Amazon’s virtual assistant has taken living rooms by storm. While you may know how to ask Alexa what the weather is like in Adelaide, Australia, or to shuffle tracks by Fleetwood Mac, Alexa is capable of so much more. You just have to know how to ask. We’ve compiled some of the most useful tips and tricks that the average user can start using immediately.
1. Change the “Wake” Word
Most of the time the Echo is in a sleep state, only turning on and actively listening whenever someone says the “wake” word, which is “Alexa.” When your Echo hears this “wake” word, Alexa springs to life and is ready to obey your commands.
But what happens when someone in your house is named Alexa or Alexis or Alex? Chances are the Echo will wake up and listen every time a variation of “Alexa” is uttered. To prevent this from happening, you’ll want to change the “Wake” word. To do so, jump into the Alexa app and select “Settings -> Select your Echo -> Wake Word” and pick a new word from the list like “Computer” or “Echo.”
2. Make Multiple Profiles
If more than one person is going to be using your Amazon Echo, it’s wise to set up different profiles for each individual. To add someone, they’re going to need their own Amazon account. Once the account is created, you’ll need to add them to Alexa’s “household profile.” To do so, open the app or point your browser to echo.amazon.com. Navigate to “Settings -> Household Profile.” Here you’ll have to enter the log-in information for the primary user and hit the Continue button. From there you’ll be able to enter the Amazon account info of each person you want to add to your Household Profile.
All users added to the Household Profile will now be able to collaborate on things like to-do lists and calendars. In addition, you can share content like music and books. To check which profile is currently being used, ask “Alexa, which profile is this?” To switch, simply say “Alexa, switch profiles.”
3. Traffic Details
With Alexa, there’s no need to wait for the local news to comment on the current traffic situation. Furthermore, Alexa can give you a personalized traffic report based on your preferred travel routes. To do so, you’ll first need to tell Alexa where you go and any stops you like to make on the way. Jump into the Alexa app and head to “Settings -> Traffic.”
You can enter specific addresses, like home, the office or where your kids go to school. In addition, you can add stops like your favorite coffee shop or the supermarket. Alexa will tailor the traffic information she passes on based on your entries. To ask Alexa for a traffic update, say “Alexa, how is traffic?” or “Alexa, what’s my commute?”
4. Sports Updates
If you’re a sports fan, you probably find it difficult to keep up on every game and still function like a normal adult. Fortunately, Alexa can help you stay on top of all the latest scores and team standings. Say “Alexa sports update,” and you’ll get a rundown of news for teams you have chosen. To choose which teams Alexa covers, head into the Alexa app and go to “Settings -> Sports update.” Here you will find the option to search for teams. Be aware, as not all sports are covered at this time.
5. Change the Default Music Provider
The Amazon Echo is a decent speaker for playing music. In addition, you can pair it with a Bluetooth speaker to give it some extra oomph. The default music provider is Amazon’s own Prime Music. Unfortunately, Prime Music has a fairly small library.
Luckily, the Amazon Echo is compatible with a wide range of streaming music services. If you’d rather use Spotify or similar, open the Alexa app and navigate to Settings. Under Account, select “Music & Media -> Customize my music preferences -> Choose default music service.” From there, simply select your provider of choice!
Do you own an Amazon Echo? Do you find Alexa useful? Did we miss your favorite Alexa ability? Let us know in the comments!