring in white.

Picture of what light ring shows when speaker set to full max volume.
What the light ring shows when speaker set to full max volume.

Mic Mute / Mic OFF Button

Most Alexa speakers also have a microphone off / on button. This circular button, with a raised STOP symbol inside, mutes and unmutes the built in far field mics.  When muted, the speaker does not hear anything, and so, does not respond to the wake word, or any other voice command for that matter. 





See the Mic Mute button, pointed at by the green arrow in the next picture.

Picture of the speaker with its Microphone Mute / Mic Off button highlighted.
The speaker with its Microphone Mute / Mic Off button highlighted.

The light ring and Mute button also glow red to show that the unit will not hear you, as pictured next.

Picture of the speaker muted, showing its light ring and Mic Off On button glowing red.
The speaker muted, showing its light ring and Mic Off On button glowing red.

When muted, press this button to un mute / turn on the mics again.  Once unmuted, the red light ring goes dark as shown next, and the speaker once again responds to voice commands.

Top view picture of the speaker with the light ring dark. Speaker microphones are active - not muted.
Top view of the speaker with the light ring dark. Speaker microphones are active – not muted.




What do the Buttons on Alexa Mean: The Action and Reset Button

The round Action button has a raised, white dot in its recessed center. We find this button at three o’clock on the top panel of popular Alexa speakers, as pointed at by the green arrow we drew in, in the next picture.

Picture of a common Alexa speaker, top view, showing the -Action- button highlighted.
A common Alexa speaker, top view, showing the -Action- button highlighted.

Quickly press and release the Action button to get her attention instead of calling out her name with your voice.  Raise her in this way when you must be quiet, or in loud places where she might have trouble hearing you say her wake word.

You can also reset some speakers to factory default settings and state by pressing and gently holding in the Action button until the reset happens.  Reset usually begins in five to seven seconds.





The Action Button Light Sensor

Finally, there is a light sensor beneath the white dot on this triple duty button.  This “electric eye” senses the ambient light shining on the speaker, and adjusts the brightness of its light ring accordingly.  The brighter the surrounding light, the brighter the ring glows whenever it lights up.  The darker the area, the dimmer the light ring glow.

Conclusion

Well, that wraps up this summary of the common buttons on found on an Alexa speaker. With these, you can access all of the speaker’s commands.  Also, the light ring lets you see speaker status as well. Enjoy!





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References for What do the Buttons on Alexa Mean

  1. Echo Dot (3nd Gen) Product Page on Amazon.com

Revision History

  • 2020-12-15: First published.

 

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