Anyone who uses Alexa regularly knows Amazon's assistant isn't as easy to use on smartphones as it is on, say, the best Alexa speakers. But that could change for iPhone users.
Amazon just introduced a shortcut-style widget for iOS 14 and iOS 15 beta users that puts Alexa one touch away on your home screen. Called "Ask Alexa," the widget triggers the voice assistant for whatever queries you may have.
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How to add the Alexa widget to your iPhone
Within the Alexa app for iPhone you could already summon Alexa with your voice or with a tap, but now you're able to interact with the assistant on your handset a bit more effortlessly. While it still can't beat the hands-free ease of uttering "Alexa" near a microphone-equipped speaker or smart TV, it's an improvement.
If you know how to add a widget to your iPhone's home screen, you should be able to add Ask Alexa. Long press on an empty space on your screen until the apps jiggle, then tap the add (+) button in the upper left corner. You can either search for the Alexa widget or scroll through the list of available widgets. The iPhone widget tool's list is in alphabetical order, so you shouldn't have trouble finding it.
When you click Add Widget, Ask Alexa will show up whichever home screen page you had open. You can move it at any time by long-pressing on the widget and dragging it to a different place or page. I leverage knowing how to use Alexa on your iPhone pretty often, so it's convenient for me to keep the widget near my favorite apps and services.
How to use the Alexa iPhone widget
Here's how the Ask Alexa works once it's installed: Tap on the widget, and it'll open the Alexa app and wake Alexa. From there you can ask Alexa for the best Amazon deals of the day, a glimpse at your calendar or to control any of the best smart home devices that work with Alexa.
The Ask Alexa widget is the latest addition to the voice assistant's abilities. Amazon also just launched an announce reminders skill similar to Assignable Reminders for Google Assistant. In the field of funny Amazon Alexa tricks, you can now learn how to get Alexa celebrity voices like Shaq or Melissa McCarthy.
Be sure to check out our guide on how to use Alexa for more tips on making the most of Amazon's voice assistant.