Best Alexa tips and tricks: Get more from Amazon's assistant

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(Pocket-lint) - If you ain an Amazon Echo you mightiness beryllium amazed to larn however overmuch it tin truly do: it's loaded with features and hidden settings.

Alexa is the sanction of the virtual adjunct wrong Echo devices (and different devices from third-party manufacturers similar Sonos). Alexa tin marque to-do lists, acceptable alarms, watercourse podcasts, play audiobooks, work PDFs, supply upwind forecasts, pass you of traffic, reply trivia, power your astute home, and more. We've been surviving with assorted Echo devices and Alexa for galore years, and we usage them for a scope of tasks.

To assistance you get the astir retired of your Alexa devices, present are immoderate tips and tricks.

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Amazon Echo tips and tricks

Mute the "Alexa" aftermath word

Amazon Echo is ever listening for the connection "Alexa". Whenever you accidental it, the Echo volition listen, see what you're saying and respond. But if you don't privation the Echo to aftermath and respond, there's a mute fastener connected the apical of the talker that you tin property to mute Alexa. Press it again to unmute her. Simple.

Typically, the fastener oregon airy ringing volition illuminate reddish erstwhile muted.

Change Echo the aftermath word

If you hap to person idiosyncratic successful your location called "Alex" oregon similar, past you'll find the Echo responds erstwhile you accidental that name, too. You tin take different connection though: Computer, Amazon, and Echo are each available.

Head into the Alexa app (Devices >Select your Echo > Settings > Wake Word) to prime a caller connection from the list. You'll request to prime the aftermath connection for each idiosyncratic Echo device.

How to power Amazon Echo done your browser

There are a mates ways you tin power your Echo, arsenic good arsenic your to-do and buying lists. The archetypal is done the Alexa app. The 2nd mode is done the web. Visit this site: http://echo.amazon.com, and you'll beryllium capable to log-in and power your instrumentality without needing a phone.

Customise your Flash Briefing

When you accidental "Alexa, what's new?" oregon "Alexa, play my flash briefing", you'll beryllium fixed a catch-up of accusation based connected quality and weather. You tin alteration the services successful the Alexa app. Head into More > Settings > Flash Briefing and you'll spot wherever your quality is coming from and the quality to crook the upwind off. You tin besides adhd much contented to Flash Briefing and alteration the bid successful which it is delivered.

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Create a sports update

If you accidental "Alexa sports update," you'll get a rundown of quality for teams you person chosen. Head into the Alexa app > More > Settings > Sports update and you'll find the enactment to hunt for teams. You tin adhd important teams, similar West Ham oregon Seattle Seahawks, oregon find nationalist teams.

Not each sports are covered, however.

Get postulation details for your commute

Head into the Alexa app, More > Settings > Traffic, and you tin enactment successful your enactment address, arsenic good arsenic immoderate stops connected your route, similar schoolhouse drop-off. Then, you tin inquire Alexa for the postulation details successful the morning, oregon adhd postulation to a routine.

Add your calendar to your Echo

If you privation Alexa to service up your calendar details, past caput into the Alexa app (Settings > Calendar & Email). There, you'll spot the enactment to adhd Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Once you're linked up, you tin inquire Alexa what's successful the calendar, what appointments you have, oregon what's happening connected a circumstantial date. 

Control dependable purchasing

Alexa allows you to bargain things from Amazon utilizing your relationship and default outgo method. This tin each beryllium done with voice, truthful you tin hunt for thing and past bargain it and it volition look connected your doorstep. Anyone talking to your Echo tin bash this, truthful if you've got kids oregon person visitors, it's worthy turning off. Head into the Alexa app > More > Settings > Account Settings > Voice Purchasing and you tin toggle the diagnostic off.

Even with it off, you tin inactive adhd things to your basket. To adhd extortion for those who bash privation to bargain with voice, there's the enactment to person a dependable codification - fundamentally a PIN codification you'll request to accidental to marque that purchase.

Connect a Bluetooth talker to your Echo

The Echo tin beryllium connected to a Bluetooth speaker, truthful you can, for example, link an Echo Dot to thing with overmuch much gusto, similar your premium soundbar. To bash this, caput into the Alexa app > Devices > Echo and Alexa > and prime the Echo instrumentality you privation to pair. Then pat connected settings and you'll spot the enactment for "connected devices". In present you tin power from the built-in talker to a Bluetooth speaker.

You'll person to enactment that Bluetooth talker into pairing mode, past you simply travel the instructions successful the app to link to a antecedently paired instrumentality oregon link a caller speaker.

Connect your Echo to a euphony strategy via 3.5mm cable

Various Echo devices person a 3.5mm transportation successful the basal adjacent to the powerfulness cable. This tin beryllium utilized to link those devices to different instrumentality via a 3.5mm cable. You'll person to proviso the cablegram yourself, but it's simply a lawsuit of plugging 1 instrumentality into another. This volition fto you adhd Alexa skills to a bigger strategy - similar your AV receiver - truthful you tin usage amended speakers, but inactive person the amusive of Alexa dependable control.

Generally, the wired transportation is simply a amended enactment than Bluetooth.

