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3 irritating Amazon Echo pet peeves and how to fix them

Alexa isn't perfect, but you can help improve it by changing these settings.

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If your Amazon Echo is frustrating you, fix these settings right away.

Ry Crist/CNET

Since the day I started using an Amazon Echo ($100 at Amazon), I've found it convenient for many things -- it turns on my TV when I'm too lazy to search for the remote that's buried in my couch and it controls my Ecobee thermostat when I'm away. However, there are some problems I've had with Alexa that annoyed me so much I had to find a fix right away.

For example, I've frequently asked Alexa to do something, only to have it perform a completely different action or say it didn't understand me. While these issues can be a hindrance, there are ways to fix them so you can continue using your Amazon Echo without the frustration. 

Here are three of my biggest pet peeves with Amazon Echo, and how to fix them if you're having the same issues.

Alexa repeats everything I say

When I first started giving Alexa commands, I noticed it repeated what I would ask. For example, when I would ask it to turn on the lamp, it would say "OK, turning on the lamp." Fortunately, I was able to find the setting that turned off this repetitive feature before it got too annoying. Now when I ask Echo to perform a command, it just plays a sound instead of responding. Here's how you can make your Echo stop talking so much, too.

Open the Alexa app's hamburger menu and select Settings. Under the Alexa Preferences section, tap Voice Responses, then toggle the switch on for Brief Mode.

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If your Echo has an echo, you can change that.

James Martin/CNET

Alexa only responds to one command at a time

Try asking Alexa to do multiple things at a time and see how it responds. That's right, it'll only address your first question or command. So when I ask Alexa to turn on the lamp and play music, the voice assistant will only perform the first command. This is frustrating to me because the Google Home ($99 at Walmart) speaker can perform up to three commands at a time.

However, after doing a little digging into the Alexa settings, I was able to find a setting that lets you ask Alexa multiple commands in a row. It's called Follow-Up Mode, and while it still doesn't function the same way as Google Home, it's still a step up from saying "Alexa" every five seconds. 

Here's how it works -- when you enable the feature, give Alexa one command, wait for it to perform the action and then speak the next command. To turn the setting on, just say "Alexa, enable Follow-Up Mode." The blue light ring will stay on while Alexa is waiting for another command. You can give it as many commands as you want, and when you're finished, the blue light ring will turn off after five seconds. For example, you could say "Alexa, turn on the lights [wait for it to complete action]. Tell me about the weather. Remind me to stand up in one hour."

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If you have your Amazon Echo surrounded by items, it may not be able to hear you as well.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Alexa doesn't understand everything I say

This is probably one of the most frustrating aspects of Alexa -- it has a hard time understanding what you say. It will either perform a different action or it'll say "I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that." Fortunately, Amazon added a feature that lets you ask Alexa what it just heard. You can say "Alexa, tell me what you heard" to find out what it thought you said.

To prevent this from happening in the future, place your Amazon Echo device in an open area with nothing blocking it. Also, keep it away from noisy items in your home like the dishwasher, TV, washer and dryer.

There's also a tool in the Alexa app called Voice Training that helps Alexa better understand your pronunciation of words. To get started, go to Settings > Your Profile > Voice > and set up your voice profile.

Got other pet peeves with your Amazon Echo? Let us know in the comments and we'll try to address them. Also, check out these 5 unexpected uses for your Amazon Echo and how to customize Alexa for a better Amazon Echo experience.

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