How to reset Alexa - the foolproof guide to factory resetting an Amazon Echo

Follow our easy guide on how to reset Alexa and have your Amazon Echo back to factory settings in no time

How to reset Alexa in a home office with purple walls
(Image credit: Photography ⁄ Paul Massey)

Sometimes, you need to know how to reset Alexa. For if you ask it something and it doesn't answer you back, don't take it personally. That's just the way it occasionally goes. 

After you’ve turned it on and off a few times, naturally, factory resetting your Amazon Echo should be your last resort. With all of the best Alexa speakers, it is straightforward to do however, and resetting your Amazon Echo is also good practise if you're reselling it or handing it on to someone else. Here we run through how to reset your Amazon Echo (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations) on both the devices and the Alexa app. 

Check the health of your smart home gadgets regularly 

Finding time to give smart-home gadgets a little TLC can be satisfying. And now's a great time to back up computer files and camera photos. Make sure the best Alexa compatible devices such as the Echo smart speaker and alike are responding to your every request.

Being organized at home goes beyond sorting out the kitchen cupboards and sorting your shoe wardrobe (although we do love a good shoe wardrobe). That's why we've also included details on how you can use Alexa to set reminders, build routines and organise your day. 

Mowlem & Co

Here at Livingetc we love great shoe storage - and this is is how efficient and smart your Alexa should be

(Image credit: Mowlem & Co)

How to reset Alexa - Factory resetting an Amazon Echo 

1. Check the light status on your Echo device 

Before you go about resetting your device it's important to understand what the lights mean on your Amazon Echo speaker. The different lights on the speaker are how it communicates its status to you. This is not always covered when you're thinking about how to set up Alexa, so you may be a little misty on it.

Yellow: If it’s pulsing a short burst of yellow that means you have notifications. You can say ‘Alexa, what are my notifications?’ to get things moving again.

Cyan on blue: A cyan spotlight rotating around a darker blue light ring means that Alexa is listening. You can find out how to stop Alexa from listening, but it's good to know that as Alexa processes your request the light ring glimmers briefly.

Red: This color shows when the microphone on/off button is pressed to disconnect it and means Alexa is not listening. If you press if again you can enable your microphone.

Spinning Cyan on blue: A continuous slowly spinning light that shows cyan on blue means that the speaker is stating up. If you haven’t already set up the device before it will then turn orange, ready for set up.

Orange: The Echo is in set up mode and attempting to connect to WiFi.

Purple: When setting up your Echo, purple will show if there are WiFi issues. If that is the case it's worth reading out feature on How to Make WiFi Faster before you go about resetting Alexa. 

White: When you adjust the device’s volume, white lights will appear to show the volume levels.

Amazon Echo 4th Gen

(Image credit: Amazon Echo 4th Gen)

2. Reset your Amazon Echo (1st and 2nd Generation)

Before you reset your Amazon Echo, remember that it will go back to Factory Settings and wipe all your personalised settings. So check and double check again before you make any bold moves. 

To reset your Amazon Echo (1st Generation) speaker you need to use something as small and pointy as a paper clip or similar tool to press and hold the Reset button. You will then have to wait for the light ring to turn on and off again.

To reset your Echo (2nd Generation) speaker you’ll need to press and hold the Microphone Off and Volume down buttons. Then wait for the light ring to turn orange, which will take around 20 seconds.

3. Reset your Amazon Echo (3rd or 4th Generation)

To reset an Amazon Echo (3rd or 4th Generation) to its factory settings simply press and hold the Action button for 25 seconds. Once the light ring starts to pulse orange it should then turn off.

You will need to wait for the light ring to turn back on and turn blue. Then it will turn orange for the set up mode.  

Amazon Echo smart speaker

(Image credit: Amazon Echo smart speaker)

4. How to factory reset your Echo device using the Alexa app

Alternatively, you can factory reset your Echo device using the Alexa app. To do this you need to open the app and select Devices. Choose Echo & Alexa and pick which speaker you want to reset. Scroll to Factory Reset and confirm your choice.

Get organized with Alexa 

1. Get reminders from your daily calendar with Alexa  

Aside from the best Alexa skills, there are many handy things you can do. Link your calendar to the Alexa app and you can ask Alexa to update you on your schedule. Just say ‘Alexa, what’s on my calendar for today?’  

You can also ask Alexa to send you reminders, such as sending a birthday card on a certain day or remembering the time you booked the dentist.  

2. Set up a Routine in the Alexa app. 

You can set up your Echo device so that when you say ‘Alexa, start my workday’ a series of actions happen. This could be a certain radio station playing at a certain time, a news bulletin starting and your office lights turning on (provided you have linked up to a compatible smart plug). 

This comes in particularly useful if you’re working from home as you can set alerts as to when you want to take a break and relax on the sofa. And we definitely recommend doing that. 

Swyft sofas

(Image credit: Swyft sofas)

One of the UK's most respected tech and smart homes writers, Emily Peck also covers everything from interiors style to decorating trends. She is a contributor to Wired UK, and has also had a column in House Beautiful. She has written for publications such as Grand Designs, Stylist, Shortlist, Woman&Home, BBC, Ideal Home and House & Garden. She was once the Features Editor of Ideal Home.