An Amazon Echo device with Alexa is designed to make your life easier. But before you begin, here are the essential steps to get started.
An Amazon Echo device with Alexa is designed to make your life easier. But before you begin, here are the essential steps to get started.
The era of intelligent home assistants is well and truly here. Do you want to switch your lights on and off with a voice command? Do you want a particular song played when the mood hits you? Or do you just like showing off fancy tech to your friends? Then you will probably enjoy buying an Alexa from Amazon.
I have fiercely resisted buying an Alexa for a long time because of privacy and security concerns. But part of me still wanted to try one out. When my boss here at GroovyPost offered to pay half if I wrote some Alexa articles for him, my resistance finally crumbled. Yes, my willpower is that strong.
Set Up Your Amazon Alexa For The First Time With a Few Easy Clicks
Yes, I know it’s dusty! My office collects dust!
I was very pleasantly surprised by how simple it was to set up Alexa. I imagined it to be hours reading a manual, hunting through the Amazon website, having back-and-forth exchanges with customer support, and so on. In the end, it amounted to going to one page, clicking what I wanted, then talking to it for the first time. Even idiots can use it!
I was a bit taken aback by the fact that it is not battery-operated like a smartphone or tablet. You must always keep the plug in the socket for it to work. If you take the plug out, then it’s dead. Although this is not a big thing for me, it might annoy some people that it has to be continually charged. You also need to find a suitable location for it near a spare plug socket.
Delving Into The Alexa Settings
Let’s take a look at the settings, and you will see how absurdly simple it is to set up Alexa for the first time.
Put In The Plug & Watch Alexa Go Orange
Take the Alexa out of the box, put in the cable, then plug it in. The Alexa will immediately start flashing blue. Wait till the blue light disappears and is replaced by an orange flashing light. Orange means it’s ready to go.
Go To The Alexa Settings Page On Amazon
Now go to alexa.amazon.com, which is the settings page. If you have an Amazon account outside the US, going to that page will automatically redirect you to the page version for your own country.
On the page, you will see your registered devices (for example, if you have a Firestick). My Echo is already registered, but I will deregister it so I can show you how to set it up.
First, click on set up a new device.
Choose Your Device
Amazon currently has three Alexa models and a portable wireless speaker. Choose which model you want to register to your Amazon account.
I have the Echo Dot so I clicked on that one.
If you haven’t switched Alexa on yet, do that, then click Continue.
Find The Alexa Wifi Network
The next step is to connect your Alexa to its network. Go to your wifi settings on your computer and look for “Amazon-ATE.” Then choose it. This naturally will disconnect you from your regular wifi network, but things will still keep working.
When you have connected to the network, and Amazon says the setup is now complete, you can reconnect to your regular wifi network.
Set Up The Various Features
Now that you have Alexa all set up and ready to go, let’s see some of the best features you can now set up.
Have The News Read To You
I am a bit of a news junkie, so this one is especially good for me. You can choose news sources and then say to Alexa, “Alexa, tell me the news.”It will then give you the audio of either a radio station (I have the BBC World Service) or a TV station (if you choose something like CNN).
Don’t choose too many news sources, though, because you can’t ask for the news from one place only. You can’t say, for example, “tell me the news from CNN.” It will start with CNN, but then it will keep going with the other news sources you chose. In that situation, you would have to say: “Alexa, stop the news,” to get it to shut up.
Get Woken Up With The Alarm Clock
To set an alarm clock, you can either specify a particular time – “Alexa, wake me at 8:00 am”. Or you can say something like, “wake me in three hours.” It will give you confirmation. In the Alexa settings, you can choose what alarm tone you want. There are some really nice ones there.
Be Given Important Reminders
If you have a Swiss cheese memory like I do, you may need someone to prod you with reminders. So say you need to make a phone call later, you could say, “Alexa, remind me at 3 pm to call my mother.”
Specify a “Do Not Disturb” Period
If you don’t say the wake word (“Alexa”), you will not likely activate the device. Nevertheless, you are able to specify a “Do Not Disturb” period where Alexa is muzzled.
Just click “edit” in the bottom left to change the times.
