Alexa has something to tell you! Alexa Notifications allow Alexa to wake up and let you know about something–effectively starting the conversation with you. If you see a flashing yellow light on Alexa, there is a Notification or message waiting for you. And by saying “Alexa, what are my notifications”, she’ll read out the notifications you have and stop flashing yellow.
Sounds pretty cool, right? Alexa let’s you know about a bunch of different notifications you can get like delivery status changes or changes to your Smart Home devices using this . There are certainly some problems with notifications, though.
When Notifications Aren’t Cool
My first experience with an Alexa Notification happened the other night. In my bedroom I have an Alexa Dot set up on my nightstand. At 3AM when I was fast asleep, I got to learn about Alexa’s Notification feature. Lucky me! Alexa randomly started flashing yellow, filling up the entire room with bright light and waking up my wife and I.
We then unsuccessfully attempted to blurt out any sort of phrase that made the least bit of sense to us at 3am in the morning to make Alexa stop flashing yellow. What we got back in response was a very detailed definition of what the word “alert” means. At this point we spent about 15 seconds searching online for a solution before we ultimately decided to just unplug the entire device and angrily collapsed back into bed.
Not exactly the customer experience Amazon is looking to create, I hope.
Later that morning, I then noticed that the Echo in the living room was also pulsing yellow. So I asked Alexa about about notifications and got something like this:
“Your Door Lock batteries are running low. You can order some new ones on Amazon by asking me to order batteries. Do you want me to order some now?”
So not only did Amazon wake me up at the witching hour for a notification, but it also wanted to pitch me on buying some replacement batteries from Amazon. Not cool.
For The Next Notification
No one wants to be woken up at 3AM to talk about batteries with Alexa, especially not me. Amazon doesn’t do a great job in letting you know why is Alexa glowing yellow either. You don’t know about the feature until it you see Alexa glowing yellow for the first time. Luckily, it’s possible to make sure notifications aren’t delivered at unusual times. How you do that is by updating your notification settings with Amazon either to turn notifications off for times you specify or turn off various types of notifications. I’ll show you how to do both next.
How to turn off Alexa Notifications on a single Device
Alexa has a “Do Not Disturb” feature that you can use to turn off notifications. I think this setting should be enabled by default for night hours, but oddly it’s not. What’s more, you can’t set up this feature for the entire account. You can only do so for individual devices. So if you have a handful of Alexa devices, it will take awhile to set up.
Here’s how you find the setting:
- Open Alexa App
- Tap on Devices tab in the bottom right
- Tap on Echo & Alexa in the top left
- Select the device you want to update
- Scroll down and select Do Not Disturb
6. Toggle Do Not Disturb On
7. Toggle Schedule On
8. Change the times to what you’d like.
9. In my case, I make sure 3AM is in the range.
How to turn off Alexa Notifications for your account
Amazon also has several settings for different notifications. These settings refer to what sort of notifications are sent your way, like package notifications, ads on recommended products, and Smart Home related updates. You can also find specific settings related to Door Lock Batteries. Here’s how you find those settings:
- Open the Alexa App
- Tap on Options in the top left
- Next tap on Settings
- Finally tap on Notifications
From here, you can look into about 10 different settings, like the Alexa Delivery Notifications that are more shopping related. To find Door Lock notifications, you have to go a bit further.
At the bottom of this page, there is a section called “Low Supply Notifications”. If you click on it, you’ll get a list of all your devices. By clicking on your Door Lock in the device list, you’ll see a screen with some settings related to your Door Lock battery.
Parting Thoughts on Alexa Ads
So far, Alexa is the only Voice Assistant I have seen that incorporates these sort of ad notifications into its responses. Although it’s a bit jarring to get these kinds of ads, it’s also the reason why Alexa is so cheap to begin with. These ads are one of the defining differences between Alexa’s ecosystem and Apple’s for example. Alexa makes cash off of your usage, while Apple does not. This provides a good reminder as to why choosing your ecosystem carefully is important. With Alexa, you will get ads. Something to keep in mind when choosing which ecosystem to go with.