There are three reasons why your Alexa device will display a flashing white ring.
- The first and obvious one is when you increase or decrease the volume, either directly through the buttons, requesting to change the volume or through a connected app or Bluetooth device (such as Spotify).
- The second is if you have the Guard feature enabled in your Alexa App and you have set Guard to “Away mode.”
- The third reason is similar to Guard Mode however it relates to a connected security system such as Ring or ADT. On occasion, the White Ring will spin, even though you’ve told Alexa you’re home or disabled the connected security system. I detail some ways to fix this at the bottom of the article.
I've also recorded a YouTube video where I talk through the 6 fixes for the spinning white ring light. Check it out below.
What is Alexa Guard Mode?
Guard Mode is an Alexa feature that helps you keep an eye on your home even when you are away. When enabled, you will get notified in real time if someone breaks into your house or if your oven catches fire, triggering a smoke alarm.
If you have the Guard feature on, you will see the white-colored ring appear on the top of your Amazon Alexa smart speaker. Echo Show devices will display a shield icon.
To enable it, you simply say:
- “Alexa, I'm leaving”
To disable you say :
- “Alexa, I’m home”
It is currently only available in the fifty US states and there are two versions, Alexa Guard and Alexa Guard Plus.
Alexa Guard is the free version that provides smart alerts if smoke or CO is detected or if the sound of shattering glass is heard. Alexa helps deter intruders by automatically turning on and off smart lights to give the impression the house is occupied. You can get creative by enabling and disabling devices using Alexa routines.
Alexa Guard Plus
Guard Plus is a paid version that in addition to the above, provides access to an emergency helpline, who can contact emergency services on your behalf. Alexa cannot programmatically call 911 as emergency services would probably be overwhelmed with false positive break-ins and house fires!
Guard Plus has additional features such as recognizing activity in your home while enabled. It can also sound a siren or the sound of barking dogs if it detects motion. Finally, it can be integrated with security monitoring services from ADT, Ring or Scout Alarm with more companies onboarding over time.
How does Guard Mode work?
Amazon Echo and Echo Show devices have integrated far-field microphones to accurately capture sounds to analyze.
- For Alexa, the device is searching for the “wake word” to record and respond to a question.
- For Guard Mode, the device is searching for the sound of a smoke / CO alarm, the sound of breaking glass or for Guard Plus, the sound of activity.
How to enable Guard Mode and the flashing Alexa white ring?
The Guard feature is available in the Alexa App, for both iOS and Android devices.
- Enable Guard Mode in the Alexa app by going to More > Settings > Guard and follow the instructions
- Once complete, when leaving your home say the command “Alexa, I’m leaving.”
- Guard Mode is now enabled and Alexa will listen for and notify you if she hears sounds of alarms, glass breaking or activity. Alexa will display a spinning white light when Guard Mode is enabled.
What happens if a smoke / CO alarm sounds, activity is heard or glass breaks?
After Alexa has detected unusual audio with Guard or Guard Plus Mode enabled, it will send an alert to your phone. Alexa will also record the unusual audio and send it to you. If you have a built-in video camera on your Amazon Alexa device (like the Echo Show), you can use the drop-in feature to take a look at what is happening inside your home.
If you are using a professional monitoring kit, such as Ring’s security kit, your Alexa device can send alerts directly to your security provider. In that case, your security team can take the necessary steps to inform local law enforcement about a possible situation.
How to disable Guard Mode and the spinning Alexa white ring?
As Guard Mode can be configured to notify your security company if it hears unusual audio, you likely will not want this enabled when you are at home.
- Return home and stand within earshot of Alexa
- Say “Alexa, I’m home.”
- This will turn off the Guard Mode and you will no longer see the Amazon Echo white ring.
Note: If you have a security system integrated (such as Ring) with a passcode to disarm, you may need to re-enable “Disarm By Voice” after three unsuccessful attempts.
The Spinning White Light Won’t Disappear!
I’ve had a situation where I’ve come back home and said “Alexa, I’m home” however some of my Echo devices still had a spinning white light. Below are some of the steps I used to troubleshoot this.
