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16 Jul 2020

Amazon issues safety warning: Alexa Echo Buds headphones at risk of overheating

Check if your headphones have received Amazon's update to fix the problem - we explain how

Amazon has issued a warning to customers of its Amazon Echo Buds headphones urging them to update their software to avoid a potential safety risk that may occur in 'very rare cases'.

It emailed customers on 15 July to say that its first truly wireless headphones, launched in the UK in December 2019, may be in danger of overheating while in their charging case.

It has released a software update to address the problem 'out of an abundance of caution'. Amazon says owners of the Echo Buds, which are part of its range of Alexa voice assistant devices, will receive the update automatically when the Echo Buds are connected via Bluetooth to a phone or tablet and its Alexa app.

Owners will need to download the free Alexa app if they don't have it installed already, as the headphones can't automatically update without it. The headphones can also be used with other voice assistants, including Google Assistant and Siri.

Anyone who has given the Echo Buds as a gift should alert the beneficiary without delay.

Best headphones - see our recommendations for the ideal great-sounding headphones to make the most of your music when spending more time at home.

How high is the risk of the Echo Buds overheating?

The issue can happen while the earphones are stowed away in the charging case, which is when the earphones' batteries will be topped up by the larger batteries in the case. Batteries often emit heat while charging, but the temperature is normally kept to stringent safety limits.

Amazon didn't state what was causing the overheating concern, but emphasised in its email that overheating would only happen in very rare cases.

Amazon said its software update also 'improves the long-term performance of the Echo Buds' batteries'.

How to check if your Echo Buds have received the software update fix

Open the Echo Buds' charging case and ensure both earphones are inside. Check on your smartphone or tablet that the Echo Buds are connected via Bluetooth.

Open the Alexa app, select Devices in the bottom-right, and select Echo & Alexa, then Echo Buds. Scroll down to the About section at the bottom of the page and check if the Echo Buds are running software version 318119151 or higher.

How to update the Amazon Echo Buds to the latest software version to get the fix

Open the Echo Buds' charging case and ensure both earphones are inside. Check on your smartphone or tablet if the Echo Buds are connected to Bluetooth and are displayed in the Alexa app.

Make sure the Echo Buds and charging case are both sufficiently charged (each at least 30%).

Close the case with the earphones inside and keep your smartphone or tablet close to the Echo Buds (within Bluetooth range) for 30 minutes to allow the headphones' software to automatically update.

Then check the Echo Buds are now running software version 318119151 or higher following the instructions above.