Having up-to-date firmware on your Echo speakers and displays along with up-to-date software on your Alexa app is important to keep your devices secure and also to avail of new features.
A few years ago I tried to set up multi-room audio and got the message “Firmware update required” on one of my speakers. Recently I’ve also been having issues with an Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) which was slow to respond to voice commands, and after investigating I noticed its firmware was well out of date.
Generally speaking, Echo devices should update their firmware automatically and usually at night, but there are occasions when that just doesn’t happen. I’ll talk through how to check and update the software or firmware for each device type.
Also, I discuss how Alexa and the Echo product range now support the new Matter protocol for smart home devices.
Echo Speakers support for Matter-over-WiFi and Matter-over-Thread
In December 2022, Amazon rolled out an update to add Matter-over-WiFi support to 17 different Echo devices!
This included Echo Dot (3rd Gen+), Echo (4th Gen), Echo Show 5 & 8 (1st Gen+), Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), Echo Plus (v2) and the Flex and Input.
This means those devices can now act as a controller to communicate with other smart home gadgets using the common Matter's Wi-Fi protocol.
You will need to be operating on the latest firmware versions for Matter support to work.
Also, in Spring 2023, a firmware update will roll out for the Echo (4th Gen), which will make it a Thread border router, enabling Matter-over-Thread device support.
What is Matter?
Matter is a new technology that allows smart home devices from different manufacturers to communicate with each other without needing to connect to the cloud. This means you can easily connect all your devices in your home and they will all work together seamlessly.
Matter over Wi-Fi allows a controller to communicate directly with other Matter-enabled devices on the same network, while Matter over Thread allows a controller to communicate over Thread, which is a mesh network protocol.
To make sure a device is compatible with Matter, you can just look for the Matter logo. This way, in the future you can be confident that it will work with all your other Matter-enabled devices.
For more on Matter check out my article here.
How to check if your Echo speaker is up to date
An easy one to start off. To check if your speaker has up-to-date firmware you simply say:
- “Alexa, check for software updates”
Alternatively, you can compare the version number of your Echo speaker to that listed on the Amazon website.
Step 1: Find your Echo speaker's current version number
- Go to the Alexa App
- Tap on Devices and then Echo & Alexa
- Then choose the speaker you want
- Tap the cog in the top right corner
- Scroll down and tap on About
- You will then see the “Device Software Version”
Step 2: Find the latest version of that model
- Go to this “Alexa Device Software Versions” page
- Find the exact model and generation you have and take note of the “Latest Software Version” number
Now that you have both numbers, you can compare to see if your device is fully up to date. If not, then read on to learn how to force update them.
How to check if your Echo show is up to date
To see if your Echo Show firmware is up-to-date:
- Scroll down from the top of the screen to show the menu
- Tap on Settings
- Scroll to Device Options and tap on that
- Scroll to “Check for Software Updates” and tap on that
- This will trigger the device to check for updates.
- If your device is up-to-date, it will say “No updates found. Your device is running Fire OS “ and the version number.
How to update an Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus or Echo Studio Speaker
As mentioned above, firmware updates should automatically download. So if you’ve confirmed that the firmware version is different from that displayed on the Amazon page, then you need to force download the update.
I’m assuming that your speaker is responding to voice commands as normal and is therefore connected to the internet.
There are four approaches you can try, which I’ve listed below. You’ll know an update is installing if you see a pulsing blue ring where the speaker becomes unresponsive to voice commands for a time. This is normal and the speaker can also restart itself upon completion of the update.
Approach 1 – Ask Alexa to Check for Updates
With the voice command “Alexa, check for software updates”, she’ll be able to report back if an update is available. She usually asks if it's OK to proceed with the update. Once you confirm, the update should start.
Approach 2 – Power Cycle the Speaker
By plugging out the speaker from the outlet, leaving it for 30 seconds, and plugging it back in, the device should run through its boot cycle.
Part of this boot cycle is to search for new updates and install them if available.
Approach 3 – “Disable Microphone” Approach
This approach tends to work for older generations of Echo speakers. It involves pressing the “Disable Microphone” button and leaving it with the red ring light for up to 30 minutes. With the microphone disabled, it appears the speaker can then focus on firmware updates.
Approach 4 – Trigger a Bluetooth Connection
This one is a little out of left field, however, a Youtube user had an issue where their Echo Studio was not accepting voice commands so he couldn’t ask it to “Check for Updates”.
His workaround was to reconnect the speaker to a Bluetooth device and in doing so triggered the firmware update. You can watch the process below
Approach 5 – Factory Reset the Speaker
It’s possible that a previous firmware upgrade has corrupted the update process. In this case, you’ll need to reset the device.
By holding down the action button for up to 30 seconds, you will be able to restore your speaker to its factory state. Once reset, you’ll need to go back through the setup process and connect it to Wi-Fi. Once complete, the speaker will search for the latest firmware to download.