1. Say “Alexa, I’m leaving” to re-enable and “Alexa, I’m home” to re-disable Guard Mode!
As part of my research, this seems to have worked for some people as it re-syncs guard mode across your devices.
If you have a 3rd party security system (such as ADT or Ring) integrated, then you may also need to arm and disarm that system again which can clear the issue.
2. Cycle Guard Mode in the Alexa App
Go into your Alexa App and go to More > Settings > Guard. Disable Guard Mode and then re-enable it.
3. Power Cycle Echo devices
Turn off, wait 30 seconds and turn on the Echo devices where the light won’t disappear. This can sometimes clear the memory of the device, and solve the mysterious white light.
Once back online, try “Alexa, I’m leaving” and “Alexa, I’m home” again.
4. Unlink and Relink 3rd Party Security Systems
Sometimes the problem is not with Guard Mode but with the connected security system. In this case, you may need to unlink that system or disable that particular skill. Once unsynced, you can then re-link them and try arming and disarming them again. This can also help clear the error.
I hope this article helps explain what the Alexa White Ring signifies on your Amazon Echo device and ways to troubleshoot if you can’t get rid of it!
Let me know what works for you in the comments below!
White ring showed for first time.I said Alexa I’m home and Alexa said welcome home but the white ring persists
Every morning at 410 am, my echo dot beeps and displays the white ring for a couple seconds, I am not talking or moving around. What causes this?
Same issue, can’t get “Guard” off on either my “Show” or my “Dot”! I go into the app and try to turn OFF guard with the Switch, it defaults right back to Guard!
I can’t access ANY of the settings because it says it MUST be in HOME MODE to make changes, but I CANT GET IT INTO GD HOME Mode! This has been going on for a year now! And I’m no closer to resolving it than I was!
Kevin’s fix was just what I did 1st, go Into the APP and disable the “Guard/Home” button, but No Can Do! Won’t stay in “HOME”
The white ring will not turn off. I have said Alexa I am home. And it responds it has stopped guarding my home. White ring continues. This is annoying. How do I fix this?
The white light is still spinning and I said I was home, I even tried unplugging it. How do I stop it from spinning?
Hi Leah, I was dealing with this same problem and could not shut the spinning white light off! Until I just figured it out right now. So happy that light is off finally. So here’s what you do:
Go to the Alexa App
Click on the More button on the bottom right.
Click on Settings
Scroll down and click on Guard
Scroll down and click on Notifications
Toggle Home and Away to off
This shut that annoying white light right off finally.
Feel free to email me back if you have any questions Leah.
Thank you Kevin. Great instructions that actually worked!
I can’t disable my My echo dot guard mode, whether in home or away mode my echo continues to show a white flashing ring. How do I turn this white light off. Or completely disable guard mode, don’t want this mode.
My Alexa Echo is in my bedroom. I am up late throughout the night and I’ve been noticing that my Echo flashes a semi circle (white light) consistently night after night. It normally happens between 3-3:30 am. Any insight on what may be causing it would be very helpful.
Hello Brandon, hope you’re well bud. Please see my instructions for shutting off Alexa Guard (spinning white light) that I just sent to Leah.
It took me awhile to figure it out, but this will shut it off.
If you have any questions or issues when going thru it don’t hesitate to email me.
Have a great day.
Hi Kevin, I followed your directions, reviewed them twice and my white light is still flashing. Any further ideas?
Hi Kathy, see the note I just sent out in regards to this issue. You will be all set.
Best of luck Kathy!
Email me if you have any problems.
Simply tell Alexa : “Alexa, Stop guarding” and the White Ring will stop.
Finally solved working with Amazon support.
I had a routine named “I’m home” that triggered when saying, “Alexa, I’m home.” Yes, the same command to disable Home Guard. So, they were conflicting with each other, and Guard wasn’t really going off.
Steps to solve:
• Delete the “I’m home” routine.
• Reset the echo(s) to factory defaults. How? By pressing the echo volume down button and the mic button simultaneously.
• Open the Alexa app and add the echo(s) back.
These three steps solved the white light issue.
Before starting with the three steps above, verify the echo dots are under the Guard Profile. How?
• Open Alexa app –> Devices –> Guard –> Gear wheel –> Echo Devices
• Verify the echo(s) affected are checked.