May 26, 2024

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How to use Alexa: Features, tips and tricks in our complete guide

33 min read

How to use Alexa: the complete guide

 

Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant voice assistant, is now a ubiquitous AI in our homes and cars.

Amazon’s voice assistant has a simple concept – you can ask questions, issue commands, and get responses. But it’s got a surprising depth of capabilities. If you’ve just unboxed a smart speaker like the Echo, you may be wondering how to start an Alexa-enabled smart home.

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Our Amazon Alexa Guide can help.

We will cover the basics such as how to connect your Alexa device, what you can use it for and whether or not you have to pay. We’ll also discuss more advanced features such as downloading skills and connecting other smart devices.

Alexa: Everything you need to Know

  • Which Amazon Alexa smart speaker is best for your home?
  • Best devices compatible with Alexa

what can alexa do

What can Alexa do for you?

Many people are jumping on the Amazon Echo bandwagon, and asking “What can Alexa do?” “.

It’s fun to try things out and be pleasantly surprised. Here’s a handy cheat sheet of things you can do with your Alexa.

  • Radio stations to listen to
  • Spotify, Apple Music, and More: Stream Music
  • Play podcasts
  • Set timers or alarms
  • Receive tailored news reports
  • Ask Web-based Questions
  • Smart home devices controlled by voice
  • Use single commands to group together smart home devices that work together
  • Call contacts on their phones
  • Intercom between Echo Speakers in Your Home
  • Play Games
  • Play ambient or sleep music (and turn them off automatically).
  • You can control your TV/AV system using voice commands
  • Smart security systems can be enhanced with additional layers
  • Caring for elderly relatives

Amazon Echo is used by many people to control smart devices such as smart lighting, thermostats, and appliances.

Alexa is also able to search the internet and provide flash news updates, weather forecasts, sports scores, and more. It is a versatile system.

Drop In and Alexa Calling are two great ways to keep in touch with people in your house. You can use your Alexa device to communicate from one room to another, or even from house to house.

There are always new Alexa features being added.

Amazon Echo Show’s displays can display security cameras, allowing you to see who is at the door.

is a great way to get Alexa.

Amazon’s ecosystem is free to use, whether you download the app, connect other devices or set up an Amazon account.

You can use your Echo speaker for shopping (more below).

How to set up Alexa

Set up your Alexa Speaker

It’s easy to set up your Amazon Alexa Speaker. Follow these simple steps.

It will work with the most common Amazon Echo speakers and Echo Dot Speakers. Echo Show devices such as the Echo Show 10, need to be plugged into the wall and instructions are displayed on the screen. The Alexa smartphone application is still required.

1. Download the Alexa App on your smartphone or tablets. You can download the Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet. Log in using your Amazon ID. (We’re assuming that you already have one or will need to create one) This is now your Alexa account. If you already have an Amazon Prime account, you can use it to set up Alexa.

2. Go to More in the app > Add Device > Amazon Echo. Select the type of Amazon Echo that you want to add.

3. Plug in your Alexa and relax. The device will cycle through a blue spinning light, before returning to orange.

It’s in pairing, so you can enter your Wi-Fi settings in the Alexa App. At setup, you can choose to store and use these settings for future speakers.

Press the button at the top to return your speaker to pairing mode.

5. Now you’re ready to go. Just say Alexa, and check below for cool questions to ask.

Alexa App

You can customize your Alexa experience using the Alexa app on your smartphone.

The app was redesigned a couple of years ago to try to make it more useful. Before, you needed the Alexa App to change things like smart home gadgets, routines, or log into services.

Home

The new Home Screen has been completely redesigned and is now more functional. The button on top allows you to speak to Alexa. This is helpful if your smart speaker is not nearby and you need to run a specific routine.

There’s also a list with suggestions. These include frequently played radio and media stations, lists, shopping and links for creating Alexa routines.

Communication

You can quickly call Alexa devices at your home and those of family and friends using this tab. You can also make calls, view the cameras on compatible devices and create announcements (useful when you are not home).

Play

Play is where you can find all the media that Alexa has to offer. It could be TuneIn radio stations, Spotify playlists or Amazon Music tracks.

This isn’t the most useful tab. You can ask Alexa to play your music or use one of your other apps. But it’s nice to have all your listening history in one place.

Devices

This tab contains all the settings you need for your Alexa speakers and any other smart home devices that are connected to the Alexa ecosystem.

You can manage your device groups, manage paired devices and Wi-Fi networks, as well as manage the smart bulbs and plugs that Alexa is controlling.

You can find out more about us by clicking here.

There is now a menu that was previously part of the main app menu. Here you will find:

  • Lists
  • Reminders/alarms
  • Routines
  • Alexa Skills
  • The following are the most effective ways to reduce your risk of injury.

Best Alexa commands

 

Best Amazon Echo commands

Our essential guide has a list of the most useful Alexa commands. Don’t be dazzled if this is the first time you have used your Amazon Echo.

