How to Use Alexa on Your iPhone

Look out, Siri: You no longer need an Echo, Echo Dot, or a Tap to use Amazon's voice assistant, as it's now available on iOS devices. But before you start saying "Hey Alexa" into your iPhone, here's what you need to know about what it can and can't do, whether you have it, and how to use it.

This feature is for iPhone and iPad owners only. Sorry Android users; Amazon has yet to roll out Alexa for you.

1. Open the Amazon app, not the Amazon Alexa app. It seems weird, but Alexa is not available through the Alexa app. Rather, you have to open the app that has a little shopping cart icon.

2. Tap the microphone icon in the upper right corner. Not surprisingly, you can't say "Hey Alexa" to wake your iPhone, as you would with Siri. You don't need to press and hold the button. Just a tap will do.

3. All of Alexa's features are being rolled out slowly. If it hasn't been fully enabled, you will see a dark transparent window with a microphone button at the bottom, as well as suggestions for things that you can ask. Your options will be more limited, but include such things as searching for items to purchase, reordering things, adding products to your cart, and tracking orders. 

If Alexa has been fully enabled, the screen will also have a dark transparency, but instead of a microphone icon, you'll see a thin blue band at the bottom.

At this point, your options will be greatly expanded. For example, when I asked the not-fully-enabled Alexa "why is the sky blue," it searched for blue shirts. Another time, I got a bunch of blue handbags. However, when a colleague asked the same question through the fully enabled app, Alexa responded by talking about how light refracts through the atmosphere.

Stay tuned for more on what you can, and can't do with Alexa on your iPhone.

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