Alexa has 4 new calling features on your Amazon Echo. How to use them

Alexa now lets you talk to seven people at a time, along with other new calling additions.

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Use these new calling features for the holidays.

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Just in time for the holidays, Amazon has added four new calling features for your Amazon Echo to bring your family to your living room, even when they're miles away.

The new ways to call with Alexa can be used to enjoy a remote family holiday together or even have a virtual happy hour with friends to celebrate the new year.

Here are the four ways to make calls using Alexa on your Amazon Echo.

You can finally make group calls on your Echo device

Calling one person at a time on your Amazon Echo can be time consuming. Now, you can call up to seven people at the same time using the new group calling feature. It works with audio calls for your Echo Dot and Echo speakers, as well as video calls if using an Echo Show

To get started, you'll need to create and name a group in the Alexa app. Do this by tapping Communicate > tap your profile icon in the top right corner > select Add New > and tap Add Group. From here, you'll need to tap Enable to begin using the Group Calling feature. Select everyone you'd like to add to the group and tap Continue, then name the group (e.g. My family).

Now you can say, "Alexa, call my family" to begin the group call.

Use Zoom or Amazon Chime on your Echo Show 8

If you'd rather have a larger group video call, you can use Zoom or Amazon Chime on your Echo Show 8 to chat with more people. To set up Zoom, you'll need to log in to the Zoom for Home app on your Echo Show 8. When you're ready to join the Zoom call, say, "Alexa, join my Zoom meeting," and enter the meeting ID.

To set up Amazon Chime, link your calendar to your Echo Show 8 using the Alexa app. Then say, "Alexa, join the Amazon Chime meeting." If you don't want to link your calendar, you can also enter the meeting ID to join the chat.

Your Echo Show can caption what people are saying

If you're having trouble deciphering what someone is saying while you're on a call, you can now use your Echo Show to display real-time captions on the screen. You can use call captioning during audio, video and drop-in calls. Note that this will only work for one-on-one calls.

The captioning tool was developed for those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or in loud or noisy environments. To enable it, swipe down from the top of your Echo Show screen and select Settings in the top right corner. Then, scroll down to Accessibility and toggle on Call Captioning.


Use your Echo Show to make video calls or join Zoom meetings.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Kids can make calls on their Amazon Fire tablets

Your kids can now call friends and family using their Fire tablets. Using the Amazon Kids app, they can make outgoing Alexa-to-Alexa video and audio calls to approved contacts who have an Echo device or the Alexa app. 

You can manage who they can call in the Alexa app and will always have to give parental consent for any contacts to be approved. You also have to give parental consent before calling can be enabled on your child's Fire tablet.

At this time, they can't receive incoming calls, but Amazon said they'll be able to in the coming months.

For more Amazon Echo tips, here's how to turn your TV into a larger Echo Show and how to fix these four annoying things Alexa does. Also, if you have more than one Amazon Echo, you've got to try this.

Watch this: Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen) review: Dot, Dot, Dot...