  • “Alexa, Play [artist] Name.”
  • “Alexa set the timer to [x] minutes. “
  • What’s the current weather?
  • “Alexa set alarm for 7.30am”, and then “Alexa snooze!”
  • “Alexa, play [radio station].”
  • “Alexa, choose a volume between 1-10
  • What will the weather tomorrow be like?
  • “Alexa: What’s the latest news? “

 

Check out our complete guide on Amazon Alexa commands for more advanced tips and tricks.

Essential Amazon Alexa skills

Alexa has skills that allow you to connect your Echo to smart home devices and add additional features.

Imagine skills as the many apps that you can install on your phone. There are a lot of options. Alexa Skills is a whole article. Here are five skills to get you going.

Amazon Story Time

Ask to get a narrated tale – aimed for kids between the ages of 5-12 – from Amazon Rapids and Audible.

BBC News

Add the latest headlines from BBC World Service to your flash briefing. Ask Alexa “Alexa, What’s my Flash Briefing?” 

Big Sky

It’s the ultimate weather app. You can use it to get weather facts, as well as forecasts.

Ambient Sounds: Various

You can ask Alexa to play ambient sounds if you’re looking for something to help you drift off to bed. You can also say “Alexa, play ocean sounds”, to get to the edge of the water.

Spotify

Spotify is the king of music skills on Amazon Alexa devices. Spotify can be set as your default music destination to play all of your songs.

Apple Music

Apple Music, a relatively new addition to the Alexa skill set, is now available as a live skill. You can also make it your default music player, like Amazon Music Unlimited or Spotify.

Here is a list of the essential Amazon Echo Skills that you must download.

Funny things to ask Alexa

Amazon Echo Easter Eggs

Alexa is a voice assistant with a playful side. You can find a list of all the silly and quirky questions you can ask Alexa in our Amazon Alexa Easter Eggs guide. Try these commands for some downtime with Alexa:

  • “Alexa, please tell me a funny joke”
  • “Alexa, I’m home”
  • “Alexa, speak like Yoda.”
  • “Alexa, roll a dice”
  • “Alexa, play 20 questions”

Find out more fun questions to ask Alexa.

use alexa to control a smart home

Amazon Alexa for the Smart Home

Alexa is the most powerful platform for controlling your smart home. It is a powerful gateway for the smart home because of its wide range of devices. You’ll need smart home devices before you can use it.

You will need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to setup the Echo smart speaker, especially older models. Then you can pair them up by going to the Skills tab in the Alexa App.

Sign in and download the skill required for your device. You’ll be able to control it with Alexa. The Smart Home section will display the paired devices.

The newer, higher-end Echo smart speaker also double as Zigbee hubs for smart homes. This means that they can communicate directly with certain smart tech and will save you money by not needing third party hubs and bridges to get started with your smart home.

Plus Echo smart speakers can also act as controllers in a matter smart home. This is going to become even more important going forward.

Check out our guide on how to add and control devices with your smart speakers. You can remove Alexa devices at any time.

Create smart home groups using Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa can be used as a hub for smart homes. It will take control of many devices. You can add any device into a group by creating it within the Smart Home section of the Alexa App.

Follow these steps to start a new group:

1. Open the Alexa App

2 Go to “Smart Home”

3. Select “Groups”

Tap on ‘Add Group’

5. Select ‘Smart Home Group” and give it a title.

6. Select the devices that you would like to add.

You can control your lighting with by saying “Alexa, switch off the lights downstairs” before going to bed, for example.

You can also divide them into groups, such as “main lights”, “lounge light” etc.

Create Routines in Alexa

Routines is a great feature of Alexa that allows you to combine multiple smart-home actions into a single command. This could be as simple as saying “Alexa bedtime”, and all of your downstairs lights will turn off and your bedroom light will come on.

A Routine is different from a Group because it can control a device’s state (e.g. You can also add radio, podcasts or music to the routine.

For a step-by-step guide on how to set up your own Alexa Routines , check out our guide.

 

Alexa shopping commands

Your Echo speaker will help you to order faster if you are an Amazon addict.

You don’t need to open your app or grab your phone if you run out of a particular item. Alexa will respond to the commands below.

Alexa, order Amazon Prime dog food – If you have 1-Click enabled, the item will be sent automatically and you’ll get charged.

Alexa, add toilet paper to my shopping cart” – This adds the item to your cart without purchasing it.

This will only work 30 minutes after you order.

“Alexa, what’s up?” Alexa will go through all the pending deliveries.

Alexa can be asked to reorder toilet paper. She will look up previously purchased products and suggest brands that you might like.

 

Amazon Echo Tips and Tricks

 

No matter which version you own, the Amazon Echo is an incredibly versatile smart speaker. There are many ways to use Alexa, from the Amazon Echo Dot range to the Echo Show.

Voice commands are a great way to get a variety of options. However, the Amazon Echo has so many features that it can be difficult to understand what is possible. This tips and tricks guide will help you discover some of Alexa’s lesser-known features.

