Alexa and Alexa Device FAQs

Alexa FAQs

1. How do I use Alexa?

Alexa allows you to ask questions and make requests using just your voice. For instance, you can ask Alexa a question, such as "What is the weather today in New York?", or tell Alexa to do something, like "Add batteries to my shopping list," or "Play jazz." When you speak to Alexa, a recording of what you asked Alexa is sent to Amazon's cloud so we can process and respond to your request. You access Alexa differently based on the type of device you are using. For "hands free" devices, like the Amazon Echo, you access Alexa by saying the wake word (Alexa, Echo, Amazon, or Computer). For other devices, like certain Fire tablets, you access Alexa by pressing a button.

2. What happens when I speak to Alexa?

When you speak to Alexa, a recording of what you asked Alexa is sent to Amazon’s cloud where we process your request and other information to respond to you. For example, when you ask “Alexa, play top hits on Amazon Music” we use the recording of your request and information from Amazon Music to play top hits.

3. Is Alexa recording all my conversations?

No. By default, Echo devices are designed to detect only your chosen wake word (Alexa, Amazon, Computer or Echo). The device detects the wake word by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word. No audio is stored or sent to the cloud unless the device detects the wake word (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button). With Alexa Guard, you can also configure supported Echo devices to detect specific sounds, such as the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and glass breaking. See the FAQ “How does Alexa Guard work?” for more information.

4. Can I review and delete my voice recordings?

Yes. You can review voice recordings associated with your account and delete those voice recordings one by one or all at once by visiting Settings > Alexa Account > Alexa Privacy in the Alexa app or https://www.amazon.com/alexaprivacy. You can also review those voice recordings by visiting Settings > Alexa Account > History in the Alexa app and delete those voice recordings all at once for each of your Alexa-enabled products by visiting Manage Your Content and Devices.

Deleting voice recordings may degrade your Alexa experience. If you delete voice recordings, we will also remove Home Screen Cards in the Alexa app related to those voice recordings. However, removing a Home Screen Card from your Alexa app does not delete voice recordings. If you have changed your default marketplace while using an Alexa-enabled product, you will need to perform this step for each marketplace to delete all voice recordings associated with your account. Note that deleting your voice recordings does not remove your Alexa messages. For more information on removing messages, refer to the FAQ "How do I remove messages?"

5. How are my voice recordings used?

Alexa uses your voice recordings and other information, including from third-party services, to answer your questions, fulfill your requests, and improve your experience and our services. We associate your requests with your Amazon account to allow you to review your voice recordings, access other Amazon services (e.g. so you can ask Alexa to read your Kindle books and play audiobooks from Audible), and to provide you with a more personalized experience. For example, keeping track of the songs you have listened to helps Alexa choose what songs to play when you say, “Alexa, play music.” At times, Alexa may make recommendations to you based on your requests. For example, Alexa may recommend Alexa skills you might like based on the Alexa skills you use.

6. How do my voice recordings improve Alexa?

Alexa is designed to get smarter every day. The more you use Alexa, the more the service adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. For example, we use your requests to Alexa to train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems. The more data we use to train these systems, the better Alexa works, and training Alexa with voice recordings from a diverse range of customers helps ensure Alexa works well for everyone. You can also help us improve our voice services by providing feedback within Settings > Alexa Account > History.

7. How do Alexa skills work?

Skills are voice-driven Alexa capabilities. You can view and enable skills in your Alexa app and enable certain skills by voice. You can use a skill by saying a specific phrase, called the invocation name. When you use a skill, we may exchange related information with the developer of that skill, such as your answers when you play a trivia skill, your ZIP code when you ask for the weather, or the content of your requests. If you make a request to Alexa without using a skill invocation name, we may send the content of your request to several skills, and enable and launch the skill we think is best able to respond to your request. The Skills portion of your Alexa app contains more information about skills, such as applicable policies or terms of use provided by skill developers.

8. How does voice purchasing work?

Prime members can ask Alexa to order or reorder eligible products available for sale through the Amazon website. You can also subscribe to eligible services using Alexa, purchase songs or albums from our Digital Music Store, or purchase products and services through Alexa skills using your default payment and shipping settings. You can require a speakable confirmation code, turn purchasing off, and see product and order details in your Alexa app or at https://alexa.amazon.com for those orders. Just like orders placed through the Amazon website, orders placed through Alexa are subject to Amazon's Conditions of Use and Privacy Notice in the case of a subscription for a service, the terms for the applicable service. Voice purchasing from Amazon is turned off for FreeTime on Alexa.

Some Alexa skills allow you to purchase non-digital products or services from the developer of the skill (for instance, order food through a restaurant's skill) via Amazon Pay using your default payment and shipping settings. You can view your Amazon Pay order history and find additional information for those purchases on the Amazon Pay website.

Some other Alexa skills allow you to purchase products and services from the developer of the skill using a payment method you provide directly to the developer. Your voice purchasing settings may not apply to those purchases.

9. Can I turn off voice purchasing?

Yes, Alexa has voice purchasing settings. Open Settings > Alexa Account > Voice Purchasing in your Alexa app to turn off voice purchasing from Amazon. You can also require an optional confirmation code that Alexa will ask you to say out loud when you want to place an order from Amazon.

10. What are the return and cancellation policies for products and content I order using Alexa?

For information on return policies applicable to non-digital products purchased on Amazon using Alexa, see About Our Returns Policies.

