Who, er, what is Amazon Alexa, you ask? Alexa is the brain behind the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock, Amazon Echo Show, Amazon Echo Show 5, Amazon Echo Show 8, Amazon Tap, Amazon Echo Plus and all the other best Alexa devices. The voice-controlled assistant lives inside the Fire TV, too. There's also a companion app for Android and iOS devices that shows you how to use Alexa.
Using your voice, you can ask Alexa to control your music, get the news and weather, set alarms, and control smart home devices such as smart lights, smart plugs, and smart locks. Alexa can get you directions, track your calendar, order products off of Amazon, read books, find local restaurants and answer your questions.
You’ll want to make sure you're taking full advantage of this personal assistant. These Alexa tips and how tos will help you set up your Alexa speaker, connect it to your smart home devices, play music, and much more.
Setting up Alexa
Which Alexa Speaker Is Right For You?
Before you even purchase an Alexa-enabled speaker, make sure you're getting the one that best suits your needs and budget.
How to Set Up the Amazon Echo Dot
The Echo Dot is Amazon's least expensive and most popular Alexa speaker. Here's how to get it set up.
Amazon Alexa Setup: Features to Enable and Disable
You just bought an Amazon Fire TV, Echo or Echo Dot. Here are the settings you'll want to adjust before you start using it.
How to Make Amazon Alexa Understand Your Voice
By using the Echo in conjunction with the Alexa app, you can train the personal assistant to better understand your vocal patterns.
How to Make Alexa Speak Faster or Slower
Alexa's default voice isn't for everyone. Whether you want your voice assistant to slow down or speed up, all you need to do is ask.
How to Change the Amazon Echo Wake Word
You don't have to say "Alexa" to wake Amazon's voice assistant. Here's how to change Alexa's name.d
How to Enable Alexa's Follow-Up Mode
You don't need to keep saying "Alexa..." every time you want her to do something.
What is Alexa Voice Shopping, and How You Can Use It
Did you know you can order stuff from Amazon just by talking to Alexa? Here's our brief explainer on Alexa Voice Shopping.
The Best Amazon Alexa Commands
There are a lot of things that you can ask Alexa to do; here are some of our favorites.
Why Is Alexa Flashing? Decoding Green, Yellow, Red and Purple Lights
Seeing a strange-colored light on your Echo? Here's what it means.
Making voice and video calls with Alexa
How to use Alexa on your Android Phone
You don't need an Echo in order to use Alexa; you can access the voice assistant from Amazon's Alexa app, too.
How to use Alexa on your iPhone
iPhone users haven't been left out! Here's how to get Alexa on your iOS device.
How to Make a Voice or Video Call with Alexa
Reach out and touch someone using Amazon's assistant.
How to Change the Background Picture on the Echo Show
Personalize the background of your Echo Show by adding your own photos.
How to use Alexa's Drop-In Feature
Did you know you can make voice and video calls from one Alexa device to another? Here's how it works.
Manage Alexa settings for kids
How to Enable FreeTime on an Amazon Echo
If you're planning to give an Echo or Echo Dot to your kid, here's how to enable FreeTime so he or she uses Alexa appropriately.
How to Kid-Proof Your Amazon Echo
Make sure that your child doesn't make any unauthorized purchases.
Manage Alexa privacy settings
How to View and Delete Recordings from Your Alexa History
Concerned about your Alexa search history? Here's how to delete everything you spoke to it.
How to Disable Alexa's Drop-In Feature
If enabled, Drop-In lets other Alexa users call your Echo device unannounced. If that creeps you out, here's how to make sure that feature is turned off.
How to Reset an Alexa Device
If you're getting rid of or gifting an Echo, Echo Dot, or other Alexa speaker, you'll want to reset it. Here's how.
Alexa and smart home devices
The Best Smart Home Devices that Work with Alexa
Now that you have an Echo, Echo Dot, or Tap, here are the best smart home devices that will work with it.
Every Smart Light that Works with Alexa
One of the most popular devices people use with Alexa is smart LED lights. Here's all of them, and what they do.