Alexa Whisper Mode

Sometimes you may not want to hear the full volume of Alexa’s responses, especially if you are using it at night or while your partner is asleep. Whisper Mode is the perfect solution.

Alexa, activate Whisper Mode on your Echo speaker. Alexa will now whisper back to you if it hears your whispers. Try it out.

Alexa can recognize your voice in the home

Alexa can recognize different voices, and even when they are using the same Amazon ID, it will know who is speaking. You can customize your news, music, and shopping so that, for example, you won’t get your partner’s sports bulletins.

First, train your voice. Alexa will instruct you to say ” Alexa learn my voice“. Get the second person sign up and install the app. The second person should sign in and install the app.

For more information, try our step by step guide on voice profiles and switching accounts.

Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant voice assistant, is now a ubiquitous AI in our homes and cars.

Amazon’s voice assistant has a simple concept – you can ask questions, issue commands, and get responses. But it’s got a surprising depth of capabilities. If you’ve just unboxed a smart speaker like the Echo, you may be wondering how to start an Alexa-enabled smart home.

Our Amazon Alexa Guide can help.

We will cover the basics such as how to connect your Alexa device, what you can use it for and whether or not you have to pay. We will also discuss more advanced features such as downloading skills and connecting other smart devices.

Alexa: Everything you need to Know

what can alexa do

What can Alexa do for you?

Many people are jumping on the Amazon Echo bandwagon, and asking “What can Alexa do?” “.

It’s fun to try things out and be pleasantly surprised. Here’s a handy cheat sheet of things you can do with your Alexa.

  • Radio stations to listen to
  • Spotify, Apple Music, and More: Stream Music
  • Play podcasts
  • Set timers or alarms
  • Receive tailored news reports
  • Ask Web-based Questions
  • Smart home devices controlled by voice
  • Use single commands to group together smart home devices that work together
  • Call contacts on their phones
  • Intercom between Echo Speakers in Your Home
  • Play Games
  • Play ambient or sleep music (and turn them off automatically).
  • You can control your TV/AV system using voice commands
  • Smart security systems can be enhanced with additional layers
  • Caring for elderly relatives

Amazon Echo is used by many people to control smart devices such as smart lightingthermostats, and appliances.

Alexa is also able to search the internet and provide flash news updates, weather forecasts, sports scores, and more. It is a versatile system.

Drop In and Alexa Calling are two great ways to keep in touch with people in your house. You can use your Alexa device to communicate from one room to another, or even house to home.

There are always new Alexa features being added.

Amazon Echo Show’s displays can display security cameras, allowing you to see who is at the door.

is a great way to get Alexa.

Amazon’s ecosystem is free to use, whether you download the app, connect other devices or set up an Amazon account.

You can use your Echo speaker for shopping (more below).

How to set up Alexa

Set up your Alexa Speaker

It’s easy to set up your Amazon Alexa Speaker. Follow these simple steps.

It will work with the most common Amazon Echo speakers and Echo Dot Speakers. Echo Show devices such as the Echo Show 10, need to be plugged into the wall and instructions are displayed on the screen. The Alexa smartphone application is still required.

1. Download the Alexa App on your smartphone or tablets. You can download the Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet. Log in using your Amazon ID. (We’re assuming that you already have one or will need to create one) This is now your Alexa account. If you already have an Amazon Prime account, you can use it to set up Alexa.

2. Go to More in the app > Add Device > Amazon Echo. Select the type of Amazon Echo that you want to add.

3. Plug in your Alexa and relax. The device will cycle through a blue spinning light, before returning to orange.

It’s in pairing, so you can enter your Wi-Fi settings in the Alexa App. At setup, you can choose to store and use these settings for future speakers.

4. To put your speaker in pairing mode, simply press the button at the top.

5. Now you’re ready to go. Just say Alexa, and check below for cool questions to ask.

Alexa App

You can customize your Alexa experience using the Alexa app on your smartphone.

The app was redesigned a couple of years ago to try to make it more useful. Before, you needed the Alexa App to change things like smart home gadgets, routines, or log into services.

Home

The new Home Screen has been completely redesigned and is now more functional. The button on top allows you to speak to Alexa. This is helpful if your smart speaker is not nearby and you need to run a specific routine.

There’s also a list with suggestions. These include frequently played radio and media stations, lists, shopping and links for creating Alexa routines.

Communication

You can quickly call Alexa devices at your home and those of family and friends using this tab. You can also make calls, view the cameras on compatible devices and create announcements (useful when you are not home).

Play

Play is where you can find all the media that Alexa has to offer. It could be TuneIn radio stations, Spotify playlists or Amazon Music tracks.

This isn’t the most useful tab. You can ask Alexa to play your music or use one of your other apps. But it’s nice to have all of your listening history in one place.

Devices

This tab contains all the settings you need for your Alexa speakers and any other smart home devices that are connected to the Alexa ecosystem.

