How to Set Up an Amazon Echo. How to use an echo

Once your app is updated, it will automatically guide you through the message setup process the first time you launch it. You just need to follow a few quick instructions, including confirming your name and phone number, and allowing access to your contact list.

The best Amazon Echo tips and tricks

Amazon Echo devices are some of the best smart home controllers on the market. These feature-rich Alexa powered smart speakers can play your favorite music, dim lights, control your home security system, remind you of important calendar events, help you find recipes, answer frequently asked questions and much more.

Unfortunately, most Echo users never even scratch the surface of the Echo’s massive skillset, having just mastered the basics. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to shed light on some of the more complicated and fun features of the entire Echo lineup. Read on to find out what new tricks you can learn to impress your guests at your next dinner party.

Change Alexa’s name or create a nickname for her to call you

Once you’ve got your Alexa device up and running on your Wi-Fi network, there are a few more things you might want to do before diving by using or the included iOS or Android mobile app.

First, if your name is Alexa or something similar (like Alexis), you’ll definitely want to change the word “wake up” for your device. To do this, select your device in the app, then select Wake Word and select the desired wake word, which can be “Amazon”, “Echo”, “Alexa” or “Computer”. You can also change the name Alexa is calling you from. Go to the Communication section in the Alexa app where you can edit your name in the My Profile and Settings section.

Once your app is updated, it will automatically guide you through the message setup process the first time you launch it. You just need to follow a few quick instructions, including confirming your name and phone number, and allowing access to your contact list.

Download the Amazon Alexa App

Download for free for iOS, Android or Fire OS on Amazon’s own tablets. Newer Fire tablets should already have this, although 1st and 2nd generation tablets are not supported.

You need an Amazon account to use Alexa, but you don’t need Amazon Prime. Log in to the application. Then click on the hamburger menu in the lower right corner and select Add Device. Here, you can add as many Alexa-supported devices as you want to your account, from smart lights to smart plugs. But our focus is on Echo devices, so tap the Amazon Echo. On the next screen, tap on Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus and more. It covers almost every type of Echo that has existed since 2014, even discontinued devices. Make sure your Echo device is connected.

Enter Setup Mode

Upon entering setup mode, the Echo’s light ring will flash blue, then orange. If you don’t see orange, press and hold the Action button for five seconds. Eventually, Alexa will come to life and say that she is “Now in setup mode.”

Amazon has the option to save your Wi-Fi credentials – network SSID and password / security code – so you don’t have to enter them all the time while setting up Amazon products. If you’ve done this before, setting up Wi-Fi on the new Amazon Echo is a breeze. When the app detects a new Echo, hit the name (Echo Dot-BG8 for example) and you will see it search for Wi-Fi, connect to the saved network and confirm that the Echo is on the network.

It’s a bit different if you haven’t saved your Wi-Fi info (or you did, but want to set up the Echo on a different Wi-Fi network, even in the same location). In this case, you will see a list of available Wi-Fi networks visible on your phone or tablet; select your preferred Wi-Fi network. Enter your Wi-Fi password when prompted, if you have one. (You really should put the password in Wi-Fi.) Here you can also save your network credentials at Amazon.

Once all the information has been sent to the device, Alexa will say, “Your Echo is ready” and the orange lights will turn off. Then you choose a language and set the Echo location.

These are interactive story games for adults and teens (think movie noir mystery) that also allow you to choose your own adventure as the story unfolds.

The 15 coolest things you can do with your Amazon Echo



How to video call using the Echo Show

Whether you have the original Echo Show 5, Echo Show 8, Generation 3 Show 10, or the newest and biggest Echo Show 15, you can make video calls with your friends and family using your smart display .

Before you can make a call, however, you first need to make sure that the person you want to chat with in the video chat has either the Alexa app set up on their cell phone or also has the Echo Show. There are two easy ways to start a video call.