Amazon's return policies do not apply to purchases of non-digital products or services made through third-party Alexa skills (for instance, a food order placed through a restaurant's skill). Instead, the returns policy of the applicable skill developer applies. However, the Amazon Pay A-to-z Guarantee covers qualified purchases of physical products made through third-party Alexa skills using Amazon Pay.

Purchases of digital content are final. However, if you accidentally purchase digital content or a subscription to a non-Amazon service through Alexa, that purchase is eligible for return and refund if we receive your request within 7 days of the date of purchase. To request a refund, please contact customer service. You may cancel the auto-renewal of a subscription to a non-Amazon service by visiting the detail page for the applicable Alexa skill in your Alexa app and adjusting your subscription settings; you will not receive a refund of any fees already paid. For subscriptions to Amazon services, see the terms of use for the applicable subscription for information on refund eligibility and cancellation terms.

11. How do voice donations work?

Alexa also allows you to donate to eligible charities by voice. When you make a donation, Amazon Pay will process the donation using your default Amazon payment settings and will share your name, address, and email with the charity. Your voice purchasing settings apply to donations. If you accidentally make a donation through Alexa or donate to the wrong charity, please contact customer service. You can see details of your donation in your Alexa app or at https://alexa.amazon.com.

12. What is a kid skill and how do I give or revoke permission to use kid skills?

Kid skills are skills that have been identified by the developer as directed to children under age 13. Consistent with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, we require permission from a parent before kid skills can be used. You'll be asked to give permission the first time you attempt to use a kid skill. After you've given permission, you will receive a confirmation e-mail.

You can review or change permissions by visiting the Manage Parental Consent page on Amazon.com or by contacting Customer Service (https://www.amazon.com/contact-us).

To learn more, please visit our Children's Privacy Disclosure.

13. How does Alexa work with smart home devices?

Alexa enables you to control and check the status of a variety of smart home devices, such as lights, switches, cameras and thermostats. See compatible smart home devices . You can connect compatible smart home devices to Alexa using Alexa smart home skills. You can also directly connect certain smart home devices to Echo devices with a built-in smart home hub like Echo Plus. We may automatically update the firmware for certain devices on behalf of the applicable manufacturer.

We may receive information about third-party smart home devices you connect to Alexa, such as device type, name, features, and status and usage history. You can delete Alexa’s status and usage history for third-party smart home devices through Settings > Alexa Account > Alexa Privacy or https://www.amazon.com/alexaprivacy. Deleting this history may degrade your Alexa experience and certain features, such as Hunches. This will not delete other information about your smart home devices, such as device type or name.

14. How does automatic voice recognition and voice profiles work?

Alexa can automatically recognize the voices of users in your household over time to improve personalization of certain Alexa features. You can also create a voice profile, so Alexa can call you by name and do more to personalize your experience. When Alexa recognizes your voice automatically, or when you create a voice profile, Alexa uses recordings of your voice to create an acoustic model of your voice characteristics. Alexa stores these acoustic models in the cloud. If a user stops using Alexa and their voice is not recognized for three years, we will automatically delete the acoustic model for their voice. You can turn off automatic voice recognition or delete any voice profile you've created in the Alexa app. Automatic voice recognition is not available in certain locations.

15. What is Local Voice Control?

Local Voice Control allows Alexa to fulfill a limited set of requests on select Echo devices when the device is not connected to the internet, such as requests to control supported lights, plugs, and switches. After your Echo device regains its internet connection, the recording of your request is sent to the cloud and available to review in Settings>Alexa Account>History in the Alexa app. You can turn Local Voice control off by visiting Settings>Device Settings in the Alexa app.

16. How does Amazon use the permissions I grant in the Alexa app?

The Alexa app requests mobile device permissions to hear your requests, provide more personalized results, help you set up your Alexa-enabled devices, and support certain Alexa features. Below is a list of certain permissions the Alexa app may request, along with a description of how Amazon currently uses those permissions. You can manage the permissions you grant to the Alexa app in the Settings for your mobile device.

Location. We use your mobile device's geolocation to provide results (e.g., weather, traffic, restaurant recommendations) based on where you are using the app and to enable certain features (such as location-based Reminders and Routines). On some mobile devices, we also need the location permission to discover and connect to nearby Bluetooth devices and Wi-Fi networks to help you set up certain Alexa-enabled devices.

Microphone. We use your mobile device's microphone to hear your requests and to enable Alexa Communication features. On some mobile devices, we also need the microphone permission to process audio from your Alexa-enabled Bluetooth devices.

Contacts. We use your mobile device contacts to help you call, message, and connect with your friends and family. To learn more about how we use your contacts for Alexa Communication, please see the Alexa Communication FAQs below.

Storage. To enable certain Alexa features, we may need to store data locally on the device. For example, to improve the performance of the app, we may store certain data (e.g., map data) locally.

Camera. We use the camera on your mobile device to enable video calling and Wi-Fi simple setup (e.g., scanning a device barcode to initiate setup).

Notifications. We use notifications to send you alerts, such as when you receive new messages or calls.

Let the app always run in background. To use certain Alexa-enabled devices (e.g., Echo Auto) and features (e.g., Reminders and Routines), the Alexa app needs permission to always run in the background on certain mobile devices.

