Every new Amazon Alexa feature for Echo and how to use them

Turns out you can teach your old Echo new tricks. We'll show you what they are.

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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You don't have to have a new Amazon Echo like this to use Alexa's new features.


Amazon has some pretty big updates to the Alexa voice assistant planned. From adding more privacy settings to reducing the number of times you have to say the wake word, these features are designed to make your Amazon Echo experience smoother from start to finish.

Here are all the new Alexa features for Echo to get excited about, and how they'll work. Note that some new tricks won't be available until later this year.

Interact with Alexa without saying the wake word each time

Alexa hasn't always been known as conversational. When you constantly have to say "Alexa" for every single task -- even seconds apart -- it can be frustrating. Fortunately, the voice assistant is getting an upgrade called natural turn-taking that lets you interact with Alexa without saying the wake word every five seconds. 

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You'll be able to activate Alexa's conversational mode by saying "Alexa, join our conversation." Multiple people will be able to interact with the voice assistant without saying the wake word. You can even interrupt. Amazon showed an example of two people ordering a pizza, both speaking back and forth with Alexa on the size of pizza to order. 

Teach Alexa new tricks

You'll soon be able to teach Alexa with a new feature called interactive teaching. If Alexa isn't sure what you're asking it to do, it will start asking you questions to learn what you want it to do.

For example, if you tell Alexa to set the living room light to wind-down mode, it'll say, "I don't know what wind-down mode is. Can you teach me?" You can then tell the voice assistant that wind-down mode means dim the lights. The next time you ask Alexa to perform the task, it will remember what to do.

Alexa can delete all voice interactions

Last year, Amazon added a setting that let you delete everything you had just said. This year, Amazon announced that you can now delete every interaction you've had with Alexa with just one command. To do so, just say "Alexa, delete everything I've ever said."

Previously, you'd have to delete all conversations with the voice assistant by going into the Alexa app privacy settings. 

Echo Dot Kids Edition panda version

Tell Alexa to delete all your voice interactions.


Alexa can help you review your privacy settings

Not sure where to find the Alexa privacy settings? Alexa can now help. Just ask, "Alexa, how do I review my privacy settings?" Alexa will then send a link to the Alexa app that says Review your privacy settings

When you tap the link, it takes you to the Alexa Privacy page where you can make changes to your voice history, detected sounds, smart home devices, skill permissions and Alexa data.

Along with these new Alexa features, the company also previewed its new line of spherical Echo speakers, a flying drone for inside your home and kids' Echo speakers with animal designs.

For more Alexa tips, check out the six best Amazon Echo features and how to use them, five best ways to use Amazon Echo in the kitchen and creative ways to make your Alexa routines.

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