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Alexa iOS App Gets Voice Control, But It's Still Behind Android

There's yet another place you can use Alexa now.

Starting today, iOS users can talk to Amazon's voice assistant in the Alexa app, reports TechCrunch. The same feature rolled out for Android users in January, when Amazon also announced that iOS users would get it soon. 

Using Alexa on your phone will be a bit different from using it on an Echo device. It'll be more like using the Alexa remote for a Fire TV, in that you won't be able to trigger it just by saying "Alexa."

MORE: The Best Products That Work With Amazon Alexa

Once you press the dedicated Alexa button in the iOS app, you'll have to allow various permissions, including allowing Alexa to access your microphone and location. From then on, you'll activate Alexa by pressing the same button. Like an Echo device, your phone's screen will sport a blue blue bar that lights up when Alexa is listening to you.

Don't worry if you don't have this functionality yet -- it's rolling out over the next few days coming days.

This isn't the first time you've been able to talk to Alexa on your phone. Alexa already lives in the Amazon app, which also has a dedicated button.

Android users have some advantages over iPhone owners when it comes to Alexa. You can make Alexa the default voice assistant on select Android phones, and you can summon the assistant by holding down the Home button. However, you can't just say "Alexa" to activate it, as you can with "Hey, Google" and Google Assistant.

Still, there are a number of benefits to using the Alexa app on the iPhone, and the presence of Alexa itself will make the experience even better. The Alexa app still allows users to enable Skills, assemble Routines, and see records of their conversations with the voice assistant. It's also where users can connect smart-home devices to their Amazon accounts.

While Amazon's voice assistant is generally on par with its competitors Google Assistant and Siri, it's always been at somewhat of a disadvantage in that it's not built into a smartphone operating system (as Google Assistant is with Android and Siri with iOS). But if the millions of users who own smartphones but not smart devices can get their first exposure to Alexa on their phone, that's a win for Amazon.