Features you might not have discovered yet on Amazon Echo

Alexa has a number of useful features on Amazon Echo smart speakers. We are enlightening it to you. Read below to discover-

Alexa can connect to your phone with just at your command

Amazon Echo speakers and displays all work with Bluetooth. So you can easily connect your iPhone to wirelessly play audio at a louder volume.

The easiest way to set this up is to simply say ‘Alexa, connect to my phone’ and follow the audio instructions. Alexa will walk you through pairing your iPhone to your Echo, then connecting is as easy as a voice command in the future.

Alexa can wake you up to my Favorites Mix

Alexa now works with Apple Music, and Echo supports a handful of useful music features that Siri and HomePod still need. For example, you can set alarms using content from Apple Music as the alarm tone.

First, set up Apple Music in the Alexa app, then set it as your default music service for your library and stations. This tells Alexa to use Apple Music by default without needing to say ‘on Apple Music’ each time even if you have Pandora Radio or Spotify Premium connected too.

Then say something like ‘Alexa, wake me up to my Favorites Mix at 6 a.m.’ and your Echo will set the alarm using your personal playlist generated by Apple Music!

Alexa Routines

Apple Music integration also works with Routines, a feature that lets you combine multiple actions to a single trigger like a voice command or change in the condition like the location.

Amazon recommends two pre-configured Routines: ‘Alexa, start my day’ and ‘Alexa, goodnight’. ‘Start my day’ can give you a weather and traffic report, read events on your calendar, and — with a little configuration — control smart home devices and play audio from Apple Music.

Alexa do play rain sounds

Alexa can play lots of audio sources — without using a music service — including nature sounds. ‘Alexa, play rain sounds’ is one of the favorite bedtime commands. Alexa plays ambient rain sounds for one hour, then returns to quiet. Alexa supports lots of other nature sounds through skills that you can request with voice or discover in the Alexa app.

If you subscribe to a music service like Apple Music, you can ask Alexa to play rain sounds or other ambient noises from Apple Music too. This won’t automatically timeout after one hour which can be a plus or minus depending on your use, and it also supports speaker groups.

Alexa can play [local radio]

Connecting a music streaming service like Apple Music to Alexa lets you stream music libraries and playlist “stations” on Echo speakers, but there are lots of radio stations that are available online and not on Apple Music.

TuneIn works with Alexa and streams a lot of radio stations from around the country so you can likely play your local radio station through Echo speakers.

Alexa can answer your queries on Bollywood and Hollywood movies too

This one is simple. Alexa is just better tuned to handle trivia than Siri on HomePod which has a bias for providing music.

While watching the new Mission Impossible movie on my Apple TV 4K on New Year’s Day, I asked Siri on the HomePod who played Superman in the newest movie to remember how to pronounce Henry Cavill’s last name. HomePod played a Superman-themed song from Apple Music, and Alexa said, Henry Cavill.

Alexa, what’s up?

Trivia isn’t the only place where Alexa can be more useful than Siri. Say ‘Alexa, what’s up’ and Alexa will tell you something new like a news headline or celebrity birthdays. Ask Siri the same thing and you’ll get a cute preconfigured response. You can ask Siri for news and play audio updates from select news providers, but Alexa’s default response to the basic and common ‘what’s up?’ the question can be more preferable.

Alexa calling and announcements

Echo speakers support audio calling and Echo displays add video calling. Out of the box, you can voice call and video call anyone with an Echo speaker or the Alexa app, or you can connect another calling service like Skype as an option.

My five-year-old daughter loves to call me from the closest Echo speaker when she needs something, and the call rings through the Alexa app on my iPhone and iPad just like a regular phone call thanks to Apple’s CallKit feature.

You can also create announcements from one Echo speaker that play on every Echo speaker in your house. Simply say ‘Alexa, announce that dinner is ready’ and each Echo will ring a bell and play your recorded message.

Visual timers

Alexa can set timers on Echo speakers and displays and popularized the concept of multiple named timers on voice assistants, something HomePod gained a few months after launch.

You can check the progress of any timer by asking and Echo displays can show timer progress when asked, but the new $29 Echo Wall Clock (reviewed) is the best way to have a visual timer — especially on Echo speakers without screens.

Headlines, sports, and stocks

Have an Echo display like the Echo Spot? You can view news headlines, sports scores for your favorite teams, and stocks information automatically without requesting updates. Personalize which information cards appear on-screen and tell Amazon which teams to follow for best results.

Notifications

Echo speakers and displays can give you alerts for things like package deliveries for orders from Amazon — especially useful if you use voice control to order products from Amazon using Alexa.

Echo speakers can light up with a colored ring to notify you, and Echo screens can show an icon to suggest notifications. Say something like ‘Alexa, what’d I miss’ or ‘Alexa, read my notifications’ to hear your alerts.

Audio controls

Amazon’s latest Echo speakers support adjusting sound through audio controls in the Alexa app. This lets you tweak the bass, middle, and treble levels for each Echo speaker — something HomePod customers would like.

Alexa also works with smart home control, but I much prefer HomeKit and Siri for managing the experience. You can set up smart home control with both Alexa and HomeKit for many products, but it often involves repeating many of the same configuration steps with naming bulbs and creating groups.

 



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