Tell Alexa To Play Your Music
This one is probably the best feature of all, but what sucks is that you need to have a Premium subscription to use most of the music services. So I went ahead and upgraded to a Spotify Premium subscription. If you have a preferred music service, you can specify it as the default service.
I can now lie in bed, ask Alexa the time, tell it to set an alarm, then finally tell it to play relaxing music.
“Alexa, play relaxing music” for anything general, or you can obviously tell it to play something specific.
On Spotify, if you have a Premium subscription, you can transfer your music playing between devices. This includes Alexa. So if you are listening on your laptop or tablet, you can transfer it over to Alexa.
Ask Alexa For Your Daily Schedule
If you have your Google Calendar, iCloud Calendar, or Outlook Calendar attached to Alexa, you can ask for your schedule. You can also tell it to add a new event to your calendar.
It doesn’t do a very good job pronouncing foreign words and names, though.
Add Your Location & Language
Since Amazon already has your address for sending your orders, you may as well add it to Alexa. Then you can ask it for traffic updates when you need to travel someplace.
Then add your timezone. This is essential for alarms and reminders.
If you want to change your “wake word” (to activate Alexa), then you can do it here as well. But I am inclined to leave it the way it is.
Finally, change the language to the one you want. Since I have a German account, it put it in German, but I want Alexa to be in English. Here’s where things get a bit weird. It told me that if I changed the language on a German account to English, I would have problems ordering things on Amazon if I spoke the order to Alexa.
Best news my wife has ever heard.
Control Your Amazon Fire Stick
If you have an Amazon Fire Stick remote control for Prime (as we do), you can now use Alexa to play the programs and movies you want to watch.
I have yet to test this, but it is apparently just a case of saying, “Alexa, watch ‘name of the program here.'” We are unlikely to use it because our Fire Stick is already voice-activated.
Ask It Questions
Just like Siri and Google search on your smartphone, you can ask Alexa questions that will look up for you.
I asked it the start date of the World Cup, the start time of Prince Harry’s wedding, who the current US Secretary of State is, and so on. 100% accuracy.
Have An Audible Audiobook Or Kindle Book Read To You
If you buy a lot of Audible audiobooks or Kindle eBooks, you can now have Alexa read them to you.
Just tell it the title of the book, and it will start reading from where you left off before, using its Whispersync technology. Pronunciation is really good.
Ask It For The Weather
Finally, do you want to know if you need to take an umbrella with you when you go out? Then provided you have given Alexa your location, you can ask it for the weather today. Make sure you switch on the settings whether you want Fahrenheit temperatures or Celsius.
I am impressed with Alexa, and I will write more Alexa-themed articles during June. If you don’t already have an Alexa, I strongly recommend you buy an Echo Dot. 4th-gen Echo Dots are only $50. There’s even a Kid’s Edition.
Can it read books from languages other than English, and can you choose the pronunciation, eg British English, American English, European Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese?
I honestly don’t know since I only read English books. But if the Alexa is in another language, and the books are in that language, I don’t see there being a problem. But don’t quote me on that.
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Related Items:Alexa, Amazon, Amazon Echo, iot
- Plug in your device.
- Open the Alexa app .
- Open More and select Add Device.
- Select Amazon Echo.
- Select Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus and more. Follow the instructions to set up your device.
You can change the wake word of any Echo speaker or smart display from “Alexa” to “Ziggy,” “Echo,” “Amazon,” or “Computer” for free. (Note: If you are using a third-party device with Alexa built in, you may not have the option to change the wake word.)What to do when you first get an Alexa? ›
- Have your Wi-Fi password handy. You can also enable Bluetooth on your. ...
- Download the Amazon Alexa app. ...
- Plug in your Echo device. ...
- Set up in the Alexa app. ...
- Get started, just ask Alexa.
- Open the Alexa app.
- Go to the Settings menu.
- Under Alexa Preferences, select Voice Responses.
- Select Brief Mode to toggle on or off.
To connect Alexa to a new WiFi network without the app, go to alexa.amazon.com and sign in. Then click Settings > Set up a new device and select your device. Next, put your device in pairing mode and connect to its WiFi network. Finally, choose your new network and enter your password.How do I connect my Alexa to WiFi? ›
- In the Alexa app, open the left panel menu and then select Settings.
