How to disable the microphone on the Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Input
Amazon Echo Input (Image credit: Android Central)

The Amazon Echo lineup offers some of the most cost-effective and efficient products to enter the world of smart homes. However, there are times when you don't want the microphone always listening — such as an Amazon event where they're saying Alexa every 30 seconds, or figuring out where to bury a dead body — but turning off the microphone on an Amazon Echo is a single click away.

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How to disable the microphone on the Echo

  1. On the Amazon Echo, press the microphone button.
  2. When the ring and button turn red, then your microphone is temporarily disabled.

Once this has been completed, your Amazon Echo will no longer for the 'Alexa' trigger word. This means that any voice commands that you make will not be performed, with one exception: using an Alexa Voice Remote for Amazon Echo.

The Alexa Voice Remote works independently of the mic mute on an Echo device itself because it only ever listens when you're pressing the microphone button on the remote. On the bright side, you never have to worry about your Alexa Voice Remote listening in, but on the other hand, you'll have to grab the remote and press the microphone button for every command and query.

How long does the microphone stay off?

Your Echo device will keep that ring red and the microphone off until you press the mic button again. Even if you lose power and your Echo reboots, you don't have to worry about the mic turning itself back on; your Echo will remember its previous state and keep the microphone disabled.

Can I tell Alexa to turn off the mic?

One would expect that something as dependent on voice services as the Echo products, there's a questionable omission. For some reason, there are no voice commands that you can use to disable the microphone without using the hardware button.

Google Home devices and Apple HomePod both have voice commands to mute the microphone from across the room — "OK Google, mute the microphone" and "Hey Siri, stop listening" — but not Amazon Echo devices. Of course, you wouldn't be able to un-mute the mic with a voice command, but being able to mute it without getting up and crossing the room would be useful at times.

How to re-enable the microphone on the Echo

When you're ready to turn your Echo's Alexa listening capabilities back on, follow these steps:

  1. On the Amazon Echo, press the microphone button.
  2. When the ring and button turn blue, the microphone will be enabled.

Once completed, the microphone button and ring will flash blue before turning off. Then you can get back to using Alexa's voice services in the way that it was intended.

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Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks and tablets

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.