So you got a new Echo—what next?
When it comes to new technology, sometimes the idea of getting started is harder than actually doing it. And that’s certainly the case for a lot of people trying Alexa for the first time!
Here is a step-by-step guide to starting up your Echo Dot
When you get your Echo, open the box; all you’ll find inside are the speaker, a power cord, and an instruction booklet in English, Spanish and French. (See, it’s already easy!) Have your Amazon account info and your Wifi password nearby as you get started.
- Plug in your Echo with the power cord. A blue light will come on underneath, and in a few minutes, music will chime and Alexa will say “hello.” (If you have the Echo Dot with clock, on the clock side, a light display will spell out hello, hola, bonjour.)
Pro Tip: Alexa is loud, so you may want to lower the volume right away. The volume controls are on top: + for louder, – for quieter. There’s also a diagram explaining the buttons on page 1 of the booklet.
- Download the Alexa app to your phone and open it. The first thing it will ask is to use Bluetooth, which is how it connects with the Amazon app on your phone. Tap OK.
- Next, sign into your Amazon account, agreeing to privacy notice and conditions of use. Amazon will send an approval email to the address on your account. Go to your email, open it, click Approve, and Continue.
- The app will ask if you want to set up a device—in this case, your new Dot. Hit Continue. Then you’ll be asked to select the correct Wifi account, and enter the password. Check “Save Password to Amazon” and “Allow Eligible Devices to Use,” then hit Connect. You’ll know it worked when music plays and Alexa tells you it’s connected. Hit continue on the App. A diagram will show up on the up on the app, showing the Timer Indicator and Alarm Indicators for the clock, and how to hit snooze. Press Continue.
- The app will ask you to choose which room you plan to use the device. For an Echo Dot, Bedroom is a great choice (it’s been my alarm clock for years!). You can always move it later in Settings. Next, personalize it by saying who you are: I’m [your name], I’m Someone Else, or I’m Kids. If this is your first Echo and you are the primary user, use your name, then press Continue.
- Choose if you want to allow Alexa to connect to your phone’s contacts. You’ll need to say yes if you plan on making phone calls from it (a key feature). You’ll also be asked whether to allow the Alexa app to send your phone notifications when you get new messages, announcements and alerts. I recommend OK’ing the terms for Contacts and Notifications. (You can always change them later in Settings.)
- Verify your phone number, then hit Continue. They will text you a verification code, which you input to move on to the next step.
- Now it’s time to teach Alexa to recognize your voice, so she can call you by name. The app will ask for access to your phone’s microphone; press OK. Then she will ask you to repeat a few sentences like “Alexa, what’s the temperature outside?” and “Alexa, add milk to my shopping list.” When your voice profile is created, hit Next.
- In the last step, the app will ask you to confirm your address, which is linked to your Amazon account. This will allow Alexa to give you things like local weather, traffic and news updates. If you don’t live at the address on your Amazon account, enter the address where you spend the most time and will be using the Echo Dot. You can also name the address: Home, Work, or something custom like Beach House.
- Your setup is complete! Hit Done.
I’ve set up my Echo Dot. What next?
Once you’ve set up your Echo, Alexa will give you some prompts so you can get more familiar with her. First up is a notice on the app:
“You’re ready to start talking to Alexa. To learn more about what you can say to Alexa, visit the Things to Try from Settings.”
Then she will give you a few things to try, with some simple voice prompts.
- Shopping list: She’ll ask you to say, “Add milk and bread to my shopping list.” This is a great tool that allows you easily keep on top of what you need around the house. (She erases it after the test so the prompt doesn’t remain on your shopping list.)
- Broadcast: She suggests you try saying “Announce dinner’s ready.” With this feature, you can broadcast a message on all of your devices, which is a great way to send a message to everyone in your household.
- Music: Ending on a fun note, she’ll say “Let’s celebrate with a dance party.” To play music everywhere in your group, just tell me to play music everywhere.” To get to know your music taste, she’ll suggest three artists; in my case, it was 21 Pilots, Cardi B or Tool. If you don’t like the choices, say “None of them.” She’ll ask you to suggest a name, and then play one of their songs. (I said the Rolling Stones, and she played one of my favorite songs, Wild Horses.)
Pro Tip: If your Amazon account is open on another device, like your laptop, she may say “Amazon Music is already streaming from another device. You have to connect through Amazon Music Unlimited,” which has a subscription cost of $14.99. If you don’t want to sign up for a multi-device subscription, just say no, and she’ll ask if you want to stream from the Echo Dot instead.