You can manage your device groups, manage your paired devices and Wi-Fi networks, as well as manage the smart bulbs and plugs that Alexa is controlling.

You can find out more about us by clicking here.

There is now a menu that was previously part of the main app menu. Here you will find:

  • Lists
  • Reminders/alarms
  • Routines
  • Alexa Skills
  • The following are the most effective ways to reduce your risk of injury.

Best Alexa commands

 

Best Amazon Echo commands

Our essential guide has a list of the most useful Alexa commands. Don’t be dazzled if this is the first time you have used your Amazon Echo.

  • “Alexa, Play [artist] Name.”
  • Alexa set the timer to [x] minutes. 
  • What’s the current weather?
  • “Alexa set alarm for 7.30am”, and then “Alexa snooze!”
  • “Alexa, play [radio station].”
  • “Alexa, choose a volume between 1-10
  • What will the weather tomorrow be like?
  • Alexa: What’s the latest news? 

 

Check out our complete guide on Amazon Alexa commands for more advanced tips and tricks.

Essential Amazon Alexa skills

Alexa has skills that allow you to connect your Echo to smart home devices and add additional features.

Imagine skills as the many apps that you can install on your phone. There are a lot of options. Alexa Skills is a whole article. Here are five skills to get you going.

Amazon Story Time

Ask to get a narrated tale – aimed for kids between the ages of 5-12 – from Amazon Rapids and Audible.

BBC News

Add the latest headlines from BBC World Service to your flash briefing. Ask Alexa “Alexa, What’s my Flash Briefing?” 

Big Sky

It’s the ultimate weather app. You can use it to get weather facts, as well as forecasts.

Ambient Sounds: Various

You can ask Alexa to play ambient sounds if you want to relax before going to bed. You can also say “Alexa, play ocean sounds”, to get to the edge of the water.

Spotify

Spotify is the king of music skills on Amazon Alexa devices. Spotify can be set as your default music destination to play all your songs.

Apple Music

Apple Music, a relatively new addition to the Alexa skill set, is now available as a live skill. You can also make it your default music player, like Amazon Music Unlimited or Spotify.

Here is a list of the essential Amazon Echo Skills that you must download.

Funny things to ask Alexa

Amazon Echo Easter Eggs

Alexa is a voice assistant with a playful side. You can find a list of all the silly and quirky questions you can ask Alexa in our Amazon Alexa Easter Eggs guide. Try these commands for some downtime with Alexa:

  • “Alexa, please tell me a funny joke”
  • “Alexa, I’m home”
  • “Alexa, speak like Yoda.”
  • “Alexa, roll a dice”
  • “Alexa, play 20 questions”

Find out more fun questions to ask Alexa.

use alexa to control a smart home

Amazon Alexa for the Smart Home

Alexa is the most powerful platform for controlling your smart home. It is a powerful gateway for the smart home because of its wide range of devices. You’ll need smart home devices before you can use it.

You will need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to setup the Echo smart speaker, especially older models. Then you can pair them up by going to the Skills tab in the Alexa App.

Sign in and download the skill required for your device. You’ll be able to control it with Alexa. The Smart Home section will display the paired devices.

The newer, higher-end Echo smart speaker also double as Zigbee hubs for smart homes. This means that they can communicate directly with certain smart tech and will save you money by not needing third party hubs and bridges to get started with your smart home.

Plus Echo smart speakers can also act as controllers in a matter smart home. This is going to become even more important going forward.

Check out our guide on how to add and control devices with your smart speakers. You can also delete devices from Alexa anytime.

Create smart home groups using Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa can be used as a hub for smart homes. It will take control of many devices. You can add any device into a group by creating it within the Smart Home section of the Alexa App.

Follow these steps to start a new group:

1. Open the Alexa App

2 Go to “Smart Home”

Select the ‘Groups” option.

4. Click ‘Add Group’

5. Select ‘Smart Home Group” and give it a title.

6. Select the devices that you would like to add.

You can control your lighting with by saying “Alexa, switch off the lights downstairs” before going to bed, for example.

You can also divide them into groups, such as “main lights”, “lounge light” etc.

Create Routines in Alexa

Routines is a great feature of Alexa that allows you to combine multiple smart-home actions into a single command. This could be as simple as saying “Alexa bedtime”, and all of your downstairs lights will turn off and your bedroom light will come on.

A Routine is different from Groups in that it can control the status of an electronic device (e.g. You can also add radio, podcasts or music to the routine.

For a step-by-step guide on how to set up your own Alexa Routines , check out our guide.

 

Alexa shopping commands

Your Echo speaker will help you to order faster if you are an Amazon addict.

You don’t need to open your app or grab your phone if you run out of a particular item. Alexa will respond to the commands below.

Alexa, order Amazon Prime dog food – If you have 1-Click enabled, the item will be sent automatically and you will be charged.

Alexa, add toilet paper to my shopping cart” – This adds the item to your cart without purchasing it.