- Select Device Settings.
- Choose your device.
- Select Change next to WiFi Network and follow the prompts in the app.
Changing Alexa's name / wake word
Well, customisation options are very limited, but you can change the wake word from “Alexa” to "Ziggy", “Echo”, “Amazon” or “Computer”. 1.
If the cloud detects a false wake, the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) sends a StopCapture directive to the device in the downchannel that instructs it to close the audio stream, and if applicable, to turn off the blue LEDs to indicate that Alexa has stopped listening.Can you rename Alexa wake word? ›
Say, “Alexa, change the wake word.”
Tap on Settings, and then on Device Settings. Select the device that you want to change the wake word for. Select the new wake word that you'd like to use. You can select from “Alexa,” “Amazon,” “Echo,” and “Computer.”
There is no monthly fee involved in using Alexa. Once you purchase an Amazon Echo device, you have full access to Alexa's AI. Technically, you can even use the Alexa app on your smartphone for free without the purchase of a smart speaker.
- Alexa Guard. Alexa Guard turns your Echo smart speakers into security devices, listening for signs of trouble such as glass breaking or your smoke alarm going off. ...
- Send a hug. ...
- Get exclusive Amazon deals. ...
- Get a weather report. ...
- Get nutrition tips. ...
- Talk to Alexa in different languages. ...
- Make a donation. ...
- Get help for your pet.
- Smart home. Productivity.
- Shopping. Entertainment.
- Alexa Together. Communications.
- News. Routines.
- Fun and games. Multi-room audio.
Say: "Alexa play Twenty Questions(Opens in a new window)." Alexa asks you to think of an animal, vegetable, mineral, or other item. You are then asked up to 20 questions in an attempt to guess the right object. If Alexa chooses the correct answer within the allotted number of questions, she wins.Can Alexa stop saying OK? ›
Here's the good news - users can stop Alexa from saying 'OK' by enabling the Brief Mode. Under this mode, Alexa follows all commands with a brief beep instead of a voice response.Can I change Alexa OK response? ›
Go to settings scroll down to General Alexa Voice Responses click on it. There is a toggle Switch to turn on Brief Mode. By switching this on your Echo will no longer say Okay after you make a request.Will Alexa work without wifi? ›
Without Wi-Fi, you won't be able to use Alexa features, and the Echo Dot just becomes a regular speaker without smart capabilities. Most smart devices, including the Echo Dot, have to be connected to Wi-Fi for a few reasons: Wi-Fi allows the device to connect to music streaming services.Does Alexa work without an account? ›
You need an Amazon account to use Alexa, but you don't need Amazon Prime(Opens in a new window). Sign in on the app. Then click More on the lower right and select Add a Device. Here you can add any number of Alexa-supported devices to your account, from smart lights to smart plugs.What app is needed for Amazon Alexa? ›
To use the Alexa button in the Amazon Shopping app, you'll need: The latest version of the Amazon Shopping App. Android version 8.0+Why wont my Alexa connect to my Wi-Fi? ›
Restart the Alexa-enabled device. Power off or unplug the Echo or Alexa-enabled device, turn it back on, then connect to Wi-Fi again. Sometimes this kind of physical reboot of an Alexa-enabled device can fix the problem. Confirm that the Wi-Fi password is correct.How does Alexa connect to Wi-Fi with username and password? ›
- Go to alexa.amazon.com and log in to your account.
- Choose Settings in the left sidebar. ...
- Under Devices, select Set up a new device. ...
- Choose the device you want to connect.
- Turn on your device, if needed. ...
- Choose a WiFi network that's marked as Amazon-XXX.
Yes, you can drop in on Alexa in another house, provided the speaker is connected to the same account.Can I rename Alexa? ›
Select Devices . Select Echo & Alexa. Select your device. Select Edit Name.Why is Ziggy a wake word for Alexa? ›
Our devices detect wake words by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word, so a lot of consideration goes into the selection. We chose 'Ziggy' not only because it performed well in testing but it's fun and reflects Alexa's wealth of knowledge on everything from A to Z.Can I change Alexa name to something else? ›
Steps to change Alexa's name on an Android:
Open the Android Alexa app and press 'Devices' at the bottom of the app. Choose the 'Echo & Alexa' tab. On the General card, press the 'Wake Word' general. Select the name from the option of customizing one.
