We live in an amazing time. One that’s full of convenience-based applications, smart intuitive technology and user-friendly tech that’s purposed to make life’s little idiosyncrasies that much more tolerable. One such device that facilitates this reality is the Amazon Echo – purposed to help with anything and everything from providing insight into the day’s weather, to current traffic conditions, to keeping tabs on your next shopping excursion.
Much like Apple’s “Siri,” Amazon’s “Alexa” responds to inquiries based on questions of habit and personal preferences. And with so many skills and questions that have yet to be asked of Alexa, we understand that things could get a little confusing from the get-go. So much, in fact, that those who aren’t privy to how exactly the Echo could help enhance their daily lives hesitate to ever make a purchase. Naturally, this doesn’t have to be the case. So whether you’ve already made the investment and are looking to get the most out of your Echo or curious as to how the Echo can improve your particular situation, we’ve compiled a brief list of the best Amazon Echo tips, tricks, and hacks to make life with Alexa that much easier.
1. Adjust Nest Temperature
Feeling overly cold or warm all of a sudden? Well, with any Nest thermostat you can sync these handy devices up with Alexa and have her adjust the Nest temperature at a moment’s notice. Best of all, setting this up just requires a modicum of time on your part and a slight investment. Trust us though, the benefits are exceptional.
2. Change Default Music Service
When purchasing your Amazon Echo, you’re also investing in their default music service that comes stock on the device – Amazon Music. However, if you already have a subscription to other services such as Spotify or Pandora you can change the default music service accordingly. Simply open the Echo page in your browser or on your phone and under the settings page find Music and Media. From here you can adjust from Amazon Music to either Spotify or Pandora.
3. Integrate your Calendar
Talk about handy. This simple trick allows you the opportunity to fully integrate your Google calendar into your Echo swiftly and easily. Just enter the easy-to-navigate Echo page online and under Settings click Calendar Services. Here, you’ll be able to link your Google account with the Echo. Now, staying on top of your plans is as easy as “Alexa, what’s on my schedule for today?”
4. Request a Ride (Uber or Lyft)
Need a ride? Why not ask for one? With this useful skill found on the Amazon store made specifically for the Echo, you can request a ride, rate the driver, even gauge how long the ride will take and when you can expect to arrive at your destination. Pretty cool right?
5. Stay Fit (7-minute workout)
Staying fit doesn’t have to require hours upon hours at the gym. Instead, remaining fit and healthy really just takes a few dedicated moments several times a week to get the heart pumping. And in this case, staying fit can be accomplished 7 minutes at a time. It’s a handy skill available on the Amazon store where Alexa will guide you through your daily workouts
6. Play Jeopardy
Who wouldn’t want to casually brush up on some trivia from time to time? This self-explanatory skill for Alexa turns the Echo into your very own Alex Trebek, testing your knowledge on everything from sports to pop culture to travel and world history through a fun Jeopardy platform on your Echo.
7. Change the Wake Word
By default, the Echo “awakens” when its name is called (i.e. “Hey Alexa”). However, if you wish to change the wake word for whatever reason or if there’s already an Alexa present in the household, this can easily be done by accessing your Amazon Echo settings page via your app or computer. Here, choose the device you wish to alter and then scroll down that device’ settings page until you see the wake word where you can then change it to any one of the other default options.
8. Make Phone Calls
How easy would it be to contact a friend or family through their Amazon Echo? Well, with a little know-how it would be incredibly easy and simple to make phone calls to anyone with their own Echo. In fact, the Echo will walk you through the stages themselves upon launching the Echo app. You just need to make sure your contacts are correct, and that Alexa app is up to date.
Some Commonly Used Phrases to Remember
Control the Volume:
“Alexa, turn it down.”
“Alexa, turn it up.”
Or when listening to music:
“Alexa, play some bluegrass.”
“Alexa, next song.”
“Alexa, set a sleep timer for 20 minutes.”
When listening to a streaming service:
“Alexa, thumbs down.” or “Alexa, I like this song.”
“Alexa, play (preferred artist) radio.”
When Planning Your Day
“Alexa, what’s on my calendar today?”
“Alexa, what’s traffic like right now?”
“Alexa, when’s my next meeting?”
9. Track Amazon Packages
Here’s an easy yet mindful way to keep up to date with any and all packages coming from Amazon. Surprisingly, when the Echo was first released this functionality wasn’t included. Now, however, it has the capability to track all your Amazon packages. All you have to do is ask. You can also track these items via the Alexa app as well in case you feel that seeing is believing.
10. Settle a Dispute
Can’t seem to decide where to go for dinner or whose turn it is to drive? Now you can settle these little disputes the old fashioned way with new technology. Simply ask Alexa to “flip a coin” and you’ll be sure to get the answers to these minor disputes – leaving both parties involved more time to get things handled.
11. Create Reminders
Thanks to Amazon’s beefier updates for the Echo, you can now set timers and multiple updates with ease on the Echo thanks to this little trick. To do so you can either ask Alexa to set a reminder via “Alexa, create a reminder,” and she’ll then walk you through the process or you can set it yourself through the mobile Alexa app if you’re away from home but still need to set one.
12. Delete Your Recorded History
Want to ensure no one discovers that embarrassing song you were jamming out to while cleaning out the garage, or simply looking to wipe the slate clean so to speak? It’s fairly easy to accomplish both of these by deleting your recorded history from the Echo with this hack. Basically, all you need to do is find Alexa history in the Alexa app then you can either remove individual cards that Alexa heard and stored or you can delete the entire history by going to Manage Your Content and Devices, clicking Your Devices, selecting your Echo, click Manage Voice Recordings, then click Delete.
13. Traffic Updates
Just like getting instant access to the current weather conditions or an ongoing shopping list, Alexa also works to keep you up to date with the latest traffic conditions by simply asking. Also, with the latest updates, Alexa will even suggest alternative routes and provide you with estimated arrival times to your destination based on current traffic patterns and congestion.
14. Get Instant Cocktail Recipies
Here’s a skill everyone should attain. Luckily, Alexa can garner this knowledge for you with the new Bartender skill that grants Alexa (and you) access to over 12,000 drink recipes including the ingredients and how to properly mix everything up into a tasty cocktail. Not sure what you’re craving? Not a problem either as Alexa will also suggest different drinks based on previous requests.
15. Use Echo As A Bluetooth Speaker
Not only does Echo help you through life’s daily inquiries, but it can help get the party going as well because it’s also a Bluetooth speaker. To accomplish this tip, simply sync your phone up to the Echo by saying “pair” and Alexa will let you know when the device is ready. Then, pair your smartphone with the device as you normally would on your phone and Alexa will tell you when the pairing was “successful.”
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