This will only work 30 minutes after you order.

“Alexa, what’s up?” Alexa will go through all the pending deliveries.

Alexa can be asked to reorder toilet paper. She will look up previously purchased products and suggest brands that you might like.

 

Amazon Echo Tips and Tricks

 

No matter which version you own, the Amazon Echo is an incredibly versatile smart speaker. There are many ways to use Alexa, from the Amazon Echo Dot range to the Echo Show.

Voice commands are a great way to get a variety of options. However, the Amazon Echo has so many features that it can be difficult to understand what is possible. This tips and tricks guide will help you discover some of Alexa’s lesser-known features.

Alexa Whisper Mode

Sometimes you may not want to hear the full volume of Alexa’s responses, especially if you are using it at night or while your partner is asleep. Whisper Mode is the perfect solution.

Alexa, activate Whisper Mode on your Echo speaker. Alexa will now whisper back to you if it hears your whispers. Try it out.

Alexa can recognize your voice in the home

Alexa can recognize different voices, and even when they are using the same Amazon ID, it will know who is speaking. You can customize your news, music, and shopping so that, for example, you won’t get your partner’s sports bulletins.

First, train your voice. Alexa will instruct you to say ” Alexa learn my voice“. Get the second person sign up and install the app. The second person should sign in and install the app.

For more information, try our step by step guide on voice profiles and switching accounts.

 

Video Call using Skype on Echo Show

You can use Skype instead of Drop In or Alexa Calling if you like.

Sign in to your Skype account by going to Settings > Communication on your Alexa App. You can make a Skype call by saying ” Alexa call Mom (or whatever you like)” and then you are connected.

Share accounts and switch profiles

It’s time we stop being selfish, and start sharing. Alexa is your best friend but she’s also a friend of others. You can switch between multiple accounts on an Echo by simply saying “Alexa, change profile”. You’ll have to open the app, and then go to Account Settings > Amazon Household to add more accounts. You can also use alexa.amazon.com.

You can enter the Amazon account information of the person who you wish to add to your profile. You can’t remember which account you are logged into? You can find out by simply asking Alexa “Alexa, what profile am I on?” 

Change the Alexa wake-word and voice

The name of the Echo device may be synonymous with it, but this doesn’t mean that you have to love it. You may be confused because your name is Alex, or your ex-partner has a dog named Alexa. You can change the wake word for Alexa no matter what your reason is.

You can’t choose your replacement but you can instead use “Amazon”, ‘Echo’, ‘Ziggy’ or ‘Computer’ as your voice command. Open the app, then click on the Devices Tab. Tap Wake word after selecting the device.

In mid-2021 Amazon released a new voice for Alexa. The new voice and Ziggy’s new name were launched at the same time.

The new voice can only be used in the US for the time being. It can be enabled by saying “Alexa, Change your voice.” 

Spotify or Apple Music can be your primary music source

You’ve probably noticed there’s no Amazon Echo Spotify skill. You can still enjoy your Spotify playlists using voice commands that are enabled by Echo.

Spotify can be set as the default audio source for your Echo. ‘How?’ We hear you ask with a thinly-veiled sense of urgency. You can select your preferred streaming service by going to Settings >Music in the app.

Alexa and the Spotify Guide

There is a skill for Alexa Apple Music. If you want to link your Apple Music account, either use the Spotify method (which will redirect you to the Apple Music skills) or search for it in the skill store.

Set Reminders

Alexa is the perfect companion for those who don’t want to carry around a pen or paper. You can say something like , “Alexa remind me to pick Tarquin up from his Taekwondo Class at 8pm”..

Alexa will remind you to pick up your child when the time is right. You better hope he’s a Taekwondo master.

 

Clear your Alexa history

This is no drill. Alexa keeps track of all the questions you ask and records them on your smartphone app. Seriously. You can delete any questions that you think are embarrassing or questionable.

You can also delete your embarrassing requests manually by going into the Amazon Echo application. Go to Setting > Alexa Account, then click on History. Once you have selected the question that you wish to delete, you can click the Remove voice recordings at the bottom. The crisis is over. You can wait until the next embarrassing question.

It’s even easier than that; just say , “Alexa how can I view my privacy settings?”. Alexa will then send you a link to your Alexa Privacy Setting in the Alexa App.

Amazon has also created a voice shortcut for the same purpose. You can delete all recordings by saying “Alexa – delete everything I’ve said today”. Did anyone say “new bedtime ritual”?

To delete all of your Alexa recordings, visit the Amazon website, Manage Content and Devices, and click Mange Voice Recordings.

Now you can also delete your Alexa voice recordings by saying , “Alexa delete everything I said.”

Alexa repeats itself

Alexa has a methodical, slow delivery. If you are only half-listening, it is easy to miss the information she’s giving you. You don’t have to repeat the entire question to get an answer. You can ask Alexa for a repeat.

