Whether you have an Amazon Echo, Dot, Tap, Show, or any of the myriad devices that currently work with Alexa, there are lots of things you can ask the virtual assistant to do. And while you likely already know that the assistant can read a couple lines of a Wikipedia entry or spout off a laundry list of facts pertaining to Samuel L. Jackson, we doubt you’re aware of everything it’s currently capable of doing. Such being the case, we’ve compiled a few Amazon Echo tips and tricks to help you make the most of Amazon’s first smart speaker.
Once you get your Alexa device up and running on your Wi-Fi network, there are still a few more things you might want to do before diving in, either using echo.amazon.com or the accompanying mobile app for iOS and Android devices. First, if your name is Alexa, you will definitely want to change the “wake” word for the device. To do so, choose your device under the Settings tab and select your desired wake word, which can be “Amazon,” “Echo,” “Alex,” or “Computer.”
By the way, the Echo Tap now features hands-free mode, too. That means customers have the ability to control the Tap with their voice, all without pushing the microphone button. You can enable hands-free mode by way of the Alexa App, then simply use the wake word “Alexa” to take full advantage of its capabilities.
The Tap promises up to eight hours of continuous playback while in hands-free mode, and if you want to save battery life when you’re not using it, simply tap the power button to send it to sleep. A software update will be rolling out over the next few weeks that will allow Tap to support Echo Spatial Perception (ESP). This means that Tap will work in settings where there are multiple Alexa-enabled devices and will respond only when appropriate.
If your significant other has drastically different musical tastes, you’ll want to set them up with a different profile. Under Settings, go to Account, and click Household Profile. Once there, you’ll be guided through a series of steps, which include entering your loved one’s account info — meaning they’ll probably need to be there when you’re initially setting it up. Once that’s done, you can switch between accounts by saying, “Alexa, switch profile.”
There are also a number of third-party developers who have created skills for Alexa, including games (bingo), quizzes (are you master of the Seinfeld domain?), and fitness routines (like a 7-minute workout), so you’ll want to oomph up what the virtual assistant can do right away. We’ve also compiled a list of Alexa’s most useful Skills, in case you’re looking to get the most out of your digital assistant.
Until recently, if you wanted to add a new skill, you had to do so manually by using the accompanying mobile app. Thankfully, you can now easily add a new skill with just your voice. If you’d like to learn how to be a mixologist in your spare time, for example, you can simply say “Alexa, enable The Bartender skill.” With more than 10,000 recipes to choose from, you’ll be a professional barkeep in no time.
And if you ask Alexa something embarrassing, you can delete individual recordings by going to Settings and History. To delete a recording, select it and click Delete voice recordings. If you want everything gone, go to www.amazon.com/myx, choose Your Devices, click on your device, hit Manage Voice Recordings, and delete them.