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Create a multi-room radical for music

Multi-room euphony volition fto you brace Echo devices and play euphony crossed them - large for parties. Head into the Alexa app and past the Devices section.

Tap + and past pat Add radical oregon harvester speakers. Give the radical a name, and you'll spot each the devices you tin adhd to that group. Then, conscionable accidental "play euphony [group name]" and you person a multi-room experience. Sadly, you can't usage third-party Alexa devices (like the UE Megablast oregon Sonos One) successful groups.

Change the default euphony service

The Echo is compatible with a scope of euphony services, not conscionable Amazon's own.

If you'd alternatively usage Spotify, Apple Music, oregon Deezer, caput into the Alexa app > More > Settings > Music & Podcasts. In this section, you tin nexus euphony accounts and prime the default. Then, erstwhile you accidental "Alexa, play Phil Collins" it volition usage Spotify alternatively than Amazon Music, for example.

Play a opus you don't know

If you've got a tune successful your caput and you cognize immoderate of the words, trying singing them to Alexa.

Alexa whitethorn good recognise that opus and connection to play the mentation you really want.

Tip: "Alexa, Here Comes Santa Clause, Here Comes Santa Clause" offers the Elvis mentation of Winter Wonderland.

Rename your Echo

Your Echo volition astir apt person a boring name, similar "Dan's Echo" oregon "Dan's Echo Dot". Renaming helps you negociate antithetic devices but besides makes it easier to usage functions done a circumstantial device, similar Alexa calling. In the Alexa app, caput to Settings > Devices and past take the instrumentality you'd similar to rename. You'll spot the enactment astatine the apical of the surface with the device's existent name.

Play euphony connected a antithetic Echo

If you person much than 1 Echo device, you tin archer 1 Echo to play euphony connected different Echo - abstracted from groups. This is wherever renaming tin help, due to the fact that you tin telephone your Echo "Office" oregon "Kitchen" and archer immoderate Echo connected your strategy to play euphony successful that room.

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Listen to Audible oregon Kindle books connected your Echo

A large enactment if you person an Audible relationship is to get your Echo to bash it. Say "Alexa, work maine my book" and the playback of your existent Audible publication volition resume.

You tin besides inquire what Audible books you person and Alexa volition database them - connected the Echo Show you spot the covers, too.

If you're a Kindle user, you tin perceive to immoderate Kindle books, too. Just accidental "Alexa, work my Kindle book" and the Echo volition pick-up wherever you stopped reading. To spot the books that Alexa tin read, caput into the Alexa app, Music, Video, and Books, and pat connected Kindle - a afloat database volition appear. In this case, however, it's Alexa speechmaking the book, and the transportation isn't arsenic good. (A escaped proceedings of Audible is available.)

Setup a astute location device

One of Alexa's top skills is moving with different systems astir your home.

In galore cases, you'll find them labelled arsenic "Works with Alexa" erstwhile you bargain them. The archetypal measurement is to link and power-up your caller astute location devices. Then, accidental "Alexa, observe my devices" and your Echo volition scan to spot what's available. You tin find compatible devices here.

You'll apt person to adhd a Skill, which volition impact signing into your relationship for that service. Alexa volition past person autochthonal controls "Alexa acceptable my heating to 21 degrees" oregon skill-specific controls "Alexa, archer Hive to acceptable my heating to 21 degrees." If you're utilizing much caller Echo, Zigbee devices tin beryllium utilized retired of the container with nary setup. When you observe (as above), Alexa volition cognize what to bash with them.

The champion astute location experience, however, is ever to acceptable up the applicable instrumentality archetypal and past present it to Alexa with the applicable Skill.

Add Skills to Alexa

There are tons of things that the Echo volition bash by default, but sometimes, you'll person to alteration a peculiar diagnostic to get more.

These are called Skills, and fundamentally springiness Alexa entree to peculiar information. In the Alexa app, unfastened the More tab connected the bottommost and prime Skills & Games successful the paper that pops up. There, you'll find a scope of compatible apps and features, arsenic good arsenic the Skills you already use. It's present you tin alteration power of your heating oregon entree to your BMW Connected app, for example.

If you don't cognize what the Skill is, trying telling Alexa what you privation to do, and she mightiness suggest the Skill, oregon inquire to alteration the Skill.

Set up a routine

Alexa tin present tally routines, meaning you tin person a series of actions erstwhile you accidental a peculiar phrase.

The thought is you tin accidental "Alexa, bully night" and you'll get a scope of actions - turning disconnected the lights, turning connected the information cameras, and truthful on. These are customisable (to a definite extent). Head into the Alexa app, pat the much icon successful the bottommost right-left and prime Routines from the sidebar menu. There, you'll beryllium capable to make your ain Routine oregon take from a database of featured Routines.

Control the settings of your antithetic Echos

If you person much than 1 Echo, you tin find the controls for each instrumentality successful the Alexa app.

Head into Devices successful the Alexa app, and you'll spot a database of each your Alexa devices. This volition see each Echo devices, third-party speakers (like the UE Megablast), arsenic good arsenic Fire tablets and Alexa apps connected phones.

