Alexa is the most popular home assistant, and according to figures from Statista, a quarter of all smart speakers sold worldwide use Amazon Alexa.
Whether you’re about to set up your first smart speaker or simply want to know the right way to get Alexa up and running on your latest purchase, you’ll find all you need to know right away. here. Alexa is available on more devices than just smart speakers: it’s built into Amazon’s Fire tablets, Echo Buds headphones, Echo Auto for cars, and even some dash cams.
The process is easier than ever, and the first step is to install the Alexa app on your phone if you haven’t already. (If your device uses Alexa that isn’t made by Amazon, you can still set it up using the Alexa app, but check the quick start guide that came with the device to see if it’s a good idea to use it.) another application or not.)
You’ll need an Amazon account to use the Alexa app and Echo devices. If you don’t have one, just sign up at www.amazon.co.uk/account. Friend no need Sign up for Amazon Prime to use Alexa, but you’ll miss out on a few features, such as the ability to play music from Amazon’s library. However, you can ask Alexa to play music from other services like Spotify and Apple Music.
Here are the basic steps to set up Amazon Echo:
- Install the Amazon Alexa app on your phone and sign in with your Amazon account
- Connect your Echo’s power source and turn on the switch at the outlet
- Open the Alexa app. You may see a message that the Echo is ready to set up. Click it.
- If you don’t see a notification, tap Add (bottom right), then Add device
- Click on Amazon Echo
- Select the appropriate model and follow the on-screen instructions
- Once Alexa is connected to your Wi-Fi network, the setup is complete
The setup process is slightly different if you have an Echo Show – Amazon’s smart display has a touchscreen as well as a speaker. You’ll find specific Echo Show setup instructions below.
How to set up an Amazon Echo speaker
Note: if you have multiple Echo devices, each must be set up separately in the Alexa app.
After unboxing your Echo, remove the plastic protector, attach the power cable, and plug the power source into the mains outlet.
You should see the LEDs light up, and after a short while, Alexa will greet you and ask you to follow the instructions in the Alexa app. So, if you haven’t already, install the Amazon Alexa app on your Android phone, iPhone. You can also use the Alexa app on your Amazon Fire tablet.
When you open the Alexa app, you may see a pop-up asking you to set up your new Echo. If so, tap Continue.
If not, tap Add (1) and then on Add device (2).
Tap Amazon Echo (3), then Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and more (4).
Then tap on the exact Echo model you have.
Make sure there’s an orange light on your Echo, indicating that it’s in setup mode. If not, you may have to reset it.
The reset process is different for each device, so check out Amazon’s instructions here. However, in most cases you can simply press and hold the ‘action’ button, which has a small dot on it. Hold it for about 6-10 seconds until you see an orange light and Alexa says “Currently in setup mode”.
When you see an orange light, press YES to confirm your Echo is in setup mode.
The app will search for the device, and then you’ll see your new Echo appear in the list.
Tap it, then wait while the Echo searches for available networks to connect to. Select a Wi-Fi network (usually your home router). If prompted, enter the password for the network, and after a short while, you’ll see a screen confirming that the Echo is connected.
Alexa will announce that there is an internet connection, and the app will prompt you to choose which language to use.
Next, you’ll be asked for your address, so you can get the local weather forecast and other location-based information, such as how long it takes to get to work or other places. Finally, specify the room you have placed the Echo in. This is for various things like grouping smart devices and playing music.
At the end of the setup process, you will see the screen below. Click Let’s Go to finish.
Alexa, on your Echo, will run through a number of functions, including showing you how to set alarms and reminders, how the alarm sounds, and more.
In the app, you can see a prompt to set up a smart home device (be it smart plugs, smart lights, or other gadgets). You can tap Skip if not already or Yes if you have and are ready to set it up.
For more information on what you can say and what’s on offer, check out our guide to
how to use Alexa.
Do I have to say “Alexa”?
No, but the default wake word is Alexa. You can change this setting to “Amazon,” “Echo,” or “Computer” by going into settings in the Alexa app. In the United States, you can also choose “Ziggy,” and in some countries you can turn on “Hey Santa,” which is fun at Christmas, but a bit weird at other times of the year.
You cannot choose your own wake word.
To find voice settings, tap Devices (1), Echo & Alexa (2), then select your Echo from the list (3). Tap the settings gear (4), then scroll down to Wake Word (5) and tap the word you want to use.
Each Echo has its own settings so you can have different wake words for each.
There are other settings here, such as Alexa Voice, where you can choose from Original (female) and New (male).
Tip: you can also ask Alexa to whisper her answer.
How do I set up the Echo Show?
For Echo with a screen, you don’t need the Alexa app to set it up. Just connect the power source and follow the on-screen instructions. The virtual keyboard allows you to enter your Amazon account details and Wi-Fi password.
You can swipe down from the top of the screen on the Echo Show (or Spot) to access settings and shortcuts. This is the fastest way to update your Wi-Fi network or password if you ever change your router or Wi-Fi name.
Tips for getting the most out of Alexa
Now that your Echo is set up, you’ll want to know what to say. That’s covered in our separate guide on how to use Alexa.
You may also want to use Alexa to make voice and video calls to friends and family.
She’s great for the basics, but really comes into her own when paired with compatible gadgets, such as lights, thermostats, switches, and more. When your hands are full, it really helps to be able to say “Alexa, turn on the light” when you walk into a dark room.
If Alexa can’t control something directly and asks you to activate a Skill, you may need to use its name in your commands.
For example, if you have a Nest thermostat, you can’t just say “Alexa, set the temperature to 20 degrees”.
Instead, you need to say “Alexa, put [name of thermostat] to 20 degrees” or “Alexa, make [name of thermostat] warmer “.
If possible, keep the names of your devices simple and short so that Alexa can more easily recognize and understand them.
We’ve also followed this list of fun things to say to Alexa as well as the best games to play on Alexa.
If you see yellow, purple, or other lights on your Echo blinking, here’s what all the colors mean.
We’ve also put together some helpful tips and tricks to get the most out of Alexa.
Here’s a rundown of all the current Echo models, should you decide you want to add smart speakers around your home.
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