6 Amazon Alexa Settings to Change for a Personalized Smart Home Experience
Did you get an Alexa this holiday season? Check out these tips to customize your new smart speaker.
Katie TeagueWriter 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.
ExpertisePersonal Finance: Social Security and taxes
You can delete your entire voice recordings history. To do this, open the Alexa app and go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Review VoiceHistory. Next, tap the downward-facing arrow next to Displaying and then the arrow next to Filter By Date. Then tap All History > Delete All My Recordings.
You can also keep Amazon employees from listening to your voice recordings. In the Alexa app, go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data. From here, select Choose How Long to Save Recordings > Don't SaveRecordings > Confirm. Next, scroll down to Help Improve Alexa, and switch off the Use of Voice Recordings.
Watch this: Alexa gets new features to make it a better listener
2. Enable Brief Mode on your Amazon Echo
When you ask Alexa to do something, such as play a song or turn on the lights, Alexa will say something like, "OK, turning on the lights." This is to help you determine why Alexa did something if it wasn't what you asked. However, if you don't want Alexa repeating what you just said, you can change that setting so that it plays a short sound instead of a voice response.
To do so, open the Alexa app's More menu and select Settings. Under the Alexa Preferences section, tap Voice Responses, then toggle on the switch for Brief Mode.
3. Set up your preferred music streaming service
When you set up your Amazon Echo, the music service defaults to Amazon Music. However, if you use Spotify,
or another streamer, you may want to link your Echo to that instead.
Go to Settings > Music & Podcasts, then link to a service. On the same page, tap Default Services and switch to your preferred music provider. Now the Echo will play from the music streaming service of your choice when you say, "Alexa, play music." Note that you can select defaults for family or personal listening.
If TV commercials keep triggering your Amazon Echo when they say "Alexa," you can change the wake word to something that's less likely to trigger the speaker. The other traditional options are Computer, Echo and Amazon, but there are several newer wake word additions you can use like Ziggy and Hey, Disney.
If you want a change, just say, "Alexa, change the wake word" and make your selection. You can also open the Alexa app, go to Settings > Device Settings. Select your device, then tap the Settings icon and select Wake Word to make a choice. Unfortunately, you can't come up with your own name for the speaker, like "Tallulah" or "Digital Overlord."
You don't always have time to search Amazon for something you're out of, like toilet paper. That's why it can be helpful to set up voice purchasing on your Amazon Echo, so Alexa can order products for you.
To get started, you'll need to turn on voice ordering and 1-Click ordering. Open the Alexa app and navigate to Settings > Account Settings > Voice Purchasing > Purchasing controls > Select who can make purchases. For instance, you can set up a voice code or profile so that only you can make purchases when you type in a four-digit code.
6. Set up household profiles on your Amazon Echo
If you have multiple people in your house, you'll want to set up voice profiles for each member who uses the Echo speaker. This will help Alexa learn your voice and distinguish you from others in the house. To create voice profiles, go to Settings > Your Profile & Family > Voice ID and follow the onscreen prompts.
You can make sure your voice profile is correctly set up by asking, "Alexa, who am I?" The voice assistant will say, "I'm talking to [your name]."