  • Using voice commands: Say “Alexa, video call (contact name).”
  • Using the display: Start by swiping the right side of the display to the left to open the Echo Show menu. In the top left corner of the menu, tap Communicate> ShowContacts to open your contact list. Scroll to the contact you want to call and select the contact’s name. Then press Call in the “Alexa Devices” menu to start a video call.

It’s a cool feature that still works even if your contacts only have a smartphone. In addition, there is also a group video call option. Just make sure anyone joining turns on Alexa’s group calling features first, then create a contact group using the Alexa app, then say “Alexa, video call (regardless of contact group name)” to start the chat.

So will Echo-to-Echa or Echo-to-phone calls take over and replace our landline phones? Who knows – but if you fancy trying out calling with Alexa devices, now you know how.

If you prefer to listen to audiobooks, you can do so with your paired Audible account. It’s not the same, but if you have a list of ebooks in your Kindle account, you can find in the apps that are Alexa compatible and have your assistant read them.

Use the Echo Dot as a Speaker for Another Device via Bluetooth

Another way to use the Amazon Echo Dot as a speaker is to pair it with another device such as a phone, tablet, or computer.

Make sure that the device you want to connect to is within Bluetooth range and that its Bluetooth is turned on.

Ask Alexa to “Pair a new device”. Alexa will search for the device you want to connect to.

Go to your device’s Bluetooth settings and tap on Echo Dot-XXX (the exact network name will be different for each device). Connect with him.

Pair the Echo Dot with your device via Bluetooth on iPhone with Bluetooth settings, Bluetooth enabled and Echo device lit

You can now stream music from this device via Bluetooth through the Echo Dot speaker.

For some devices, such as an external Bluetooth speaker, you may need to manually add the device in the Alexa app by going to Devices> Echo & Alexa> Echo Dot (your device)> Connect a device. Then select the device from the provided list of available devices.

Connect to an Echo Dot With a Cable

If all this sounds like a hassle, there is another way to use the Echo Dot as a speaker which is to plug an AUX cable into the Echo Dot’s 3.5mm input, this way the Echo Dot will play music from the connected device.

Plug the AUX cable into the 3.5mm output on the Echo Dot, which is located next to the power port.

Connect the other end of the cable to the device you want to connect the Echo Dot to, such as a smartphone.

When the two devices are wired together, any audio from the source device (in our example, a smartphone) will be played through the Echo Dot speaker.

To reset the Echo Dot back to factory settings, open the Alexa app and tap Devices> Echo & Alexa, select the Echo Dot, then tap Factory Reset. For a less drastic fix for many issues, consider restarting your Echo Dot: unplug the power cord, wait a few minutes, and then plug it back in.

To set up the Echo Dot, open the Alexa app and select Devices> plus sign, then tap Add Device> Amazon Echo, select your device, then tap Connect to Wi-Fi. When you see an orange light on the Echo Dot, tap Continue. Go to your smartphone’s Wi-Fi settings, then find and connect to the Amazon network. Go back to the Alexa app, tap Continue, select your Wi-Fi network, and tap Connect.

There is no dedicated power button that will turn off the Echo Dot. Unplug your device to turn it off completely. If you want to mute the Echo Dot, press the mute button to turn off the device’s microphone.

If the Echo Dot is flashing green, the device indicates that you are on a call or have an incoming call. The Echo dot will flash green until you complete the call. To end the connection, say Alexa, end the connection.

In fact, not much changes with the more Echo devices – aside from stereo pairing and Alexa home theater / theater, which we’ll talk about below. The core functionality of Alexa and Echo (whether it’s a dot or not) doesn’t really change when it’s doubled up, with minimal sync between them.

Stereo pairing

Stereo pairing is a feature that came out in 2018 with the 2nd Gen Echo Plus and 3rd Gen Echo Dot, and it works on newer Echo devices. Pairing is simple: just like creating a multi-room group, you can create a stereo pair.