How to update an Echo Show 5, 8, 10, or 15 display
Updating your Alexa Echo Show Display ensures that you have the latest features and bug fixes. To update your device:
- Ensure that your Echo device is connected to the internet.
- Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap on Settings.
- Select Device Options and then tap “Check for Software Updates”
- If an update is available, it will automatically prepare and install it, prompting you not to unplug the device.
- Once the update is complete, your Echo Show will restart again.
If that process doesn’t work, it’s possible the OS has been corrupted in some way. In this case, I recommend factory resetting your Echo Show as follows.
- Press and hold the mute button and the decrease sound button simultaneously
- You will then see the Amazon logo appear (usually takes about 15 seconds).
- Once complete your device should be reset and ready to use again. You can now try and download the latest firmware updates as outlined above, if they didn’t already install.
How to update the Echo Buds
If you want to update the software on your Echo Buds, you just need to charge them in their case and the update takes place over Bluetooth. But before you do, make sure that your Echo Buds are near your phone (within 25 feet), the case is at least 30% charged, and that the case stays closed for at least 30 minutes.
To check which software version your Echo Buds are running on, just head to the device settings section in your Alexa app.
There’s a conversation over on the Amazon forum here on how to force download a firmware update by resetting the buds and then cycling the Alexa App, Airplane mode, and the Echo Buds Case. I haven’t personally been able to replicate this but it might be of help to some.
How to update an Echo Sub speaker
Echo sub speakers do not have a microphone, so it’s not possible to update it by voice command.
A lot of users over on the Amazon forum seem to have issues with firmware versions on their Echo Sub. There’s no clear solution other than attempting the five approaches outlined in the section above.
How to check if your Alexa App is up to date and download updates
Checking if your Alexa app is up-to-date is easy, and updating it is even easier. Here's how to do it in a few simple steps:
- Look for the Play Store app and tap on it to open it.
- Search for Alexa App
- If an update is needed, simply tap on the “Update” button.
- Wait for the update to download and install: Depending on the size of the update and the speed of your internet connection, it may take a few moments to download and install the update. Once it's done, you'll see a message letting you know that the app has been updated.
- Launch the App Store on your device.
- Press on your profile icon located at the upper portion of the display.
- Afterward, scroll down to locate any available updates and corresponding notes.
- If you see the Alexa app, then you know an update is due.
- Once you tap “Update” next to its name the app will start downloading and installing the update. Depending on the size of the update and the speed of your internet connection, this process may take a few seconds to a few minutes.
- Once the update is installed, you can open the app and enjoy the latest features and improvements.
And that's it! Your Alexa app is now up-to-date and ready to use. If you have any issues with updating an app, you can try restarting your device or checking your internet connection to ensure a stable download.
Why does the Alexa app not auto-update?
If you notice that the Alexa App on your iOS or Android phone is out of date, then there are a few possible reasons.
- Auto-update disabled: It's possible that the auto-update feature for your phone's app store or specifically for the Alexa app is turned off. This means that you'll have to manually update the app by going to the app store and selecting the “Update” option.
- Insufficient storage: If there’s a big update due and your phone doesn't have enough storage space, you might not be able to auto-update apps. You'll need to free up some space by deleting unused apps or files before you can update your apps.
- Not on Wi-Fi: By default, app stores will only auto-update apps when you're connected to Wi-Fi to avoid using up too much of your mobile data plan.
- No internet connection: If your device is not connected to the internet, then the Alexa app cannot be updated automatically. Therefore, you need to check if you have a stable internet connection and try again.
How to update the Alexa App on a Fire Tablet
Updating the Alexa app on a Fire Tablet is relatively easy. You can choose to have your device automatically download and install updates or manually check for updates and install them.
To auto-update the Alexa app, from the home screen go to Settings > Apps & Games > Amazon Settings> Appstore > Automatic Updates and then enable automatic updates.
With this setting, the Alexa app will be automatically updated on your device.
To manually update the Alexa app, follow these steps:
- Go to the Appstore and via the menu on the top left tap on App Updates.
- You’ll then see the available Alexa update to install.
Just make sure that your device has enough storage space, is connected to the internet, and you have enough time to install the updates.
Note: If this doesn’t work for you then check out these instructions here as they might be useful in your situation.
How long does it take Alexa to update?
Updating your Alexa device's software is essential to ensure optimal performance and access to new features. The update time varies depending on your internet connection speed and the update's size.
Most updates take a few minutes to install, but longer updates are possible if the device has not been updated recently.
Your Alexa device should automatically update, or you can check for updates manually in the Amazon Alexa app.
During the update process, your device may show a rotating blue ring, become unresponsive or go offline, but this is normal. You can read more about this here.
It's critical to allow the update to be completed without interruption.