17. How does Alexa Guard work?

You can configure supported Echo devices to detect specific sounds you select, such as the sound of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and glass breaking. Guard will only detect these sounds when set to Away mode. Similar to the wake word, the device detects these sounds by identifying acoustic patterns that match the sounds you select. Guard does not store or send audio to the cloud unless the device detects a selected sound. Alexa can send you a Smart Alert, via a mobile notification, that allows you to listen to detected sounds through your Alexa app. Alexa Guard is not a replacement for an alarm system or life safety device and cannot contact emergency services, such as the police or fire department, on your behalf. However, if you connect a supported professionally monitored security system to Guard, you can choose to forward Smart Alerts, including audio recordings of selected sounds, to your security service provider.

18. Can I review and delete my Alexa Guard audio recordings?

Yes. You can review Alexa Guard audio recordings associated with your account and delete those recordings one by one or all at once by visiting Privacy in Settings in the Alexa app or https://www.amazon.com/alexaprivacy. Deleting Alexa Guard audio recordings may degrade your Alexa experience.

FreeTime on Alexa and Echo Dot Kids Edition FAQs

1. What is FreeTime on Alexa and how can I manage my child's FreeTime on Alexa experience?

FreeTime on Alexa is an Alexa experience just for kids, available on the Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, and Echo Dot Kids Edition. When you use FreeTime on Alexa, Alexa will play music, answer questions, read stories, tell jokes, and more with younger ears in mind. Certain Alexa features may differ when FreeTime on Alexa is enabled. For example, voice purchasing from Amazon is turned off and Alexa Communication, if enabled, is limited to only within the household or with contacts you select. Learn more about FreeTime on Alexa here. To learn more about Alexa, please see the Alexa FAQs above. To learn more about Alexa Communication, please see the Alexa Communication FAQs below. To learn more about Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, and Echo Dot Kids Edition, please see the Alexa-Enabled Echo Device FAQs below.

You can set up and manage your child's FreeTime on Alexa experience by visiting Settings > FreeTime in the Alexa app, and the Amazon Parent Dashboard allows parents to see their child's FreeTime on Alexa activity, including which skills their child has used. Like other voice recordings with Alexa, parents can review and delete FreeTime on Alexa voice recordings by visiting Settings > Alexa Account > History in the Alexa app.

Consistent with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, we require permission from a parent before kid services like FreeTime on Alexa can be used. Unless you have granted permission previously, you'll be asked to give permission the first time you attempt to set up FreeTime on Alexa. After you've given permission, you will receive a confirmation e-mail.

You can review or change permissions by visiting the Manage Parental Consent page on Amazon.com or by contacting Customer Service (https://www.amazon.com/contact-us).

Parents can also contact Customer Service (https://www.amazon.com/contact-us) to request deletion of any personal information collected through FreeTime on Alexa.

2. How are FreeTime on Alexa voice recordings used?

FreeTime on Alexa is developed to get better over time. Alexa uses FreeTime on Alexa voice recordings to answer your child's questions and respond to their requests. Alexa retains these voice recordings to allow parents to review and listen to the requests their children make to Alexa. FreeTime on Alexa voice recordings are also used to improve your child's experience and our Alexa and FreeTime services, for instance by training our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems so Alexa can better understand children's questions and requests.

You can delete specific voice recordings associated with your child's device by going to Settings > Alexa Account > History in the Alexa app. Or you can delete all voice recordings associated with your child's device at the Manage Your Content and Devices page.

If your child uses a third party service through FreeTime on Alexa, we will exchange related information with that third party so they may provide the service. For example, if your child interacts with a kid skill, we provide the content of your child's requests (but not the voice recordings) to the skill so the skill can respond accordingly, but we do not share your child's personal information with kid skills without your permission. We also do not sell children's personal information for advertising or other purposes.

To learn more, please visit our Children’s Privacy Disclosure.

3. Can my child use Alexa Communication while FreeTime on Alexa is enabled ?

Yes, your child will be able to make calls and send messages within the household and with contacts you select for your child in the Alexa app. Your child will also be able to Drop In on household members and devices if you enable that feature.

You may disable Alexa Calling, Messaging, and Drop In on your device when FreeTime on Alexa is enabled by going to Settings > FreeTime and then selecting your child's name in the Alexa app.

Alexa Communication FAQs

1. What is Alexa Communication?

This free feature brings the simplicity of Echo's hands-free experience, the benefit of Echo's microphone array, plus the high-quality sound of the Echo speaker, to calling and messaging. Now you can quickly call and send/receive voice messages for your family and friends via Alexa-all just by using your voice. Using your supported Echo device, simply say "Alexa, call Grandma's mobile," "Alexa, call 844-582-5392," or "Alexa, send a message to Julie."

2. What devices support Alexa Communication?

You can send and receive Alexa messages (and place and receive Alexa calls) as well as place outbound calls to most phone numbers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico (excluding 911) using a supported Echo device and the Alexa app on supported mobile phones and tablets. Alexa Communication supports receiving Alexa calls but does not support inbound calls from phone numbers. Alexa Communication may also be available on some third party Alexa-enabled products. Features may vary by device.

3. How does Alexa Messaging work?

You can use supported Echo devices and the Alexa app to send voice and text messages to another Alexa Communication user (e.g., on Echo, "Alexa, send a message to Mom," or, on the Alexa app, tapping on the Message icon on Mom's contact card). Messages are processed in the cloud to convert voice messages to text, and vice versa. When you receive a message on a supported Echo device, you will hear an audio tone and see a visual notification. You will be able to retrieve the message on your supported Echo devices by saying "Alexa, play my messages." When you receive a message, you also will receive a notification on your mobile phone or tablet, and you will be able to view and play the message in the Alexa app. Alexa messaging does not support sending or receiving text messages to or from phone numbers. For more information on sending SMS messages to phone numbers, refer to the FAQ 'What is the "Send SMS" feature?'