Over the years, researchers have hacked Alexa to find vulnerabilities bad actors could exploit. In 2020 the cybersecurity company firm Check Point discovered one that would allow hackers to install Alexa with malware capable of stealing your personal information.Can Alexa alert police? ›
You can't ask Alexa to dial 911 or other emergency services directly, unless you have an Echo Connect hooked up to a landline phone. You can, however, set up a personal emergency contact, and turn on Alexa Guard for home security.How do you unlock the secret Alexa? ›
So a couple of months back, a fun Easter egg that would be identified and enjoyed by retro gamers was discovered. This was the Super Alexa mode. If you would like to activate the Super Alexa Mode, say the subsequent voice command: “Alexa, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start.”Do you have to say Alexa every time? ›
Whether you want your voice assistant to slow down or speed up, all you need to do is ask. You don't have to say "Alexa" to wake Amazon's voice assistant.Can Alexa talk like Mickey Mouse? ›
Introducing a magical voice assistant
Say hello to Hey Disney! the all-new voice assistant for Alexa. You'll be able to get the weather with Mickey, joke around with the galaxy's funniest droids C-3PO and R2-D2, go on adventures with Dory or Olaf, listen to your favorite Disney stories, plus a lot more.
Each celebrity voice is accessible via a one-time fee of $4.99. These are the steps you need to take to enable celebrity voices on your Amazon Echo device. Say, "Alexa, introduce me to CELEBRITY NAME." Choose the "Hey, CELEBRITY'S FIRST NAME" wake word.
Fortunately, things have changed and you can now listen to Spotify and Amazon's own free, ad-supported music service. (Apple has said there will never be a free tier, so unfortunately Apple Music will always remain off-limits on Alexa unless you pay for it.)Does Alexa charge for phone calls? ›
Making calls with an Amazon Alexa Echo device is free. However, you do need wi-fi.What is the difference between Alexa and Echo? ›
Alexa is the virtual assistant, while Echo is the smart speaker device.Can Alexa turn on my TV? ›
Alexa Skills are voice-driven Alexa Cloud Service capabilities which enable you to control select products through the Amazon® Alexa™ app that runs on Amazon Echo™ and Amazon Echo Dot™ devices. With this feature you can use your voice to turn your TV on or off, change channels, control volume, and more.Does Alexa have a camera? ›
With the inclusion of a built-in camera and a screen on Echo Show and Echo Spot devices, you can make video calls, take photos and videos, and more, while still maintaining your privacy. Let's go over some of the things you can do with the camera on these Echo devices.What should I turn off on my Alexa? ›
- Turn off the Camera. One of our favorite devices we use a LOT is the Echo Show 8. ...
- Drop In. ...
- Voice recordings. ...
- Manage Skill Permissions. ...
- Hunches. ...
- Turn off brief mode. ...
- Disable Voice purchases or Enable Voice Code. ...
- Keep your Echo devices away from windows and doors.
Most people use their Amazon Echo smart speaker to listen to radio stations, stream music, set timers and alarms, control smart home devices, including smart lights, connected thermostats and appliances. Of course, Alexa can also search the web and offer flash news briefings, weather reports, sports scores and more.Who is Alexa's voice? ›
Despite Amazon's secrecy, an extremely likely candidate source for the voice of Alexa has been revealed by author Brad Stone. According to Wired, Stone's research for his book, "Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire," pointed to Boulder, Colorado, voice actress Nina Rolle.Which Alexa is the best to buy? ›
- Amazon Echo (fourth-gen) Best Alexa device overall (and best smart speaker) See at Amazon.
- Wyze Cam v3 (2020) Best smart camera. See at Amazon.
- Amazon Echo Show 8 (2nd gen) Best smart display. See at Amazon.
- August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. Best lock. ...
- Amazon Smart Thermostat. Best smart thermostat.
- Jeopardy! Of course! ...
- Volley Trivia Showdown Game. ...
- Trivia Hero. ...
- Trivia Battle. ...
- Trivial Pursuit Tap. ...
- National Geographic Geo Quiz. ...