Have Alexa archer you children a bedtime story

Alexa volition archer your kid a bedtime communicative for you. Just alteration the accomplishment successful the Skill & Games menu, oregon spell close here. You tin customise the stories truthful that Alexa volition adjacent usage your child's sanction and close pronouns here.

Turn your Echo into a information device

The Alexa Guard diagnostic lets Alexa defender your location portion you're distant utilizing it's microphones to perceive for sounds that shouldn't beryllium there. To acceptable up Guard, unfastened the Alexa app > More > Settings, past adjacent the bottommost of the menu, you'll spot Guard. Select that and travel the onscreen instructions. 

If you're interested, Alexa has besides precocious released Guard Plus, which show your location and interaction authorities for you successful the lawsuit it detects thing unusual. The programme costs $50 a year. Alexa Guard is lone disposable successful the US.

Drop-in with Alexa

Once you motion up with Alexa Voice Calling and Messaging, you'll beryllium capable to fto radical driblet successful connected you astatine a moment's notice. Obviously, you don't privation each idiosyncratic successful your contacts to beryllium capable to commencement a telephone with you, but it mightiness beryllium a bully mode to enactment successful interaction with household members you can't spot for the holidays. 

To alteration Drop-In, unfastened the Alexa app, and prime Communication from the bottommost menu. There, you'll spot your disposable contacts, conscionable click the 1 you privation to springiness Drop successful support excessively and you'll spot an "i" icon connected the apical right. Select that and you'll spot the enactment to alteration oregon disable Drop In.

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Read much astir Drop-In here.

Alexa for multilingual homes

Using Alexa tin beryllium a symptom if you unrecorded successful a multilingual home, but luckily, Amazon has created Multilingual Mode for Alexa.

You tin entree the multilingual enactment the aforesaid mode you'd alteration your preferred language. Open Alexa app > Devices > take instrumentality > Settings > Language. On the connection screen, you'll spot the supported options astatine the top. The supported options volition beryllium connected wherever you live, the US has an English/Spanish combo, Canada has an English/French option, and India has a Hindi/English option. 

If those options don't acceptable what you're looking for, don't worry. Continue scrolling down the connection database to the unsupported option, and you'll spot galore much connection combinations to take from. The unsupported nametag conscionable means that immoderate of Alexa's features mightiness beryllium disabled. 

Control your TV with Alexa

Your astir apt reasoning of the astute remotes that travel with Amazon's Fire enactment of streaming devices and TVs.

Well you tin really power your TV with conscionable an Echo. You tin link astute TVs and streaming devices from Roku to Alexa the aforesaid mode you would different astute location devices. Open the Alexa App > Devices > + enactment connected the apical close > Add device. Once you find your device, conscionable decorativeness the on-screen prompts and you'll beryllium capable to crook the power your TV hands escaped with Alexa. 

Amazon Echo: What tin you accidental to Alexa?

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Here are immoderate examples of things you tin bash with Echo/Alexa, on with links to their applicable Amazon enactment pages:

Amazon Echo: Are determination immoderate Easter eggs?

Alexa responds to a wide fig of amusive Easter eggs. This Reddit thread aggregates respective absorbing commands you tin contented to Alexa. We've picked retired a fewer of the much absorbing ones and listed them below, but not each volition enactment successful each locations:

  • "Simon says...": You tin get Alexa to repetition thing you accidental if usage the bid "Alexa, Simon says..."
  • "Alexa, play Bingo": Look up and download immoderate escaped printable bingo cards, and inquire Alexa to commencement a Bingo crippled with you.
  • "Alexa, inquire Word Master to play a game": This is similar Geography. Alexa says a word, past you person to travel with a connection that starts with the past missive of the connection she said.
  • "Alexa, commencement Animal Game/Capital Quiz": This lets you play 20 questions astir animals oregon geography.
  • "Alexa, commencement Star Wars quiz": Self-explanatory.
  • "Alexa, play Jeopardy": Trivia geeks volition emotion these game-show benignant questions. Don’t hide to reply successful the signifier of a question.
  • "Alexa, rotation the dice": Missing the di to your committee game? She’ll rotation 6-sided, 10-sided, 20-sided, and different dice arsenic well.
  • "Alexa, unfastened the Wayne Investigation": This starts a chose-your-own-adventure crippled that immerses you into the satellite of Gotham.
  • "Alexa, sing blessed birthday": Does what you expect
  • "Alexa, rap for me": Alexa volition spit immoderate lyrics

Check retired our usher to the champion Amazon Echo Easter Eggs for more.

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Amazon Echo: What are immoderate comic questions to ask?

Ask Alexa these questions and we committedness you'll emotion her responses:

  • "Alexa, what does WTF basal for?"
  • "Alexa, Up Up, Down Down, Left Right, Left Right, B, A, Start"
  • "Alexa, however overmuch is that doggy successful the window?"
  • "Alexa, Is Santa real?"
  • "Alexa, bash you cognize Hal?"
  • "Alexa, Who changeable first?"
  • "Alexa, which came first: the chickenhearted oregon the egg?"
  • "Alexa, what is love?"
  • "Alexa, what's the meaning of life?"

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published connected 12 March 2016.

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