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4 Alexa skills you should enable first on your Amazon Echo

If you don't have these skills on your Amazon Echo, you need to get them today.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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Katie Teague
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Enable these Alexa skills now.

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You just got a new Amazon Echo and can't wait to start. And while you may be excited to start playing games and trivia with Alexa , there are a handful of skills you should enable first to make sure you've covered the basics. 

For example, you'll want to link to your favorite music streaming service to listen to your customized playlists. And, if you have smart home devices, you'll want to be able to start controlling those with your voice immediately.

Once you've got these skills enabled, you'll feel like you're on your way to using your Amazon Echo to its full potential. Here are the first four Alexa skills you'll want to enable before all others.


Listen to music from your preferred streaming service.

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Your preferred music streaming service

If you have Amazon Prime , you can reap the benefits of Amazon's music streaming service. But you can also listen to music from services such as Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music

To do so, enable the skill in the Alexa app by opening the menu and selecting Skills & Games and searching for the service. Once you find what you're looking for, tap Enable to Use and follow the on-screen instructions. 

Next, open the menu and tap Settings > Music & Podcasts > select your preferred streaming service and sign in to your account. Next, you'll have to change the default settings. In the Music & Podcasts section, tap Default Services

It automatically defaults to Amazon Music, so you'll need to change all the settings for MusicArtist and Genre Stations and Podcasts by tapping Change. Note that the default settings will only show music skills you've enabled.

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Skills that control your smart home devices

If you've got other smart home devices, like a robot vacuum or smart thermostat, you'll want to enable those skills in the Alexa app as soon as possible. These skills allow you to turn on your smart devices through the Alexa app or your Echo speaker by voice.

To enable these skills, open the Alexa app menu and tap Skills & Games. Tap the magnifying glass to search for the specific brand you're using -- for example, if it's a robot vacuum, you could search for Ecovacs, iRobot or another brand. Once you find what you're looking for, tap the skill, select Enable to Use and follow the on-screen instructions.

Find My Phone skill

If you often find yourself losing your phone in the house, then you should enable the Find My Phone skill. This skill is especially useful for when you don't have someone at home to call your lost phone.

The goal is to enable this skill before you lose your phone because it sends a four-digit code that you must read off to Alexa before it will call your phone.

Once enabled, just say "Alexa, find my phone" and Alexa will start calling your phone. Note that this works best if you keep your phone's ringer on, rather than turning on silent mode.


Use your Amazon Echo's skills to tone up.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Workout skills

Alexa has tons of great guided workout skills to help keep you in shape. You can choose from skills such as 5-minute plank and 7-minute workout to get a full body workout. This is helpful for those days when you don't have much time to spare for a workout -- and it's great for when you have an extra hour because you can choose several workouts to do.

And when you're finished with your workout, don't forget to stretch. There's a skill called Daily Stretch that can help walk you through some stretches based on the body area you focused on. For example, you can say "Alexa, ask Daily Stretch for an arm stretch" or "Alexa, ask Daily Stretch for an upper body series."

Need more Amazon Echo tips and Alexa advice? Check out these six unusual Alexa skills to try out on your Amazon Echo and five unexpected uses for your Amazon Echo.

Watch this: Amazon Echo Show 8 review: Alexa is getting even better