About AVS Notifications

The notification feature informs Alexa users about new content associated with their Alexa Voice Service (AVS) enabled device. For example, the LED ring on an Echo device glows yellow when a user receives a new message in their Alexa inbox indicating that Amazon has delivered a package.

When an AVS-enabled device receives a notification, the device should communicate to the user through the appropriate visual and audio indicators for the type of device. For example, the device could flash a yellow LED light and play an audio tone, at which time a user can retrieve any pending notifications by asking, "Alexa, what did I miss?" or "Alexa, what are my notifications?" For more UX guidance, see AVS UX Notifications.

Configure Notifications

Alexa users can choose whether to receive Notifications. The following sections discuss the various ways that users can configure their Notification settings.

Enable Notifications

Users can opt-in to notifications per Alexa skill or domain through the Alexa app and receive notification alerts by a visual and audio indicator on their product. Users have three options to enable notifications:

  • A user can enable notifications for a specific Alexa skill when they enable that skill for the first time through the Alexa Skills Store.
  • Alexa can guide the user to a card in the Amazon Alexa app, where the user can enable notifications for the active Alexa skill or domain.
  • A user can enable or disable notifications for an Alexa skill or domain at any time through the Alexa app. Navigate to Settings > Account > Notifications and toggle notifications ON or OFF.
Enable Notifications for an Alexa skill.

Do Not Disturb mode

The Do Not Disturb (DND) setting allows users to put their devices into a "quiet" mode. When a user enables the DND setting, an AVS-enabled product doesn't receive any visual or audio indicators. However, notifications do remain accessible by voice request, such as "Alexa, what are my notifications?".

When a user exits DND, if there are pending notifications in their queue, AVS sends a directive to notify the user that content is available to retrieve.

A user can enable DND in three ways:

  • Voice request to the device.
  • Through the Settings screen of the Amazon Alexa app.
  • By setting daily DND preferences through the Alexa app. For example, the user can turn off notifications every day from 5 PM to 7 PM. During this time, the device doesn't render any notification indicators for the user.
Enable Notifications from a skill.

Notification flow

When AVS receives a notification, the notification goes into a cloud-based queue, and then AVS sends a the appropriate directive to all Alexa products associated with the user account. This directive instructs the devices to render visual and audio indicators for the notification.

The following diagram illustrates the end-to-end flow for enablement and retrieval of notifications by the user:

Notifications flow diagram.
  1. Enable – The user enables notifications for an Alexa skill or domain through the Amazon Alexa app.
  2. Generate – The Alexa skill or domain generates and sends notifications to a cloud-based queue.
  3. Queue – The queue stores unplayed and archived notifications.
  4. Indicate – AVS sends indicator directives to all AVS-enabled devices connected to the user account. The device notifies the user visually and/or audibly based on two things:
    • Which indicators the device supports.
    • The content of the directive payload.
  5. Retrieve – The user asks, "Alexa, what are my notifications?" A Speak directive is sent to the AVS-enabled product that the request originated from, and all new notifications are played for the user. When playback is complete, a ClearIndicator directive is sent that instructs your product to clear any notifications indicators. After a notification is read, it is archived in the cloud for 24 hours and then automatically deleted. End users can also navigate between notifications, by saying "Alexa, next" or "Alexa, back", or delete notifications by saying "Alexa, delete all".