You can ask “Alexa can you repeat that?”, or “Alexa can you repeat this again” to have your digital assistant repeat its most recent response. You won’t get rude if you don’t pay attention to the first time.

 

Turn Alexa into a radio alarm clock

You can ask Alexa to wake you up with a song, an album, a playlist, or even a particular radio station. This is one of our favorites. Simply say, “Alexa wake me up at [insert radio station or song] at [time]. Then you’ll get a better wake-up. See our guide on how to wake up to Alexa in the morning.

Listen to podcasts

Alexa will also be able to help if you are more into podcasts. It’s actually two tips, since it’s important to ignore Alexa’s podcasting abilities and choose the AnyPod skill.

Just say strong>Alexa, enable AnyPod skill.” You can enable the AnyPod skill by saying to Alexa. If you are a Pocket Casts user, this is also available with Alexa.

See the best Alexa skills .

Change Alexa’s voice

You can change Alexa’s accent.

You can select your language from the list by going to the settings menu of your device in the Alexa App. You can choose from US, UK English, German, Australian, Canadian and Japanese English.

See all of the Alexa languages and accents in our roundup.

Alexa as your Android default assistant

You don’t have to use your smart speaker if you are an Alexa or Amazon Echo user.

Alexa is available on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Users can access skills, ask questions and control their smart homes via the app.

Android users have the option to set Alexa as their default assistant. Here’s how.

Connecting a Bluetooth Speaker

You can use your Alexa device as a Bluetooth Speaker even though your Amazon Echo is capable of playing music from many services.

Say “Alexa pair” in order to begin a search. Then, complete the pairing on your smartphone Bluetooth menu.

Find out how to here.

 

Alexa allows you to make calls

Alexa can also make phone calls. As long as your recipient has the Alexa app on their smartphone or an Echo, you can call them to chat.

Alexa searches your phone’s contact list to see if anyone else is using an Echo or the app. To find them, simply tap the chat bubble located at the bottom.

To call your dad, you can say “Alexa call Dad”. You can also call him by tapping his name in the app. You can ask to answer an incoming Echo call by saying “Alexa answer” .

Reset your Amazon Echo

Echo, like all other technology, is not infallible. Things are bound to go wrong from time to time. Resetting your Echo should fix any issues you are having. The process will vary depending on the model.

You can also download our complete guide to learn more about the various procedures.

Use Alexa as a night light

It’s a good way to tell when Alexa is working, but the light isn’t limited to that. Different colors and patterns are used to indicate whether a message was missed, the microphone is off, or the volume. A third-party app also allows the ring to be used as a nightlight.

After enabling the skill, you can simply say “Alexa open Night Light for an hour,”or whatever time you want, and it will continue to show blue. You can stop the blue light from illuminating your room by saying “Alexa, Stop”. 

Installing multi-room audio

allows you to create a multi-room Alexa music setup if you have multiple Echo speakers. Some third-party Alexa speaker models are also included, but not all. You can start by going to Devices, tapping the plus sign at the top right corner, and selecting Multi-Room Audio Speakers.

Once you’ve saved your settings, just say “Alexa, play [music selection] on [group name]. After you’ve saved your group, simply say “Alexa play [music selection] for [group name]. 

Force a system upgrade

You can ask the Echo to tell you about any new apps that you need to download. It’s sometimes quicker to get the information by voice rather than reading it.

You just have to ask “Alexa, are there any new features?” Update it if you can, otherwise, there are plenty of new skills to learn.

Amazon Echo essential tips and tricks

Mute the Echo

Alexa, as we have already mentioned, is always listening. You may want to have a little privacy or for your speaker not to wait for the wake word. You can mute Echo by plugging in its ears. Push the button using a microphone with a hole cut in it. The Echo will become muted when a red ring appears. To turn it on again, press the button once more.

Amazon: Stop sharing your conversations

Amazon may not have informed you that it can listen to your Alexa conversation in order to improve the service. You can opt out of this practice if you wish. You can opt-out by going to SettingsAlexa accountAlexa privacy and Manage how your data improves Alexa.

You’ll find two toggles, one labeled Help Develop new features (for the same purpose) and another for sharing messages with Amazon. Both can be turned off.

Voice skills: Add to your repertoire

Did you know that you don’t need to use the smartphone app anymore to add new Alexa skills on your Echo Dot? Ask for a particular skill if you are sure you want it. Just say “Alexa, activate Uber,”, or “Alexa enable a seven-minute workout,”, and the skills are automatically added.

It’s important to remember the name of each Skill. Thanks to Echo’s growing support and open API, this is becoming increasingly difficult. Amazon Echo Skills are aplenty and have exploded in recent years.

It’s not just random Skills Store content, either. This is software that can transform your smart speaker from a pizza ordering, taxi booking genius. You can add them.

Do quick maths

Ask Alexa to help you if you’re trying to find your calculator on your phone but don’t know where it’s hidden.

