Tech

7 Alexa commands you’re not using but should

With Alexa and the range of Echo devices, — including smart displays and smart speakers — Amazon has built a robust service that can deliver seemingly endless information and control your home. But, are you actually taking full advantage of all it can do?

If you haven’t yet unlocked the full potential of Alexa, the following seven voice commands will get you closer. These are the amazing things Alexa can do that you should start using now. 

Read more: Amazon announced the new Echo Show 15 smart display at its September 2021 fall product launch event, along with several other new Echo and Ring products

Welcome you home

What makes Alexa so useful is that it can plug into many other smart home devices. Connect your Philips Hue or LIFX smart light bulbs to your Echo and you can tell Alexa to turn on the lights.

Take it up a few notches and create a routine for when you arrive home so that when you say the magic words, such as “Alexa, I’m home” it can turn on your lights, play music and turn on the heat (or many other sets of actions).

Read more: 4 best uses for your Amazon Echo device in each room of your home

Give your brain a break from remembering important info

Always forgetting your sister-in-law’s birthday or to pick up your dry cleaning? Alexa can remember for you. Just say “Alexa remember [exactly what you want to remember]” and it will take care of the rest.

Act as a host

When you have friends or relatives staying at your house, inevitably they’re going to ask what’s the WiFi password or where to find an extra set of towels. Let Alexa handle it with a custom command (called Skills). With a Skills Blueprint, you can create a Custom Q&A for your home so that visitors can get answers without you.

Head to Amazon’s Skills Blueprint page and pick the “Houseguest” option to create a guide with FAQs your guests might have while staying with you. When they arrive, they can ask “Alexa, where is the toilet paper?” or “Alexa, how do I turn on the shower?” and it will give them the answers.

The modern intercom

If you have multiple Echo speakers in your home, you can easily create an intercom system to tell the entire house that dinner is ready, or tell your roommates to keep the music down. To use this feature, you’ll need to enable it in your Alexa app.

Make free phone calls

Hands-free and free phone calls are really easy with Alexa (maybe too easy, as this Portland family learned). Just say the command “Alexa, call [phone number]” or “Alexa, call Mom” and your Echo will dial the call.

It works for mobile numbers and landlines too. With an Echo Connect and a home phone service (either a landline or VoIP) your Echo can also receive calls and allow you to dial 911.

And what if you lose your phone? Well, Alexa can help you find that, too.

Manage your schedule

Like any good personal assistant, Alexa can help you stay on top of your calendar and let you make changes quickly. Just sync your calendar account from Google, Apple or Microsoft in the Alexa mobile app to get started (here’s how to set it up). Then ask “Alexa, what’s on my calendar for tomorrow?”

If you can’t make a meeting, just say “Alexa, move my 1 p.m. meeting tomorrow to 3 p.m.” or “Alexa, cancel my 9 a.m. event.”

Amazon announced the Echo Show 15 at the September 2021 launch event. 

Use Alexa with other smart devices

Being able to ask Alexa to “turn on the lights in the kitchen” is really satisfying, especially when you’re arriving home late at night with your hands full. Likewise, it feels powerful to turn on your TV with just your voice.

Within the Alexa app on your phone, you can connect the compatible smart devices in your home so you can control them. The possibilities are (almost) endless.

Check out the 50 Alexa Skills worth using and if you want to know everything Alexa can do, we’ve got that, too. Want even more Alexa? Check out these recommendations: 

What are your favorite Alexa commands? Share them in the comments.

First published on June 9, 2018 at 8 a.m. ET. 

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