Alexa has become a household name, literally. Amazon’s smart speakers and smart displays are common in many homes. It’s not uncommon to find one in every room, so the virtual assistant known as Alexa is ready to answer questions, play music or news, control smart devices, and more.
Here’s how to get started with any Amazon Echo or Show device by setting up Alexa right and customizing its configuration.
How to set up Alexa on Echo or Echo Dot
Regardless of what type of Amazon smart speaker you own, an Amazon Echo or the smaller Echo Dot, the setup is the same. Here’s what to do:
1. Install theAlexa app on your mobile device. If you have an iPhone or iPad, install Alexa for iOS. If you have an Android device, use Alexa for Android instead.
2. Connect your Echo device. After a few minutes you will see a spinning orange light. You may also hear Alexa say out loud that she is ready to set up.
3. Open the Alexa app and log into your Amazon account.
4. You may see a message asking if you want to set up the new Alexa device. If so, tap Continues and follow the instructions. If not, tap the card Other at the bottom right of the screen and tap Add a device .
5. In the All devices list, tap Amazon Echo .
6. On the next page, tap Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus and more .
7. You should see a screen asking Is your Echo plugged in and in setup mode? If you see a spinning orange status light, tap Yup .
8. Follow the instructions to choose your new Echo device and connect it to WiFi. Touch Continues .
9. Choose a language and tap Continues .
10. Choose which room the device is in and tap Continues .
11. Alexa will ask you to enter your home address. Enter it and tap Continues .
How to set up Alexa on Echo Show
If you have an Echo Show, setup is even easier than a regular Echo because the Show has its own built-in screen – you don’t need to use the Alexa app on a phone or tablet to get started.
Just plug in the Echo Show and wait for the device to boot up for the first time. Then follow the on-screen prompts to enter your Amazon account details and choose a WiFi network and enter the password.
After initial setup, you can access Echo Show settings (for example, to change WiFi settings) by swiping down from the top of the screen.
How to customize Alexa settings
After the initial setup there are many things you can do with Alexa and many ways to customize it. All of these steps are optional, but to get the most out of your Amazon device, it’s a good idea to explore these settings and change the ones that interest you.
Set your voice commands
While most Echo models have control buttons on the top (like mute, volume, and an action button for giving commands), most of the time you’ll likely interact with your Echo entirely via your voice.
To give a command, start with the wake word, which by default is “Alexa”. In other words, to give a command, you could say “Alexa, what time is it?”
As a general rule, you must use the activation word before each command, but after a few commands Alexa stays awake and can respond to follow-up commands without hearing the activation word again. For example, if you say “Alexa, give me a five-minute timer”, you can give an additional command, such as “tell me the news”, without saying Alexa a second time. Alexa indicates that she is still awake with a blue light.
If you prefer, you can configure Echo to respond to another activation word, such as “Echo”, “Amazon”, “Computer” or “Ziggy”.
Set your Echo’s location
Each Echo device has a location setting. Usually, this is just your home address, and Alexa uses it to give you correct information on things like local time, weather, and local news.
Alexa gives you the option to set this address when you first set up your Echo device, but if you’ve skipped that step or need to change your location, you can do so using the Alexa App. To change the location of an Echo device, tap the tab Devices at the bottom of the app, then choose Echo and Alexa . Tap the device in question, choose its icon Settings then find the option Device location .
Add Alexa Skills
Your Echo device comes with many predefined abilities – right after you set it up, for example, you can ask Alexa to start a timer, tell you the news and the weather, tell you a joke, and control smart devices around the house. But Alexa has more than 100,000 other skills, many of them provided by third-party developers and companies. You can enable these skills and ask Alexa to perform them.
For example, you can enable skills to play National Public Radio, hear a voice from celebrities like Melissa McCarthy instead of Alexa, and generate white noise like rain. The options are practically limitless.
There are several ways to enable skills on the Echo device. If you know the precise name of the skill, you can simply ask Alexa to turn it on, for example, “Alexa, turn on the seven minute workout skill”. You can also enable skills using the Alexa App – tap the tab Other and choose Skills and games then discover and activate all the skills you want.
Link to Spotify
Echo devices are first and foremost speakers, which means you can use them to listen to music. If you ask Alexa to play music, it uses Amazon Music by default. You’re not limited to that, though.
If you have an account with Spotify or Pandora, you can set them as your favorite accounts when you ask Alexa to play music. It’s easy to set Spotify as your default music player, and the process is very similar for adding Pandora to your Echo device as well.
To set up your music services, open the Alexa app and tap the tab Other At the bottom of the page. You choose Settings, then find your preferences Music and podcasts .
Set up news alerts
Echo offers several ways to get news – here are some of the most common:
- Say “Alexa, listen to the news.” Alexa plays a long-running news report from your favorite news source.
- Say “Alexa, play my flash briefing.” Alexa plays a curated news summary from a playlist of news sources you can specify.
- Say, “Alexa, play the news from [fonte di notizie]”. You can ask for news from Insider, CNN, ESPN, and many others.
- You can enable news notifications. When turned on, Alexa sends news alerts from sources you can specify such as Insider, Fox News, and NPR. These warnings will play as they occur, so you don’t have to ask to listen to them.
You can check all these news options from the Alexa app:
1. Launch the Alexa App and tap the tab Other at the bottom of the screen.
2. Touch Settings .
3. In the section Alexa preferences touch News .
4. On the page News you can enable and disable various news experiences and choose which news sources you want to hear from.