You can ask your Echo to help you if you have a large number of numbers to enter. It’s much easier to type than to read.

You should get near-instantaneous responses when you ask questions like “Alexa multiply 67 by 13.”, or “Alexa, what is 23% of 4,320?”.

The calculator can now do long equations, as well as adding, subtracting and multiplying. It also divides, uses square roots, powers, factorials, and adds.

Track Amazon Packages

Alexa can tell you the status of your Amazon order without needing to send out annoying emails.

You can ask the Echo speaker for an update if you have ordered something using your Echo device by saying “Alexa, Where’s my stuff?” “.

Alexa’s information isn’t too complex, as it simply tells you when the package will arrive. But we expect that this will become more detailed over time.

You can set up Amazon Prime shopping notifications, and the light on the Echo will turn yellow when a new update is available.

Open the Alexa App and go to Settings > Amazon Shopping. Select which notifications you wish to receive. To check your notifications, simply ask Alexa “Alexa, which are my notifications?” “.

If you want to protect a present, Alexa can be stopped from announcing its name.

 

Roll a dice

You may be down two dice if, like us and many others, your partner tipped the Monopoly board over instead of paying the rental fee. Alexa will ensure that your board games are never interrupted again.

Ask “Alexa, a dice roll,”, or “Alexa roll two dice,”, and it will read out your digital die cast. Game On!

Use non-supported smart home tech

Nest, Hue or SmartThings devices may already be compatible with the system. However, there is a way to get them to work together if you’re trying it on your own.

You can sync your smart devices by downloading apps such as IFTTT or Yonomi. While Echo can control Philips Hue or Lifx smart bulbs, other apps may also be able to do so.

Control your Fire TV using Echo

What if Alexa is on the opposite side of the room? If your Echo is in range of your voice, and your Fire TV is connected to the same WiFI network, then you can control it.

By using a compatible command like “Alexa watch Tiger King,”, you can pair your Echo with Fire TV. This is only possible if there’s just one Fire TV in use. Otherwise, you will have to manually assign control through the Alexa App under the Music Video and Books section.

You can control Fire TV with more than one Echo device if you have several in the same room.

Show Photos on Echo Show

The Echo Show is a great digital photo frame if you own one. Amazon Photos is a great way to get your photos on screen, but we think you’ll prefer Facebook. Go to Settings > Photos in the Alexa App and connect your Facebook account.

Go to Settings on the Echo and then click Clock, Personal Photos, Background. Facebook is available. You can now select the albums.

Our Echo Show photo guide has detailed instructions on how to use Amazon Photos.

Create music playlists with Alexa

This one requires an Amazon Music subscription, but it allows you to create playlists and add songs to them using only your voice. You can create and add music to playlists by simply using your voice.

Add music manually to the playlist using the Alexa App, or directly on the Echo. Just say “Alexa add this song to the playlist,” when you feel a particular tune playing.

This can only be done if you are listening to music through Amazon, not through Spotify or the radio. You will also need to delete these additions manually.

 

What do the Echo lights mean

The status lights on all Amazon Echo speakers are the same and can display a variety of options. The light could indicate that your device is in private mode (red) or that someone has called your speaker (green).

Our guide to Alexa’s status light explains all the lighting shortcuts.

Announce your presence in the neighborhood

A recent update that allows you to announce to your home if you have Echo devices in your house could be very useful. When you say “Alexa announce the movie’s starting”, Alexa will send a message to other Echos, allowing you to gather stray family members or viewers.

You can disable the Alexa system on your smartphone by choosing speakers and devices under the tab ‘Devices.’

Change the speed at which Alexa speaks

You can change the speed of Alexa’s speech if it is too fast for you to understand or you want her to hurry up.

You can ask Alexa to talk more slowly by saying “Alexa, slow down”. Here’s an interesting way to make Alexa speak faster: just say “Alexa, talk faster.” You can return to your default speed if you feel regretful after making changes. Just say, “Alexa. Speak at your default rate.” 

Alexa Drop-In and Calling

Alexa Drop in and Calling

Alexa Calling allows you to call Alexa devices, or the Alexa App, on iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire devices.

You can ask , “Alexa call [contact],”or select a contact in the Conversations tab of the Alexa App.

Drop In is a little different. Drop-in with Alexa allows you to talk and call another Alexa speaker without them answering.

It’s a kind of intercom that allows you to communicate between different rooms. You can get two-way audio by saying , “Alexa drop in on [say Echo device]”. Drop In is not available for Echo devices registered on your network.

Drop In has one more way to work. Drop-in is available to anyone who has an Amazon Echo speaker, but they must first opt-in.

Take a look at our complete guide to Alexa Calling, and how to Drop in with your Amazon Echo. You can also see how you can take things even further by using an Echo Connect.

 

 

Alexa Guard Plus

Amazon Alexa Guard went live in 2019 and turned Echo speakers into loyal watchdogs.

 

Alexa Guard Plus, a new platform with a host of features has been announced.