How to Connect Alexa to IFTTT
Through a free Web service called IFTTT (If This Then That), you can enable the Amazon Echo to do a lot more. Here's how to connect the two.
How to Connect Philips Hue Lights to Amazon Alexa
You can automatically change your home's lighting with a word. That's what happens when you connect the Philips Hue Lights to your Amazon Echo.
How to Connect a Nest Thermostat to Amazon Alexa
Voice control your Nest smart home thermostat by connecting the Amazon Echo to it. But first you'll want to connect the Echo to IFTTT.
How to Connect Your Ecobee 3 or 4 to Alexa
The Amazon Echo directly supports the Ecobee 3 and Ecobee 4 smart thermostats right out of the box.
How to Connect WeMo Smart Plugs to Alexa
Belkin's WeMo smart plugs are useful for turning a lamp or light into a smart device. Here's how to control them with Alexa.
How to Create an Alexa Smart Home Routine
You can have Alexa turn on (or off) connected smart home devices at certain times, or when you say a specific phrase. Here's how to set up a routine.
Using music with Alexa
How to Play Amazon Music Using Alexa
It's a cinch to connect Amazon's streaming music service to Alexa, so you can request songs, playlists, and more using nothing but your voice.
How to Connect Your Echo or Echo Dot to a Bluetooth Speaker
The Echo puts out pretty good sound, but if you want to boost your audio, here's how to connect it to a Bluetooth speaker.
How to Play Apple Music on Alexa
Here's how you can connect and control Apple's streaming music service with Alexa.
How to Play Spotify on Alexa
If you prefer Spotify, here's how to use it with Alexa.
How to set up Multi-room Music with the Amazon Echo
If you have more than one Echo device, you can set them up to play music throughout your house. Here's how to set it up.
How to Fine-Tune Your Music With Alexa
You can adjust the bass, mid-range, and treble tones of your music with Alexa. Here's how.
How to Control Your Sonos Speakers with Alexa
The Sonos One is one of the best-sounding smart speakers; here's how to control it with Alexa.
Using TV and video streaming with Alexa
How to Connect an Amazon Alexa to a Harmony Remote
Make your Harmony Remote truly universal and voice controlled by connecting it to the Amazon Echo.
How to Control Your TV with Alexa
Aside from the Harmony Remote, there are several ways you can control your TV using your voice.
How to Connect Alexa to Your Samsung Smart TV
Want more voice control for your Samsung smart TV? Pair it with an Alexa smart speaker to give you added functionality.
How to Connect Alexa to Dish TV
If you are a Dish TV subscriber, you can control it using Alexa. How to connect the services.
Using books with with Alexa
How to Get Alexa to Read You a Book
Alexa can read select Amazon Kindle books to you. Here's how.
Increase your productivity with Alexa
How to Send a Text Message Using Alexa
You can use Alexa to text someone—if you're using an Android phone. Here's how to do it.
How to Order an Uber using Alexa
Uber is just one of hundreds of Skills Amazon has added to Alexa. Now you can order a car simply by talking.
How to Link Your Calendar with Alexa
You can sync your Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, and Microsoft Calendar with Alexa, so you can add events, look them up, and get reminders about upcoming appointments.
How to Use Todoist with Alexa
Todoist is a great tool for creating and managing to-do lists. Here's how to sync the service with Alexa.
Other fun things to do with Alexa
How to Pair Your Fitbit with Amazon Echo
By connecting your Fitbit to the Amazon Echo you can simply ask Alexa how you're tracking without ever checking the app or looking at your wrist.
How to Use Amazon Alexa’s Crystal Ball
Everyone wants to know their future. With the Crystal Ball Skill enabled on the Amazon Echo you'll get Magic 8-ball like answers to all your pressing questions.
How to Play a Batman Adventure Game on Amazon Alexa
Wanna solve the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents? Simply enable The Wayne Investigation Skill and you can talk your way through this choose-your-own-adventure game.