- Millionaire Quiz Game. ...
- Song Quiz.
If you want to activate a skill, you can say "Alexa, enable," followed by the name of the skill. You need to know the exact name of the skill you want to activate, which poses a problem if you're just starting with Alexa. Alternatively, you can ask Alexa for recommendations.Can Alexa answer general knowledge questions? ›
In this skill, Alexa will ask you general questions . For example - "Which planet is the hottest planet in our solar system?" Start the skill by saying "Alexa, ask My General Knowledge" or "Alexa, play My General Knowledge" or "Alexa, open My General Knowledge" or Alexa, launch My General Knowledge.What happens when you say Alexa stop listening? ›
To mute your Echo device, press the button that is illustrated with a circle and a line through it. The button will go red when muted. Saying 'Alexa' will not unmute the device and you'll have to press it again to unmute and use Alexa as normal.What happens when you say Alexa im leaving? ›
Otherwise, say “Alexa, I'm leaving.” Alexa says goodbye and tells you that Guard has been activated. If Alexa Guard detects the sound of breaking glass or an alarm, you'll receive a Smart Alert on your mobile device and smartwatch. You can then play the recording to hear the sound.Does Alexa ever stop listening? ›
While Alexa is always listening, it isn't constantly recording, and it doesn't record conversations. However, it definitely can record conversations accidentally if it thinks it hears its wake word. By default, these snippets are uploaded to Amazon's servers right alongside actual commands and questions.Does Alexa respond to thank you? ›
Also, if you say “Thank you” after she's performed an action for you,” she'll say “No problem,” “You bet,” or another acknowledgement of your gratitude. Alexa won't hear you say “Thank you,” however, unless you have Follow-up Mode enabled.Can Alexa say hello to someone? ›
Tell Alexa to say "hi" and she will response with a random unique greeting.Can you set an Alexa up without an Amazon account? ›
You need an Amazon account to use Alexa, but you don't need Amazon Prime(Opens in a new window). Sign in on the app. Then click More on the lower right and select Add a Device. Here you can add any number of Alexa-supported devices to your account, from smart lights to smart plugs.How do I set up a new Alexa device? ›
- Put your Bluetooth device in pairing mode.
- Open the Alexa app .
- Select Devices .
- Select Echo & Alexa.
- Select your device.
- Select Bluetooth Devices, and then Pair A New Device.
1) Set up and start speaking
Getting your Echo online is a cinch. Simply plug in your speaker, then open the Alexa app for iOS or Android. Tap 'Add a Device', choose your Echo from the list and follow the on-screen instructions. During setup, you'll be asked to read out a few short phrases for Alexa to listen to.
No, it requires either a computer or smartphone with the Alexa app to put it on wifi.Can I connect my phone to Alexa without Wi-Fi? ›
Without Wi-Fi, you will have to connect Alexa to a hotspot to continue using internet features. The hotspot will use your phone's data to secure an internet connection between it and the Echo Dot. To connect the Echo Dot to a hotspot, follow these steps: Open the Alexa app.Why can't I connect my Alexa to the internet? ›
Check the connection with another device to determine if it's an issue with your Echo device or with your network. If other devices can't connect, restart your Internet router and/or modem. While your network hardware restarts, unplug the power adapter from your Echo device for 3 seconds, then plug it back in.Is Alexa easy to set up? ›
'You just have to plug the device into a power source and follow the instructions in the Alexa app. ' And just like that, the key to being able to fill your home with the best Alexa compatible devices is unlocked for you.How do I set up free Alexa? ›
- Connect your supported phone to Wi-Fi or a cellular network.
- Go to the Settings menu on your phone and select Alexa.
- Turn Alexa Hands-Free ON and follow the on-screen instructions to complete setup.
But will Alexa dial 911 for you in an emergency? You can't ask Alexa to dial 911 or other emergency services directly, unless you have an Echo Connect hooked up to a landline phone. You can, however, set up a personal emergency contact, and turn on Alexa Guard for home security.What is free on Alexa? ›
There are several free services with built-in Alexa integration, including iHeartRadio, Pandora, and TuneIn. You can also link to the free tiers of Spotify and Apple Music as well. Open the Alexa app on your phone or computer.