Guard will alert you if your speakers detect any sounds such as smoke/CO2 alarms or breaking glass.

You can also simulate that someone is in your house when you are away by turning on and off smart lights, or playing sounds like barking dogs to scare any burglars.

Some brands allow you to connect to live monitoring services, and interact with your existing system.

Amazon Echo FAQs

Answering some of the most frequently asked questions about Amazon Echo and Alexa.

How can I play podcasts on Alexa?

Alexa is now much more adept at playing podcasts, thanks to some new and impressive skills. See our guide to learn more.

Can you control the lights using Alexa?

You can scan your network by going to Alexa > Smart Home in the Alexa App. You can read our guide on how to use Alexa and smart hubs. We also explain how you reduce the number hubs within your home.

Can you control Amazon Fire TV using your Echo speaker?

You can use your Echo speaker to control your Fire TV and, with it, elements of your TV set (or if you are using the Fire TV cube, without any other devices). This includes turning on the TV, watching programs and starting services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. See our complete guide for all the questions you may have.

Can Alexa control Sonos?

With the Sonos skill any Sonos speaker can play well with any Amazon Echo. This is a cheap and easy way to have voice control. Even the Amazon Echo Dot can be used. Download the skill, and then link your accounts.

Which Amazon Echo offers the best sound?

Amazon Echo Studio is a new device that has been designed to improve the sound quality of Echo devices.

Can Alexa sync with your calendar?

Yes! Alexa can work with Google, Microsoft Exchange, Apple, and Microsoft Exchange Calendars. You can then add events to your calendar and receive notifications.

Use our guide for a step-by-step guide on how to sync your calendars with Alexa.

How to reset your Amazon Echo?

Find the reset button at the base of the Echo. Insert a paper clip until the light ring changes from orange to blue. Then, you’ll need to go to the Alexa App and set up as if it were a new device.

For more information, please read our How to Reset Echo Guide.

Can Amazon Echo be hacked

Anyone with a serious intention can hack any connected device at home. Alexa stores voice recordings on the cloud. This could be accessed by an attacker.

In August 2017, a proof-of-concept attack showed that it was possible to install malware on an Echo in order to have it listen to a user. But again, this is a complex process and would be nearly impossible to pull off. Yes, connected technologies do carry this risk.

 

Latest Alexa features

Alexa Hunches

Alexa Hunches helps you to better understand your daily routine and suggest things.

If you tell Alexa that you are about to go to sleep, she will let you know whether your front door has been left unlocked or if the basement light is still lit.

Email Integration

Amazon claims that you can connect your Gmail, Outlook.com Hotmail and Live.com account to Alexa and ask , “Alexa check my email”, to get a summary message from the past 24 hours.

You can reply to, delete, or archive messages and search for messages from specific individuals.

FreeTime

Amazon’s Alexa for Kids service offers routines that can be played on FreeTime enabled Echo speakers. You can now turn off the lights and listen to sleep sounds.

Alexa on newer Echo devices can switch to a child’s profile automatically when it detects a young voice. This allows the parental controls of the Kids + feature to be applied to any Echo device.

Alexa’s responses will be kid-friendly no matter what device you use – and not just the new Echo Dot models aimed at children.

Reading Sidekick

Reading Sidekick is another new feature for children that will help Alexa improve fluency and promote a love of reading.

When you say , “Alexa, lets read,”, the AI will alternately read with your child and offer encouragement and support when needed.

Routine improvements

Now you can stagger Alexa’s routines. For example, if your alarm goes at 7am, the headlines can be read at 7.30am.

The idea was that Alexa Routines could be created based on sounds such as a baby crying, someone coughing, or snoring.

For example, Alexa can turn on the lights in your bedroom if it detects a crying baby or white noise when your partner snores at night.

Businesses for sale

Alexa has become better at finding nearby restaurants and businesses. Ask Alexa “Alexa, what is the closest Trader Joe’s?” You can also ask “Alexa, where is the nearest Trader Joe’s?” or “Alexa, What’s Domino’s’ number? “.

Local Voice Control

Local Voice Control can be used to control your smart home even if the network is down.

Requests in multiple steps

It will be able do this if you ask it to.

Alexa Care Hub

Care Hub, a new Alexa function, allows family members to keep tabs on their loved ones.

If you have connected your Alexa accounts with those of a family member, they can contact you in an emergency by saying “Alexa call for help.”

Care Hub lets you see when your loved ones interact with their Echo speakers, or perform an action on their smart home devices. This will let you know that they are active and moving about their day.

You can also set an alert to notify you if there is no activity before a specific time so that you can check in.

Alexa on your computer

Alexa is now available on PCs made by Acer, Asus and HP.

You can activate your service by using this method when you start up your computer:

Open Start Menu.

2. Select the Alexa icon.

3. Sign into your Amazon account

You can also use the following method:

1. Select the Windows search bar.

2. Type Amazon Alexa.

3. Sign into your Amazon account

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