One of the easiest ways to start building a smart home is to purchase a product from the Amazon Echo line. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they’re all relatively affordable, easy to use, and sync up nicely with other smart home devices you might add to your setup in the future. Here’s a closer look at how to set up an Amazon Echo, along with some optional steps to make your experience more enjoyable.
Comprised of the standard Echo speaker, Echo Dot, Echo Studio, and several other display iterations, Amazon’s Echo family is powered by Amazon’s all-knowing voice assistant, Alexa. If you’ve just bought your first Echo product, or would like a reminder of some of the basics, we’ve put together this helpful guide to getting your new Echo up and running. Let’s dive in.
Qualification: If you want to learn more about individual Echo products, check out our Echo 4th Gen (Standard) and Echo Dot reviews. You can also read our review of the Echo Show 5, 8, and 10.
Download the Amazon Alexa app
The free Alexa app is a must if you own a amazon echo or echo point. Download the app on any smartphone or tablet running iOS 11.0 or higher, Android 6.0 or higher, or Fire OS 5.3.3 or higher. Downloading the app on a computer? Make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi, then visit the Amazon Alexa website.
connect the echo
This is probably the easiest step in the entire process, as the Echo doesn’t require batteries. Just plug the included power adapter directly into the Echo, then plug the plug into a power outlet. When the light ring turns blue, that means the power is connected. Then wait for it to turn orange, as this is a sign that Alexa is getting ready to greet you. After that, you will hear Alexa’s voice telling you that the device is ready to be set up.
Connect the Echo to Wi-Fi via the app
Next, you’ll need to connect your Echo device to your home wifi network The latest versions of the Echo should guide you through this process. However, if you get stuck, just open the Alexa app and search through the available networks until you find yours. If you have multiple Echo devices, go to the devices tab, then click the icon to echo and alexa in the top carousel and select your Alexa-enabled device. Under the Wireless heading, you should be able to see the status of your Wi-Fi network connection.
Once you’re connected, you have the option to save your Wi-Fi password to your Amazon account, making it easy to connect to smart home devices. You can also set up a new Alexa device on the same network if you decide to buy more Echo speakers for other rooms. You also have the option to connect your Echo to a public network, although the password will not be saved by Amazon.
During setup and when you use certain apps and features, Alexa will use your location to provide relevant local data, including weather, news, and time. If you move or want information from another region, you can change the location of your Echo device at any time right in the Alexa app. To do so, launch the app, then tap devices. Tap echo and alexa, then touch the device you want to change. Tap device locationthen play Save. To test, go ahead and ask Alexa what the weather is like. The wizard should respond with a local forecast for the address you entered.
Start talking to Alexa
To get started, say the wake word, which is “Alexa” by default. If there is already someone named Alexa, Alexis or similar in the house, you can change the wake word to something else. Just tell Echo: “Alexa, change the wake word.”
You can also change the wake word manually by opening the Alexa app and tapping Help & Feedback > Change the wake word. Currently, you can change the Echo to respond to “Echo,” “Amazon,” “Computer,” or “Ziggy.” Now, Amazon even lets you choose between male and female voices for Alexa.
Start using your Echo
Congratulations, your Amazon Echo is set up and ready to go! To make sure everything works correctly, you can perform a simple test by trying a few basic commands. For example, say “Hello” and the wake word. If your Echo is set up correctly, Alexa should respond with a simple “Hello” in return. In the Alexa app menu, you will see two sections called skills and games other things to try. Both are great ways to learn about Alexa’s capabilities.
Skills can help you customize Alexa by giving her certain abilities; think of them as widgets from many different creators that you can use for entertainment, organization, news, and much more.
You can start using your Echo device for a variety of tasks. You can make to-do lists, check the weather, check traffic conditions, call your friends, text your family, or Stream podcasts with simple voice commands. You also have the option to expand your digital network by connecting smart home devices. Everything from color-changing light bulbs to home security cameras can communicate with your Echo. Alexa has thousands of essential and not-so-essential skills that you can add too. Check out some of the more useful things the Amazon Echo device can help you do.
(Optional) Connect smart home devices or an external speaker
Open your Alexa app and navigate to the menu on your tablet or phone. Select the devices option. We found that Alexa usually allows an ad to appear at this point, but you can tap on it to close it. Select + located in the upper right corner of the app, then tap add device. After this, you can select the device you want to join from the list. If you can’t find the right one, you’ll want to click on Other.
At this point, Alexa can connect with any smart device that is nearby. You can create more high level Scenes where multiple devices interact simultaneously or arrange your accessories in Groups. We encourage you to look See our Routines post for more details and helpful tips and tricks on how to set up these interactions. Setup apps for many smart home products will have access options to set up your new device through the Alexa app.
We think it’s worth considering connecting an external speaker to your Echo device if you want to ensure you get a high-quality listening experience when you’re enjoying an all-out jam session with your favorite songs or listening to audiobooks. To do so, we suggest pairing a Bluetooth speaker with your Echo for expanded audio. Remember that your Echo can only connect to one Bluetooth device at a time.
If you already have a Bluetooth device paired with your Echo, you’ll need to disconnect it first. Only then can you start going through the entire setup process with the new accessory. However, some other smart home devices can’t connect via Bluetooth, so they stay connected. One example is your home security camera, which uses your Wi-Fi connection to communicate with your Echo device.
Also, keep in mind that most Amazon Echo devices now support Matter, allowing you to connect to other Matter-enabled devices that don’t normally work with Amazon products. To do this, simply open your Alexa app and navigate to the devices menu. Then select add a devicescroll down to Otherand select affair. You will then be prompted to scan a QR code on your Matter device to complete the process.
(Optional) Set up groups for Alexa
In the Alexa app, there’s a great way to separate your Echo speaker(s) and other smart home hardware based on the rooms in your home where these devices are located. It’s a feature called Smart Home Grouping and it lets you control multiple things at once with just a voice command or app. This is especially useful for devices like smart lights, where instead of having to tell Alexa to manually change each bulb, the assistant will apply on/off commands to all the lights in a single room.
To start a new group, go to the Alexa app and tap devices. then touch + > Add group. From here you can touch Create a room or device group. If you want to merge one or more pre-existing groups, you can also choose Combine Rooms or Groups. You’ll then be prompted to choose Alexa’s default names for parts of your home, or you can create your own custom name for the group. Then select the devices to be added to each group. When you’re done, tap Save.
To test your new group, give the Echo speaker in the room a simple on/off command for the various smart devices you’ve assigned to the room. If everything turns on/off correctly, your clustering was successful.
(Optional) Set up music streaming with Alexa
One of our favorite features of the Echo speaker is that you can use the hub to Stream all your favorite music and audio services. By default, when you first ask Alexa to play music, the assistant will try to pull tracks from Amazon Music. If you want to pair your Echo speaker with another music service, you can do so through the Alexa app.
Launch the app, then tap Further. then touch Settings > Music and podcasts > Link new service. Select the service you want to add and follow the instructions in the app to merge it with Alexa. From the Music and podcasts screen, you can also change the default music service. So you can ask Alexa to play a song or artist without designating which music service you want to use to play the music.