Music groups for Amazon Echo picture 1

The caveat here is that you’ll need to have the same type of speaker: hence two Echo, two Echo Plus, two Echo Dot, or two Echo Studio. With the advent of the 3rd Gen Echo, the rules have changed slightly as the 3rd Gen Echo will pair stereo with the 2nd Gen Echo Plus, but that’s the only exception. The Echo 2020 (sphere) will only stereo pairing with the same model.

However, when paired, you have a much better music system – and with the option to include the Echo Sub in the mix, a 2.1 system is possible – and it sounds really good. Adding Sub is done in the same process as above.

Alexa Home Theater/Cinema

This will allow you to create a sound system that will work with Fire TV. Again, you’ll need to have the right speakers as well as a compatible Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Cube, then you can create a home entertainment set for your TV.

We’ve outlined in detail how it works and what devices are compatible here.

This is a great way to use Echo devices to amplify your TV audio, but it only works with audio coming from your Fire TV device – it won’t apply to content from other sources (such as your tuner or cable box), so this setup can only work if, when you are a die-hard streamer.

If you have a fmaily account with Amazon Music, using voice profiles may mean it will play your preferences and not someone else’s, or you can restrict purchases to only certain voices, for example.

How to Set Up Home Monitoring

Home monitoring can only be set up from the Echo Show and not from the Alexa app, possibly for privacy reasons.

Echo Show home monitoring setup

Swipe down from your Echo Show screen to bring up the menu bar at the top. Tap Settings => Camera => Home Monitoring.

There is a toggle switch on the right side of the home monitor. The default setting is Disabled. Swipe right to turn on home monitoring.

Below home monitoring, there are two options for how this feature works: Video Delay and Audio Alert. Your choice may depend on your life situation. If you live alone, you can make your own decisions about these options. If you live with others, you can talk to your roommates / family members about turning these options on.

Video Delay

Video delay is a feature that works as it sounds. When Home Monitoring is activated with Video Delay enabled, the Echo Show camera will display a blurry image for a few seconds. This allows anyone in front of the camera to get ready or leave the room before the camera focuses. Enable the Video delay option in the Echo Show home monitor settings if you want to give other household members a moment to get ready to start streaming your live video.

Audio Alert

When an audio alert is turned on, the Echo Show will play a sound when home monitoring begins. Everyone in the room will hear a bell when the Echo Show broadcasts live video. A different chime plays when home monitoring is finished.

After disabling the audio alert, the person in the Echo Show room will not know that live video is streaming from the Echo Show, unless that person is looking at the Echo Show screen.

Echo Show Notification Home monitoring

Finishing Home Monitoring Setup

With home monitoring turned on and you’ve selected Video delay and an audio alert in Echo Show, tap Done. You will be asked to enter your Amazon account password, and you can receive a two-factor verification code on your phone to verify your account.

Using Home Monitoring on the Alexa App or Other Alexa Devices

After you set up home monitoring, you can watch live video streaming from the Alexa app on your phone, other Echo Show, and Fire TV devices. All of these must be logged in to the same Amazon account as the Echo Show in order to watch the video feed.

Note that the person being viewed by Home Monitoring may end the video broadcast by tapping Done on the Echo Show screen.

Alexa App

To watch live video from your home, open the Alexa app on your phone. Tap Devices on the bottom menu bar and then Cameras on the next screen. You should see the name of the Echo Show with home monitoring turned on. Tap the Echo Show name to start watching live video streaming from your home.

Alexa home monitoring app

Tip => Switch your phone to landscape mode to see the best view of the video stream.

Other Alexa Devices

You can also use Home Monitoring to watch video channels on other Echo Show or Amazon Fire TV devices. Just say “Alexa, show me (Echo Show device name)” to start monitoring your home and display the video feed of your home.

Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) Movement Detection

If you have a 3rd generation Echo Show 10, you can set up a routine for the Echo Show to turn on home monitoring and send an alert if it detects someone entering the room. See the Amazon Home Monitoring help page for information on how to set up this routine.