4. How does Alexa Calling work?

You can use supported Echo devices and the Alexa app to call another Alexa Communication user (e.g., on Echo, "Alexa, call Mom," or, on the Alexa app, tapping on the Calling icon on Mom's contact card). When you receive Alexa calls on your supported Echo devices, Alexa will tell you that you have an incoming call and identify the caller. You also will see a green light indicator on Echo devices without a screen, and an incoming call screen on Echo devices with a screen. You can say "Alexa, answer," to pick up the call. Either person can end the call by saying "Alexa, hang up." When you receive a call, you also will receive a notification on your mobile phone or tablet and will see an incoming call screen in the Alexa app that lets you answer the call.

5. Can I call phone numbers using Alexa?

Yes, you can use supported Echo devices and the Alexa app to place outbound calls to most phone numbers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for free (e.g., on Echo, "Alexa, call 844-582-5392," or "Alexa, call Mom's mobile phone.") If you are already an Alexa Communication user, no additional set up is required - you can start making calls straight away. If you are not an Alexa Communication user, you will first need to register for Alexa Communication.

On calls made using Alexa Calling, we will display the mobile phone number registered for the Alexa Communication service associated with that device as a caller ID. You can disable the caller ID feature through your contact card in the Alexa app. Note that you cannot call 911 using this feature (for more information, see the below FAQ "Can I text or call emergency services using Alexa Communication?"). For information on placing calls using Echo Connect, see the below FAQ "How does calling on Echo Connect work?"

6. Can I text or call emergency services using Alexa Communication?

No, emergency services, such as 911, are not available through Alexa Communication. You should ensure that you can contact your relevant emergency services providers through a mobile, landline telephone, or other service. For information on calling emergency services using Echo Connect, see the below FAQ "Can I call emergency services with Echo Connect?"

7. How do I add and delete contacts for Alexa Communication?

When you register for Alexa Communication on your Alexa app, you will be asked to import your contacts from your device, which will then appear as contacts in your Alexa app. When you open the Alexa app, your contacts are auto-updated from your tablet or mobile phone. You may disable contact import in the Alexa app. If contact import is disabled, contacts you previously imported from your device will be deleted.

You may also manually add contacts to your Alexa contact list in the Alexa app or at https://alexa.amazon.com. You can also delete each contact you manually added by selecting the applicable contact card.

8. Do I need to give permission for others to call or message me?

First you must register for Alexa Communication. Once you are registered, if another Alexa Communication user has your contact details, they can reach you via Alexa.

9. Who will receive my calls or messages?

If you call or message another Alexa Communication user, the call or message will go to all supported Echo devices associated with that contact, as well as that contact's Alexa app. If you want to call that same contact's mobile phone number, you can ask Alexa (e.g., "Alexa, call Jane Smith's mobile,"). If you call someone who is not an Alexa Communication user, the call will go to their phone number as it is stored in your contact book.

10. What is Do Not Disturb mode?

Do Not Disturb puts your Echo device on silent, meaning you will not receive calls or messages via Alexa. Simply say "Alexa, turn on Do Not Disturb," or you can turn it on by visiting Devices icon > Echo & Alexa > [Your Device Name] > Do Not Disturb in the Alexa app. When you're ready to receive calls and messages again, just say "Alexa, turn off Do Not Disturb."

11. How do I remove messages from my conversation list?

On the iOS version of the Alexa app, swipe a conversation to the left and click "Remove." On the Android version of the Alexa app, long press on a conversation to select it, then tap the Trash icon in the top navigation bar. Note that removing a conversation from your conversation list does not remove it from your contact's conversation list. It is not possible for you to remove sent or received messages from a contact's conversation list.

12. How do I de-register from Alexa Communication?

You can call customer service at 1-877-375-9365, and we will help you de-register from Alexa Communication.

13. What is Drop In?

The optional Drop In feature will let you easily connect with your closest friends and family on supported Echo devices. To give Drop In permission to yourself (and your household) or a contact (and that contact's household), select the applicable contact card and turn on Drop In. In addition, you can give Drop In permission to yourself (and your household) by simply saying "Alexa, Drop In on Home." To turn off Drop In for your household, you can simply say "Alexa, disable Drop In." Alternatively, you can turn on Do Not Disturb on one, or all, Echo devices by saying "Alexa, turn on Do Not Disturb." You also may disable Drop In for a specific device via the Devices icon > Echo & Alexa > [Your Device Name] > Communication in the Alexa app.

14. When someone drops in on my device, what do they hear and see?

When someone drops in on your supported Echo device, you will hear an audio tone and see a visual indicator that someone is dropping in on you. The contact on the other side of the Drop In will automatically hear audio through your device. You may end the Drop In by saying "Alexa, hang up." On Echo devices without a screen, you will see a green in-call light indicator showing that a Drop In is in progress.

If a contact with the Alexa app or an Echo device with a screen drops in on your Echo device with a screen, they will see a frosted glass view from your device's camera. The frosted glass view will automatically transition to clear video over a short period of time. You will see the contact's video (and a picture-in-picture view of your own video) when the Drop In is in progress. You can end a Drop In by tapping the End icon on the screen, or you can disable the camera while continuing an audio conversation by saying "Alexa, video off," or tapping the Video Off icon on the screen.

