This story is part Tips for the houseCNET’s collection of handy tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday looming in the background, and Christmas fast approaching, you might find yourself in possession of a new Amazon Echo device. Whether you’re gifting yourself or someone else, if you decide to pull the trigger, there are a few important things you should know when you receive your package and take your new Echo device out of the box. box.
You’re probably interested in using Alexa to play your favorite Spotify album or even set an alarm, but your Amazon Echo has so much more to offer. For example, Alexa can find out who she’s talking to, order supplies for the whole house, turn on your lights and even act like a home security camera. Not to mention that you can make calls and send texts using the Echo speaker — Where go over someone else’s speaker (with their permission, of course).
Right out of the box, Alexa won’t tell you how to do these things, but we’ve got you covered. Read on for essential tips on your Amazon Echo that you will need to know.
1. Find a good place for your Echo in the house
The first thing you’ll do when you unbox your new Amazon Echo is plug it in. And when you only have one Echo speaker, you don’t want to just put it anywhere in the house – in fact, there’s four places you should never put your device. You need to make sure it’s in a central location where your voice can carry from most rooms, like in the kitchen Where living room. (Here are the four best uses for an Amazon Echo in every room of your home.)
2. Get the basics taken care of first
Now that your Echo is plugged in and set up, it’s time to learn the basics. This includes downloading the Alexa app and setting up your location so you have an accurate weather forecast.
We also recommend that you take the time from the start of create a voice profile for everyone living in the house. While you can set it up at any time, Alexa being able to recognize different people’s voices will give everyone in your household a personalized experience. For example, when Alexa recognizes your voice, she’ll play the music and news you like to listen to, and if you want to call or message someone, she’ll check your address book.
You can also set up voice shopping so you can quickly order an item you buy often, like paper towels. To do this, you will also need to enable 1-click ordering in the settings app. Remember to set up a password so only you can make purchases this way. You can find this in Settings > Account settings > Voice purchase.
3. Use voice commands to get things done
Every action you want Alexa to take will be requires voice command. For example, turn on music, control smart speaker volume, and create lists or reminders. You’ll just say something like “Alexa, turn down the volume” or “Alexa, add coffee to my shopping list.”
You can also communicate with Alexa by SMS, instead of talking. Simply open the Alexa app and tap the Keyboard button in the upper left corner.
Don’t want your wake word to be Alexa? You can change it to Echo, Computer, Amazon, Ziggy Where Hey, Disney. Just say “Alexa, change the wake word” and take your pick.
Read more: All the Amazon Echo Wake words that aren’t Alexa – and what they do
4. Control your smart home devices from your Echo speaker
Wish you could arrive home at night with the lights already on? If you have smart lights, smart plugs or light switches, you can control them using the Alexa app so you never have to trip up the front porch stairs again.
Other devices you can control include smart locks (in case you forget to lock your door before leaving, for example), thermostats, robot vacuum cleaners and more.
5. Call, text and visit friends using Alexa
Lost your phone in the house Again? No worries – you don’t need it, because Alexa can make calls and send text messages for you from a compatible device. Just say something like “Alexa, call mom” or “Alexa, text Katie.” Contacts must be in your address book for this to work.
You can also use your Echo speaker to connect about friends and family who have added you as an accepted contact. To do this, just say something like “Alexa, come see dad.”
Now that we’ve got the basics covered, here’s five surprising things you didn’t know your Amazon Echo could dothe 10 weirdest things the Amazon Echo can do
and how to turn your Fire TV into a bigger Amazon Echo Show.
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