Stereo pairing is a feature that came out in 2018 with the 2nd Gen Echo Plus and 3rd Gen Echo Dot, and it works on newer Echo devices. Pairing is simple: just like creating a multi-room group, you can create a stereo pair.

44. Alexa, I need to meditate.

We are all big fans of the mindfulness provided by technology these days. Which is less ironic than it sounds. Use Alexa to access Guided Meditation through Stop, Breathe, Thought which is our favorite. Also, silencing our minds, even for a moment, is something we could all benefit from these days.

Bamboo Learning offers support for math, English, reading and more right on your Alexa | Sponsor

We thank our sponsor Bamboo Learning for helping us turn our Amazon Echo into an educational tool. All parents can take advantage of this help this year – and every year indeed.

Written by Cool Mom Staff

We spend our time looking for cool stuff so you don’t have to. Hope this fits the bill.


This actually convinced me to buy

Me too, Travis! I don’t blame you!

I had one ahead and used them all throughout February

If someone else needs more persuasion, here’s something you can tell Alexa to do. One of the things you can do that I like is, “Alexa, wake me up to Taylor Swift music at 6am.” Instead of an annoying alarm, you can wake up to the sounds of uplifting music. (Not that Taylor is always uplifting) I figured some people might want to know that.

Ask her “Alexa, what is the meaning of life?”

It says 42, but the question is more complicated.

42 is a reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy

I am having fun with it and this list is amazing and it all works

I was disappointed.

My calendar is in hotmail so Alexa can’t help me with that. (Google Calendar only).
My music is stored on Google Play so Alexa can’t help me with that.
Alexa apparently can’t give me the stock quotes or even answer yes or no to “Alexa, can you tell me the stock quotes?”
Ever since I received my Echo, I’ve spent more time (and had a lot more luck) asking my Android phone “OK Google, how do I do (thing x) on amazon echo?” than I spent making Alexa do anything.
When it comes to streaming music over echo to “not use data” on your mobile device: If you’re using Echo at home, is your mobile device likely not using Wi-Fi and not mobile data?
Google can now set a timer and alarm on my Android phone and play David Bowie. As an added bonus, he can play David Bowie in my car.
There are apps that I’ve been using for years that are much better than Alexa – like evernote for creating lists. And I don’t do all my purchases on amazon, so evernote is where I want my lists.
And speaking of the Alexa app: why can’t I just * talk to the Alexa app * on my phone instead of needing another $ 180 hardware on my countertop? (hint: because no one has bought Fire phones). Moreover, why do I need to buy another echo “dot” to the top, instead of just being able to pair any old bluetooth speaker / mic with the $ 180 echo at the bottom?
In every Audible app (audiobook) I have used on any platform, the reading speed is adjustable. But not on amazon echo as far as I know (“Alexa, speed up” just confuses Alexa).
I admit that integration with a smart home is pretty cool. I use smart devices and can tell the echo to change the temperature and open the garage door. But again, why can’t I just say these things on the phone?

And there are certainly cheaper ways to play bingo and Simon Says.

I’m sorry you don’t care about your Amazon Echo. Nice person who “gave it to you.” It’s a bit expensive.
I happen to love mine, but like everything else in life, it’s not for everyone.

As far as I am concerned, the Amazon Echo is meant to be fun. It has been given to you, so enjoy it, and if you can’t or don’t want to, give it to someone else who will. There are many people who are not so privileged, so please be grateful for what makes life easier and if you already have something, give it back. I like mine!

Using it for home automation is by far your best use. Try it with anything else and you’ll get hiccups. Alexa is better when paired with home automation. I am happy to pay 180 plus 50 for a dot to have all the home automation.

Add your Hotmail calendar to your Google calendar with ical.
You can use IFTTT to add your shopping lists, to-do, etc to EverNote.

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