15. What is a recently active indicator?

If household members or contacts have been granted Drop In permission, they will see a recently active indicator on their Echo Show, Echo Spot, or Alexa app displaying whether someone is nearby your supported Echo devices. Interactions with Alexa, and motion sensors on Echo Show, will be used to determine whether your device has been recently active.

16. How do I disable Drop In?

If you have granted your household members Drop In permission, you can disable it by saying "Alexa, disable Drop In," or turning off Drop In on your own contact card. If you have granted any other contacts Drop In permission, you can disable that on their contact cards. You also may disable Drop In for a specific device via the Devices icon > Echo & Alexa > [Your Device Name] > Communications in the Alexa app.

17. What are Announcements?

The Announcements feature lets you easily make announcements to other supported Alexa-enabled devices within your household, like a one-way intercom. Simply say, "Alexa, announce that dinner's ready," and "Dinner's ready," will then be announced in your voice to all supported devices in your household. You can block Announcements on one, or all, supported devices by turning on Do Not Disturb - simply say "Alexa, turn on Do Not Disturb." Unlike Drop In, Announcements are one-way only. To respond to an Announcement, you can make a new Announcement or start a Drop In as a two-way intercom.

18. What is the "Send SMS" feature?

The optional Send SMS feature allows you to ask Alexa to send SMS messages using your mobile phone. The feature is only available for customers with Android phones. To enable the feature, select your own contact card and turn on "Send SMS."

Using your supported Echo device or the Alexa app, simply say "Alexa, send an SMS to Julie," and Alexa will send your message as an SMS to Julie's mobile phone number. You can also say, "Alexa, send a message to Julie." If Julie is an Alexa Communication user, your message will default to being sent as an Alexa message (for more information on Alexa messaging, refer to the FAQ "How does Alexa messaging work?") If not, your message will be sent as an SMS to her mobile phone number.

The message will be processed in the cloud to convert your voice message to text. The SMS will then be sent from your Android phone's default SMS app to the recipient's mobile phone. The recipient will be able to view a text transcript of your message, and will receive a link to listen to your original voice message. You can view replies to your SMS in your phone's default SMS app.

As this feature uses your existing mobile phone service to send SMS, carrier charges may apply. Please note that text-to-911, group messages, and MMS (picture and video messages) are not supported. You can disable Send SMS through your contact card in the Alexa app.

19. Can I call or message via Alexa using my existing phone service?

Yes, on certain Alexa-enabled products (like Echo Auto), Alexa connects to your phone and allows you to send and receive calls and messages via Alexa using your existing phone service and talk/text plan. When you ask Alexa to place a call or message, Alexa will use Alexa Communication to complete those requests if possible. However, if the recipient is not another Alexa Communication user, or you wish to contact a specific phone number, Alexa can use your existing phone service to place that call or message (features may vary by device and operating system). Alexa may not be able to process your request in the event of network or connectivity issues. If you are unable to place your call via Alexa, you should dial the number directly from your phone.

20. Can I link third-party communications services with Alexa Communication?

Yes, you can link select third-party communications services with Alexa Communication. Simply go to “Communications” within Settings in the Alexa app. Amazon may import and save your contacts from your third-party communications service in the cloud to help you connect with your friends and family. Some features may not be available via Alexa, and charges from the third-party communications service may apply for use of some features. You should check any terms applicable to the third-party communications service (including whether emergency services are available) prior to linking your account with Alexa.

Alexa-Enabled Echo Device FAQs

Alexa-Enabled Echo devices, like Echo, Echo Show, and Echo Auto, are hands-free Alexa-enabled devices. For more information on Echo Look, see the Echo Look FAQs. For information on Echo Connect, see the Echo Connect FAQs.

1. How do Echo devices recognize the wake word?

Echo devices are designed to detect only your chosen wake word (Alexa, Amazon, Computer, or Echo). The device detects the wake word by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word. Once the word is detected, audio begins streaming to the cloud, including a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word. No audio is stored or sent to the cloud unless the device detects the wake word (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button).

2. How do I know when Echo devices are streaming audio to the cloud?

When Echo devices detect the wake word or when the Action button available on some Echo devices is pressed to activate Alexa, a visual indicator appears on the device to indicate that the device is recording your request to stream to the cloud. For instance, a light ring on the Echo will turn blue or a blue bar will appear on Echo Show. When you use the wake word, the audio stream includes a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word, and closes once your request has been processed. You can turn on Follow-Up Mode to enable Alexa to respond to a series of requests without repeating the wake word. Learn more. You can also configure Echo devices to play a short audible tone any time audio is sent to the cloud within Settings in the Alexa app. Certain Echo devices, like Echo Input, have the short audible tone turned on by default.

3. Can I turn off the microphones on Echo devices?

Yes. Echo devices are equipped with a Microphone Off button. When the button is pressed, the power to the microphones is disconnected and a dedicated red light is illuminated. When the microphones are turned off, your device cannot record and stream audio to the cloud.

4. How do Echo devices with a screen know to turn on the screen?

Echo devices with a screen will turn on the screen when they detect the wake word or motion in view of the camera or when you interact with the devices' display or buttons.

5. How do I know when Echo devices with a camera are streaming images or video to the cloud?

There will be an on-screen indicator whenever Echo devices with a camera are streaming images or video to the cloud. For instance, if a video call is active, the device's screen will display a picture-in-picture view of the video being streamed to the cloud or will display a green "call in progress" bar at the bottom of the screen.

