Got a New Amazon Echo? Here Are 5 Essential Tips for Setting It Up
Learn how to get the most from your new Amazon Alexa device.
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.
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Nelson Aguilar is an LA-based tech how-to writer and graduate of UCLA. With more than a decade of experience, he covers Apple and Google and writes on iPhone and Android features, privacy and security settings and more.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the rearview, and Christmas quickly approaching, you may find yourself in possession of a new Amazon Echo device. Whether you're gifting yourself or someone else, if you do decide to pull the trigger, there are a few important things you should know for when you receive your package and pull your new Echo device out of the box.
Now that you've got your Echo plugged in and set up, it's time to learn the basics. This includes downloading the Alexa app and setting up your location so you'll have an accurate weather forecast.
We also recommend that you take the time from the beginning to create a voice profile for everyone who lives in the house. While you can set this up at any time, Alexa being able to recognize different people's voices will give everyone in your household a personalized experience. For example, when Alexa recognizes your voice, it'll play the music and news you like to listen to and if you want to call or message someone it'll consult your address book.
You may also want to set up voice purchasing so you can quickly order an item you often buy, like paper towels. To do this, you'll also need to enable 1-Click ordering in the settings app. Remember to set up a password so that only you can make purchases this way. You can find this in Settings > Account Settings > Voice Purchasing.
3. Use voice commands to get stuff done
Every action you want Alexa to take will require a voice command. For example, turning on music, controlling the volume of the smart speaker and creating lists or reminders. You'll just say something like, "Alexa, turn the volume down," or, "Alexa, add coffee to my shopping list."
4. Control your smart home devices from your Echo speaker
Wishing you could arrive home at night with the lights already on? If you've got smart lights, smart plugs or switches, you can control them using the Alexa app so that you never have to trip going up the front porch stairs again.
5. Call, text and drop in on your friends using Alexa
Lost your phone in the house again? No worries -- you don't need it, because Alexa can make calls and send texts for you from a compatible device. Just say something like, "Alexa, call Mom," or, "Alexa, text Katie." The contacts have to be in your address book for this to work.
You can also use your Echo speaker to drop in on friends and family who have added you as an accepted contact. To do so, just say something like, "Alexa, drop in on Dad."