Technology · June 21, 2022

Five clever ways to use your Echo and Alexa that you wish you knew sooner

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When I’m cooking, it’s easy to say, “Alexa, remind me the cauliflower pizza will be ready in 15 minutes.” It’s one of the most useful and basic ways to use Amazon’s smart assistant.

The downside is that it can record conversations we’d rather not have. Tap or click for Steps to listen and delete bad recordings. I do this regularly.

This isn’t the only important privacy step to take if you have an Echo or more in your home. Tap or click here to Make sure your smart speakers are properly locked in place.

Now let’s move on to five smart ways Alexa can improve your life.

1. Get notified when glass breaks or an alarm goes off

Alexa Guard is like a pair of ears you leave at home. Your Echo device is listening for broken glass, smoke alarms, or carbon monoxide alarms. You will receive a notification on your phone when these sounds are detected.

Alexa Guard can also automatically turn on and off any connected smart lights to make it seem like you’re home. Practically!

How to set it up:

  • Open the Alexa app and tap blackberries icon at bottom right, then settings.
  • Beat Guard > Set up tone detection.
  • Toggle the notifications you want to turn on and tap Confirm.

To activate Alexa Guard, put it in Away mode by saying “Alexa, I’m leaving.” Turn it off when you get home by saying: “I’m at home.”

pipe down! This Alexa trick solves one of the Echo’s most annoying problems.

Amazon Alexa smart assistant device connected on table at home, defocused living room in background, no people

Amazon Alexa smart assistant device connected on table at home, defocused living room in background, no people
(iStock)

2. Stop by your home when you’re not there

The built-in screen gives you another helpful security feature when you have an Echo Show. You can turn on the camera from anywhere to make sure everything is fine at home.

Drop In lets you drop in on your speaker or a friend or family member with authorized access. It’s a great way to say hello without picking up the phone.

To enable drop in:

  • open that Alexa app. Beat Devices.
  • Choose Echo and Alexathen select the device you want to use.
  • Tap the Settings icon in the top right corner (it looks like a gear), then select communication.
  • Tap the Switch to enable Drop In and other communications.
  • Beat Come round to determine who can come by. You can select “My Household” to limit this to only devices on your account.

Now you can use the Alexa app to open your own Echo devices. In the app, tap Communicate at the bottom of the screen, then Come round. Select the desired device from the list.

MORE ECHO USES: “Alexa, I want to speak to a doctor” – How to use your Echo to get medical help

The Amazon Echo, a voice-controlled virtual assistant, is seen at its UK and Germany launch September 14, 2016 in London, Britain.  (REUTERS / Peter Hobson)

The Amazon Echo, a voice-controlled virtual assistant, is seen at its UK and Germany launch September 14, 2016 in London, Britain. (REUTERS / Peter Hobson)
(REUTERS / Peter Hobson)

3. Check in with elderly relatives

I get questions too my national radio show about how best to keep in touch with distant relatives or aging relatives.

Amazon’s Alexa together Service is something I often recommend. First the caveat: It costs $19.99 per month or $199 for a year. If you can stomach the price, it has some knockout features:

  • Custom Notifications: Get a notification when your loved ones use Alexa for the first time throughout the day. It also lets you know if Alexa hasn’t been used by a set time. It’s like an automated wellness check.
  • Urgent answer: If something goes wrong, the 24/7 urgency feature allows your loved one to contact trained professionals hands-free for assistance.
  • Remote Support: You can set up music services, manage shopping lists or set reminders for your loved ones from anywhere.
  • Fall detection: When a compatible device detects a fall, Alexa calls Urgent Response and notifies emergency contacts.

You can use this link for a six-month free trial. You’ll also need two Amazon accounts (one for you and one for your loved one) and an Echo device at the home of the person you care for.

Doctor carrying elderly patient in wheelchair

Doctor carrying elderly patient in wheelchair
(iStock)

4. Make sure the doors are locked

It’s late and you finally crawl into bed. You drift off when you realize, “Oh no, I don’t remember locking the doors.” Instead of having to get up, ask Alexa or pull out your phone.

Of course, you can only do this if you have smart locks. Tap or click here for Solid smart lock options starting under $100.

In most cases, you’ll need to add the Alexa skill created by your smart lock manufacturer. Once you’ve done that, it’s as simple as saying something like “Alexa, close the front door.”

5. Find your phone

Misplaced your phone? Normally you would ask someone to call your number so you can find it. What if you are alone and don’t have access to another phone? Alexa can help.

  • open that Alexa app and tap the Another iconthen Skills & Games.
  • Search for find my phone and choose from the list of skills.
  • Then tap on the skill begin to set it up.

Alexa isn’t the only way to find a lost phone. How to find your phone if it is lost – even if the battery is dead.

Istanbul, Turkey - February 2, 2019: Woman using smartphone on a wooden desk.  The smartphone is an iPhone 8. The iPhone is a touchscreen smartphone developed by Apple Inc.

Istanbul, Turkey – February 2, 2019: Woman using smartphone on a wooden desk. The smartphone is an iPhone 8. The iPhone is a touchscreen smartphone developed by Apple Inc.
(iStock)

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