6. Can I turn off the camera on Echo devices with a camera?

Yes. You can turn off the camera on Echo devices with a camera by pushing the Microphone/Camera Off button on your device. When the Microphone/Camera Off button is pressed, the power to the camera and the microphones is disconnected and a dedicated red light is illuminated. When the camera is turned off, the device will not detect motion in view of the camera and you will not be able to use any features that rely on the camera such as video calling.

Amazon Echo Look FAQs

Amazon Echo Look is a hands-free camera and style assistant.

1. Do I need the Alexa app to use Echo Look?

No. Only the Echo Look app is required to use your Echo Look, but you must use the Alexa app or visit https://alexa.amazon.com to view product and order details for voice purchases, or to change certain Alexa settings such as requiring a speakable confirmation code for voice purchases or turning off voice purchasing.

2. How do I know when the Echo Look camera is capturing photos or video?

When you take a photo or video, the light ring on your device visually counts down and audio cues indicate a photo or video will be taken. During the photo or video capture, the light ring turns white and the flash will activate. At the end of a video, there is an additional audio cue. When you activate live preview, the light ring turns white and audio cues indicate the beginning and end of a live preview. You can adjust the volume of the device's audio (including audio cues) within the Device settings in the Echo Look app (Settings > Device). After you take the photo or video, your device sends it to the cloud.

3. Can I turn off the microphone and camera on Echo Look?

The camera is always off except when you activate it by asking Alexa or using the Echo Look app to take a photo, video, or use live preview. You can turn off the microphone and disable taking photos and video by pushing the button on the side of your device. When the light ring on your device turns red and a red Ø appears below the light ring, the device will not respond to the wake word and you won't be able to take photos or video using the Echo Look app until you push the button on the side of your device again.

4. How do I delete photos or video?

You can delete specific Echo Look photos or video associated with your account by using the Echo Look app to browse to the photo or video, and then tapping the Delete button. Or, you can delete all Echo Look photos and video associated with your account by going to Device settings in the Echo Look app (Settings > Device) and selecting "Delete all photos and video."

5. What's the benefit of sharing my photos with Amazon fashion specialists?

Echo Look's fashion recommendations combine machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists. Our fashion specialists come from varied backgrounds in the fashion, retail, editorial, styling and creative fields. They have honed their expertise through ongoing training focusing on personal style, seasonal trends and more. Being able to see your photos allows our fashion specialists to give you style advice that takes into account your wardrobe and personal attributes. However, no one can see your photos unless you give us permission to do so, either by submitting photos to Style Check or sharing your photos with Amazon fashion specialists to receive personalized style suggestions. Sharing your photos allows you to experience all that Echo Look has to offer.

6. What happens when I share my photos?

When you share your photos with Amazon fashion specialists, we'll use them to make style suggestions and to improve Amazon services. Once you've chosen to share your photos, you will also be eligible to receive new style assistance features that we develop in the future.

7. How do recommendations work?

We'll use your photos to recommend new pieces that will pair well with the tops and bottom you wore (we call these "Pairing Ideas"). In order to receive recommendations, your photo must be taken with your Echo Look device and contain a visible outfit with a top and bottom (we can't currently provide pairing recommendations for dresses). You can receive suggestions on up to one qualifying Look per day. Within a day after you take a qualifying photo you'll receive your recommendations in the home screen of your Echo Look app and the "Details" view of the Look.

8. If I choose to share my photos with fashion specialists, can I exclude some photos?

Yes. When you enable sharing of your photos with fashion specialists, we will wait one hour before making the photos available to fashion specialists in case you want to exclude any photos. There are two ways to do this. 1) From the Looks tab, tap "Select" or the plus-sign icon in the upper right-hand corner. You'll see a menu option to "Exclude from style suggestions." 2) You can exclude individual photos by tapping on any Look from the Looks tab and tapping "Details." From there, you'll see an on/off toggle with the label "Use for style suggestions." When you take a new photo, you'll have 15 minutes to exclude it before it may be used for style suggestions.

9. What if I change my mind after choosing to share my photos?

Use the instructions in FAQ 8 to change the setting for any particular photo whenever you want. You can also turn off sharing for all photos at any time on the Settings screen of your Echo Look app. When you do so, no one will be able to view your photos unless you choose to submit them to Style Check. It can take about an hour for this change to take effect.

Echo Connect FAQs

Echo Connect is an accessory that transforms any supported Echo device into a hands-free speaker phone for your home phone line.

1. What do I need in order to use Echo Connect?

You need a home phone service (such as a landline or VoIP service), Wi-Fi, and a supported Echo device. One Echo Connect can support only one phone line, and only one Echo Connect can be registered per Amazon account.

2. How does calling on Echo Connect work?

Echo Connect extends and is not a replacement for your traditional telephone service. Plug Echo Connect into your home phone jack or VoIP adapter. You will also need to setup your supported Echo device. Then visit https://alexa.amazon.com, or register for Alexa Communication in the Alexa app in order to complete set up of your Echo Connect.

With Echo Connect, you can ask Alexa to make calls using your home phone service to your contacts or to other numbers supported by your home phone service provider (e.g. "Alexa, call Mom," or "Alexa, call 844-582-5392.") Echo Connect will display your home phone number as caller ID, unless you disable caller ID with your home phone service provider.

You can also use your supported Echo devices to answer incoming calls to your home phone service (e.g. "Alexa, answer the phone.") As Echo Connect uses your existing home phone service to make and receive calls, home phone service provider charges may apply. Some calling features you may use on your home phone (such as call waiting and three-way calling) are not available through Echo Connect.

