So you snapped up an Echo, Echo Dot, or another Echo device during Amazon's Prime Day extravaganza (or during one of Amazon's periodic Echo sales), and it's sitting in your kitchen waiting quietly for the next order. What now?
Before you can ask the Alexa-powered Echo to play your favorite Spotify playlist or turn on the lights in the living room, you need to fine-tune some key settings. Find out how you can train Alexa to recognize your voice, prevent her from just letting someone buy things on Amazon, tell her where you live and work, and more.
Create a Voting Profile
As soon as the new Echo is up and running, Alexa can start answering your questions and bidding. That said, it's a good idea to help Alexa get used to your voice as soon as possible. By creating a voice profile, you can train Alexa to both understand and recognize your voice, which comes in handy when it comes to asking Alexa to act or send messages to others.
Your Echo unit should have asked you to create a voice profile during the initial installation process, but skipping it (as I did the first time) is an easy way to go back.
On the Amazon Alexa app for iOS or Android, press the menu button, touch Settings> Alexa account> Recognized votes> Your vote then touch the big blue "Begin" button. Alexa will ask you four short sentences in your echo. When that's done, she'll get a much better grip on how you sound.
Customize your voice trading settings
By default, Echo lets you ̵
Fortunately, it's an easy way to add some rules of protection to Alexa's voice buying function so your backbones can't start ordering toys, candy, or whatever pops up in their adorably greedy little heads. You can also turn off voice purchases completely if you wish.
First, open the Amazon Alexa app on your iPhone or Android phone, click the menu button, and then click Settings> Alexa Account> Voice Purchase .
If you want to keep the voice purchase feature, but prevent the children from using it, you can add a four-digit voice code that you must say before Alexa agrees to buy something for you. Just turn on the voice code setting, and then insert a four-digit code. The next time you or anyone else asks Alexa to buy something, she will ask for your voice code before completing the purchase.
The thing with the kids, of course, is that in addition to being smart, they also remember everything you have to say, including voice tags. Therefore, you should probably ask Alexa to skip the voice tag if she recognizes your voice. (The voice profile you created is coming in handy.)
Just go back to the voice purchasing screen and turn on the Recognize Speakers setting. Now you don't have to say a voice tag when you ask Alexa to buy stuff on Amazon – and better yet – no one else will hear your code.
Last, but not least, you can turn off voice purchases completely by turning off the "Purchase with voice" setting.
Set a "do not disturb" schedule
As you become more familiar with your new Echo, you can choose to let it announce upcoming calendar items, news headlines, incoming messages and dozens of other possible events.
However, chances are you don't want Alexa to wake you up at 3am just because you have some spam in your inbox.
To keep Alexa quiet after going to bed, press the menu button in the Alexa app, and then touch Settings> Device Settings . Touch the name of your new echo, and then touch Do Not Disturb . Then press Scheduled to switch, and then set the hours when you want Alexa to remain silent.
Remember that Alexa will ignore your Do Not Disturb settings when it comes to alarms and timers, so plan accordingly.
Select a music service
One of the most tempting things to try first with your new Echo is to ask it to play some tunes. By default, however, Alexa plays music from Amazon Music. If you subscribe to another music service, such as Apple Music, Pandora or Spotify, you can link your music account to your Alexa account and then set it as your default music service.
Press the menu button on the Alexa app, touch Settings> Music and then press Link New Service . Once you've found your favorite music service, click on it to activate an Alexa skill for it, then go ahead and log in. Finally, press Standard Services from the Music screen, and select a new default setting for your music library and music stations.
Once that's done, say "Alexa, play some Bruce Springsteen," and you'll soon hear The Boss crooning from your favorite music service.
Specify home and work places
If you want to know how long it will take to drive to work on a particular morning, just ask Alexa – that is, when she knows your work address.
Press the menu button in the Alexa app, touch Your Locations and then press Add Locatio n to teach Alexa where you live and where you should go you want her to know something about.
Add your smart devices
Do you have any devices you want Alexa to control, such as a smart bulb, thermostat, or security system? You can start setting them up in a few pins.
First, press the menu button in the Alexa app, and then press Add Device . You will see a list of a wide range of smart devices, from lights and plugs to cameras and microwaves. Select a category, touch a tag, and then follow the steps to create a new skill for your device or smart service.
Once the skill is set up, you can say things like "Alexa, set the basement temperature to 78 degrees," or "Alexa, turn off the lights in the living room. "