Amazon Echo users have been reporting strange activities on their Alexa devices, with a yellow flashing ring appearing. It's been an irritation for a lot of people and it's a pretty big deal - because it could easily reveal all the shopping you've done for Christmas.

The yellow flashing ring is a notification. You probably won't know this, because Amazon doesn't seem to have told anyone, or asked anyone if they wanted this feature - it just seemed to switch itself on over the past few months.

With Black Friday approaching and Christmas gifts purchased we've learnt a valuable lesson: this notification can reveal everything you've ordered from Amazon

Wait, what? 

That's right - Alexa, because of the close integration into your Amazon account, knows what you're buying. You're probably used to getting emails confirming order dispatch and alerts from the Amazon shopping app on your phone - but now Alexa is joining the party, keen to tell you when your next package will arrive. 

As part of this, Alexa will also say what's in the package. Great if you live alone, a nightmare if you have kids and you've just ordered their Christmas presents. 

You can also just say "Alexa, where's my stuff" and she'll spill the beans to anyone who asks. Tsk. What ever happened to discretion?


How to turn off yellow ring notifications on Echo 

Ok, so let's start with getting rid of those yellow rings. If you just want to know what it is, ask Alexa on your Echo if you have any notifications. It could be a notification, it could be a message. 

Once you've heard the message, the yellow ring should go away. But this is how you turn those notifications off.

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Open the menu and tap Settings.
  3. Select Notifications then Amazon Shopping.
  4. Here you can control what Alexa is going to tell you and you can toggle off "out for delivery" or "delivered" notifications.

Of course, if you live in an area where deliveries are left on the doorstep, it might be useful to have those notifications - but at least you know how to control them.

How to stop Alexa spoiling Christmas 

But let's go a step further. Because Alexa will proudly announce what is being delivered, it's very easy for anyone in your household to find out what you've ordered from Amazon, just by talking to any of your Echo devices

Here's how to hide what you've ordered from Alexa.

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Open the menu and tap Settings.
  3. Select Notifications then Amazon Shopping.
  4. In the section called "Give Ordered Items' Titles" you have to option to turn that off, so Alexa won't then blurt out "Your Lego Death Star will be delivered tomorrow." 

That's as far as you can go. You can still ask Alexa "where's my stuff" and you'll be told when your next delivery is due, but it won't now say what's in the package.

And while you're here, it's also worth turning off Amazon voice purchasing on your Echo devices too. This feature basically lets anyone buy anything on your account - so if you have kids, it's worth turning off. Here's a complete guide to help you do it.

Sadly, it doesn't seem that you can stop the home page of Amazon showing everyone what you last ordered or what you've been looking at.