3. What's the difference between Alexa Calling and Echo Connect?

By default, Echo Connect will use your home phone service to make and receive your calls. However, you can choose whether you prefer to place outbound calls to most numbers in the US, Canada and Mexico through either Echo Connect using your home phone service, or Alexa Calling. Simply go to Settings, select Echo Connect, and select ‘Outbound Calls’.

If you select Alexa Calling, calls to most mobile and landline numbers in the US, Canada and Mexico will be placed for free using the Alexa Calling service. Calls not supported by Alexa Calling, including 911 and emergency numbers, premium numbers, and international numbers outside the US, Canada and Mexico, will automatically be placed through Echo Connect using your home phone service. The mobile number used to register for Alexa Communication will be displayed as a caller ID for outbound calls made using Alexa Calling. You can disable the caller ID feature through your contact card in the Alexa app. Alexa Calling uses your Echo device's internet connection to place calls. For more information on Alexa Calling, see the above Alexa Communication FAQs.

If you select Echo Connect, your home phone service will be used to place all calls and your home phone number will be displayed as caller ID. By default, Alexa will dial all US numbers with a 1 and an area code (e.g. 1-844-582-5392) to ensure calls connect. This dialing format may result in some home phone service providers charging long distance call rates for local calls. To instead not add a 1 prior to the area code, go to Settings, select Echo Connect, and toggle "Dial 1 for Local Calls.' If you aren't sure which dialing format applies to you, you should check with your home phone service provider, or select "Alexa Calling" to make calls to US numbers.

4. I have an Echo Connect but also use Alexa Calling. How will my call to an Alexa contact be processed?

If you want to call another Alexa Communication user, there are a few different ways your call may be processed.

If you specify just the name of the person you would like to call (e.g. "Alexa, call Mom."), Alexa will default to placing the call through Alexa Calling to mom's supported Echo devices or the Alexa app.

If you specify the name of the person and their phone type (e.g. "Alexa, call Mom's mobile.") then, depending on what you have selected as your outbound calling preference, Alexa will place the call to mom's mobile using either your home phone service through your Echo Connect, or Alexa Calling. For more information, see the above FAQ "What's the difference between Alexa Calling and Echo Connect."

5. Can I call emergency services with Echo Connect?

Yes, calling emergency services through Echo Connect works just like dialing any other phone number. Simply say, "Alexa, call 911." Please note that if Echo Connect is used to call emergency numbers like 911, the location information given to the emergency service, if any, may be the address associated with the phone line connected to your Echo Connect, which may not be the same as the location of your Echo device from which you are making the call. Echo Connect will not function in the event of a power or broadband outage or other connectivity issues. If you are unable to place your call through your Echo Connect, you should use your mobile, landline telephone, or other telephone service.

Alexa on Fire Tablets FAQs

Certain Fire tablets support always-ready Alexa hands-free when the screen is on and/or when the tablet is connected to power, or Show Mode, an immersive Alexa experience that provides full-screen visual responses to voice commands. Learn more about how to access Alexa on your Fire tablet.

1. How do I activate Alexa hands-free on my Fire tablet?

You can turn on Alexa hands-free in your device settings (Settings > Alexa) by ensuring that both Alexa and Hands-Free Mode settings are enabled. To enter Show Mode, swipe down from the Quick Actions menu and toggle Show Mode, or ask Alexa to "Switch to Show Mode."

2. How does Alexa hands-free on my Fire tablet recognize the wake word?

Alexa on your Fire tablet uses on-device keyword spotting to detect the wake word, even when your device is in standby mode. (Certain Fire tablets may not detect the wake word when the screen is off, if the tablet is not connected to power. Learn more.) When the wake word is detected, Alexa on your Fire tablet streams audio to the cloud, including a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word.

3. How do I know when Alexa on my Fire tablet is streaming my voice to the cloud?

When Alexa on your Fire tablet detects the wake word, or when you press and hold the Home button to access Alexa, a blue line appears at the bottom of your screen to indicate that Alexa is streaming audio to the cloud. When you use the wake word, the audio stream includes a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word, and closes once your question or request has been processed. You will also hear a short audible tone that plays after the wake word is recognized, to indicate that the device is streaming audio, and at the end of your request, to indicate that the connection has closed and the device is no longer streaming audio.

4. How does Alexa hands-free on my Fire tablet work when I lock my tablet with a passcode?

When Alexa hands-free is activated and your tablet is passcode-locked, you can access certain Alexa features using the wake word. You'll be required to enter your passcode to access other Alexa features. If you prefer to no longer be asked to enter your passcode to access Alexa features, you can designate a Wi-Fi network as a Trusted Network in device settings (Settings > Alexa > Trusted Networks) and connect your Fire tablet to a Trusted Network. As a security precaution, if your tablet is passcode-locked, you may be prompted to enter your passcode to exit Show Mode - even if you're connected to a Trusted Network.

5. How does Alexa know to turn on the screen when my Fire tablet is in Show Mode?

When in Show Mode, your tablet will turn on the screen when it detects the wake word or motion in view of the camera or when you interact with the devices' display or buttons.

6. How do I know when Alexa on my Fire tablet is streaming images or video to the cloud?

There will be an on-screen indicator whenever Alexa is streaming images or video to the cloud. For instance, if a video call is active, the device's screen will display a picture-in-picture view of the video being streamed to the cloud.

