You can connect Alexa and your Amazon Echo to almost anything (within reason).
Amazon Echo smart speakers and displays can be useful nerve centers for your home, connecting your smart devices and orchestrating their actions with simple phrases or elaborate routines. But getting Alexa to cooperate with your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other networks or devices can be a hassle -- especially when it involves decoding various color codes on your smart speaker.
I've set up dozens if not hundreds of smart devices over the years, and a clear set of directions makes a huge difference. So here's how to connect Alexa to, well, just about anything.
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Your smart displays and speakers should automatically walk you through connecting to the Wi-Fi as soon as you boot them up the first time, but if you lost the directions or need to reconnect a device, here's how.
Open the Alexa app and tap Devices at the bottom right of the screen, then Echo & Alexa on the top right. Select the device you want to connect to Wi-Fi, then hit Status to see which Wi-Fi network your device is currently connected to. Select the blue Change button beside the Wi-Fi Network.
Next, press and hold the action button (the button with the dot in the center) on your device. The light on your device should turn orange and start spinning. This step puts your device in setup mode, and your device should even say, "Now in setup mode. Follow the instructions in your Alexa app." Hit Continue.
Select your Alexa device from the list and then select your Wi-Fi network. Finally, enter your Wi-Fi password and tap Connect.
To connect Alexa to Wi-Fi without the app, start by going to alexa.amazon.com and signing in to your account. Click Settings > Set Up a New Device. Select the Alexa device you want to connect to Wi-Fi from the list. Tap Continue.
Next, you'll need to put your device in pairing mode. Start this process by plugging your device into a power outlet. Wait for the blue light to turn orange (it should take about a minute) and then click Continue.
Now, you need to connect to its network. Go to the Wi-Fi settings on your computer or phone and select the network with the format Amazon-XXX. Go back to the Alexa Amazon webpage and you should see the message "Your computer is connected" to your Alexa device (great, you're almost done!). Tap Continue. Finally, select the Wi-Fi network you want to connect Alexa to and enter your Wi-Fi password.
Your Alexa device should now be connected. If you're unsure if the setup has worked, you can check by asking Alexa a question.
Read more: Tired of the same old Amazon Echo tricks? Make new custom Alexa commands
OK, maybe you want to connect your phone to your smart speaker to just, you know, use it as a speaker. Doing so the first time is pretty similar to connecting to Wi-Fi, but it gets easier.
Before connecting any devices, you first need to make sure your phone's Bluetooth is enabled. To check, go to Settings > Bluetooth. Toggle Bluetooth to on. Now, let's talk about connecting to another device.
First, open the Alexa app and tap Devices, then Echo & Alexa. Select the device you want to use, then tap Bluetooth Devices. Tap Pair A New Device. The Echo will search for devices to pair with and show a list of available devices. Tap the one you want to use. Once paired, you'll be able to cast the music or podcasts of your choice directly to the smart speaker or display by activating Bluetooth on your phone.
Now that your Bluetooth is on and connected, you can use voice commands to connect in the future. Simply say, "Alexa, connect to [your device]" to connect or "Alexa, disconnect from [your device]" to disconnect.
If you want to connect your Echo to other speakers, you can also do that by scrolling down on the device screen, past Bluetooth Devices and Wi-Fi Network, to Speaker and Stereo Pair/Subwoofer, which allows you to further customize your sound system.
If you get a new connected smart light bulb, security camera, smart lock or pretty much any other smart home gadget, Alexa can likely talk to it, too. As long as the device is Alexa-compatible, just head to the Alexa app.
Once the app is open, tap Devices, then tap the little More button in the upper right hand corner of the app. A menu will slide up from the bottom of the screen, and you'll be able to add devices by tapping -- you guessed it -- Add Device. From here, select the smart home device you want to add (the app provides a list) and follow the specific onscreen directions for your new gadget.
Looking for specific instructions for Alexa-compatible devices? Check out our guide to using Alexa commands with your home security camera and our roundup of the smart bulbs that work with Alexa.
Anything else you want to connect? Or any advice for people just setting up Alexa? Drop a comment below.