7. How can I turn off Alexa hands-free?

You can turn off Alexa hands-free a few different ways: by swiping down from the Quick Actions menu and selecting the Alexa Microphone/Camera On/Off icon (in Show Mode) or the Alexa Hands Free icon (outside Show Mode), by simultaneously pressing and holding the device's Volume Up and Down buttons for three seconds, or through your device settings (Settings > Alexa > Hands-Free Mode). When in Show Mode, a red bar and icon will appear to let you know that Alexa hands-free on your Fire tablet is turned off; outside of Show Mode, an icon will appear in your status bar. Your Fire tablet will not respond to the wake word - or, in Show Mode, detect motion in view of the camera - until you turn Alexa hands-free back on. If you turn off Alexa hands-free, you will still be able to access Alexa when your tablet is not in Show Mode by pressing and holding the Home button.

Amazon Tap FAQs

Amazon Tap is an Alexa-enabled portable speaker that includes an optional hands-free mode.

1. How do I activate hands-free mode on my Amazon Tap?

You can turn hands-free mode on or off in the device settings within your Alexa app (Devices icon > [Your Device Name] > Hands Free).

2. How does Amazon Tap recognize the wake word while in hands-free mode?

Amazon Tap uses on-device keyword spotting to detect the wake word. When the wake word is detected, Amazon Tap streams audio to the cloud, including a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word. You can turn on Follow-Up Mode to enable Alexa to respond to a series of requests without repeating the wake word. Learn more.

3. How do I know when Amazon Tap is streaming my voice to the cloud?

When Amazon Tap detects the wake word in hands-free mode or when you tap the Microphone (Talk) button, the lights on the front of your Amazon Tap turn blue to indicate that Amazon Tap is streaming audio to the cloud. When you use the wake word while in hands-free mode, the audio stream includes a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word, and closes once your question or request has been processed. You will also hear a short audible tone that plays after the wake word is recognized, to indicate that the device is streaming audio, and at the end of your request, to indicate that the connection has closed and the device is no longer streaming audio.

4. Can I turn off the microphone on Amazon Tap while in hands-free mode?

Yes, you can turn Amazon Tap's microphone off by pushing the Play/Pause button on the top of your device for three seconds. When the lights on the front of your Amazon Tap turn red, the microphone is off. The device will not respond to the wake word until you reactivate the microphone by pushing the Play/Pause button again for three seconds. When the microphone is off, Amazon Tap will still respond to requests you make by tapping the Microphone (Talk) button. After five minutes of inactivity with the microphone off, your device will enter sleep mode to conserve power.

Alexa on Amazon Fire TV FAQs

Alexa is available on all current generation Fire TV streaming media players and Fire TV Edition televisions in the US. Fire TV Cube is a far-field Alexa-enabled streaming media player. Other Fire TV streaming media players and Fire TV Edition televisions are Alexa-enabled devices on which you can access Alexa by pressing the Microphone button on your Alexa Voice Remote. Alexa is not available on Fire TV Recast, but Fire TV Recast can be controlled with Alexa on Fire TV streaming media players and Echo Show devices.

1. How do I use Alexa on Fire TV streaming media players or Fire TV Edition televisions?

To use Alexa on your Fire TV Cube, you may say the wake word to activate Alexa in hands-free mode, or you may use the voice remote or the Fire TV App.

To use Alexa on another Fire TV streaming media player or a Fire TV Edition television, you may use the voice remote or the Fire TV App, or you may pair your Fire TV streaming media player or Fire TV Edition television with a compatible Alexa-enabled device.

You can use Alexa on Fire TV streaming media player or Fire TV Edition televisions to search using your voice. Voice search is faster and less frustrating than typing on a traditional alphabet grid. To use voice search, say the wake word, or press and hold the Microphone button on your voice remote or Fire TV App, and say the movie, TV title, actor, genre, or director that you want. If you’re using the voice remote, release the Microphone button when you're done speaking.

2. How does Fire TV Cube recognize the wake word?

Fire TV Cube uses on-device keyword spotting to detect the wake word. When it detects the wake word, it streams audio to the cloud, including a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word.

3. How do I know when my Fire TV streaming media player or Fire TV Edition television is streaming my voice to the cloud?

When you press the Microphone button on the voice remote, a blue light bar appears on the Fire TV interface to indicate that the device is streaming audio to the cloud.

In addition, when Fire TV Cube detects the wake word, or when you press the Action button on top of the device, the light bar on the front of your device turns blue to indicate that the device is streaming audio to the cloud. When you use the wake word, the audio stream includes a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word, and closes once your question or request has been processed. You can turn on Follow-Up Mode to enable Alexa to respond to a series of requests without repeating the wake word. Learn more.

Within Sounds settings in the Alexa app (Devices icon > [Your Device Name] > Sounds), you can enable a 'start of request sound,' a short audible tone that plays after the wake word is recognized to indicate that the device is streaming audio. You can also enable an 'end of request sound' that will play a short audible tone at the end of your request, to indicate that the connection has closed and the device is no longer streaming audio.

4. Can I turn off the microphone on Fire TV Cube?

Yes, you can turn off the microphone of Fire TV Cube by pushing the Microphone On/Off button on the top of your device. When the Microphone On/Off button turns red, the microphone is off. The device will not respond to the wake word, nor respond to the Action button, until you reactivate the microphone by pushing the Microphone On/Off button again. Even when the device's microphone is off, Fire TV Cube will still respond to requests you make through your voice remote.

5. Can I use Alexa on my Fire TV Cube if my television is off?

Yes, Alexa will respond to requests even when your television is off. Depending on your request, Alexa may turn on your television to fulfill your request (for example, “Launch Netflix,” or “Find comedies.”)

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