Smart home

3 ways to find your lost phone using Alexa

Misplacing your phone is never fun. Track it down in seconds with these Alexa tricks.

Taylor Martin/CNET
Now Playing: Watch this: 3 ways to find your lost phone
1:12

The family of Alexa speakers is only getting smarter over time. The feature list is growing, as is the list of compatible smart home devices the Echo, Echo Dot and Tap can control.

Among one of its many tricks, Alexa can also help you locate a misplaced phone in more ways than one.

Of course, in most cases, you have to have misplaced your phone at home for this to work. The exception would be using an Amazon Tap on a public Wi-Fi network or using the Roger, Lexi or Lexa app from a tablet.

Here are three ways to locate your misplaced phone using Alexa.

TrackR

Last month, TrackR released a skill for Alexa which allows you to locate your lost phone.

To enable the skill, open the Amazon Alexa app from your Android or iOS device, navigate to Skills, search for TrackR and click Enable. Alternatively, you can ask the speaker to enable the skill by saying, "Alexa, enable TrackR" or "Alexa, enable Find My Phone."

alexa-trackr.jpg

You also need to download the TrackR app onto your iPhone or Android smartphone. When you open the app and go through the initial setup, select Find Your Phone With Alexa and tap Start Setup.

Next, say, "Alexa, tell TrackR to find my phone." This will initiate the setup process, where you will be given a 6-digit PIN by Alexa. Enter this into the app on your smartphone and tap Submit. Your phone should now be linked to the TrackR skill on Alexa.

To locate your phone at any time, say, "Alexa, tell TrackR to find my phone" or "Alexa, ask TrackR to ring my phone."

If your phone doesn't have all sounds muted, it will begin ringing and you should be able to locate it.

Have Alexa call your phone

alexa-find-my-phone.png
Screenshot by Taylor Martin/CNET

An alternative to TrackR is asking Alexa to call your misplaced phone. In order for this to work, you will need an IFTTT account with the Alexa and Phone Call channels activated.

To connect the channels, go to ifttt.com, log in or sign up and click Channels at the top of the page. Search for Alexa, click on the channel and click Connect. Login to your Amazon account and confirm the connection. Then click Channels one more time and search Phone Call. Click on the channel icon and click Connect. Enter your phone number and click Send PIN. Answer the phone call and enter the PIN read to you. Click Connect.

Now it's time to add the recipe. You can quickly add this recipe to your account or create one yourself using the steps below.

  • At ifttt.com, click on your username in the upper right corner of the page to access the drop-down menu and select Create.
  • Click This to begin.
  • Under Choose Trigger Channel, search for Amazon Alexa. Click the Alexa channel to select it.
  • For the Trigger, select Say a specific phrase. Type in a phrase like "lost phone" or "find my phone" and click Create Trigger.
  • Click That to continue.
  • Search for the Phone Call channel and select it.
  • For the Action select Call my phone.
  • You can set any message you'd like, but the main point here is making your phone ring.
  • Click Create Action followed by Create Recipe to finalize the recipe.

Now, whenever you misplace your phone, just say, "Alexa, trigger find phone." If your phone isn't silenced, you should hear your phone ring. If vibrate is enabled, you may be able to locate it by the vibrations from the phone call.

However, if you happen use an Android phone, using the Android Device channel, you can first set your ringtone volume to 100 percent, then place a call.

To do this, you will need two IFTTT recipes with the same trigger phrase. First, you want to set the volume with this recipe. Then use the second recipe to place a call. The important part is that the trigger phrases are the same, so you only have to say the command once and both the ringtone volume will be set to 100 percent and the phone call will be placed.

Play a song from your Android phone

Similar to calling your phone, you can tell Alexa to play a song on your Android phone.

Using the same instructions above, you can create a recipe using the Android Device channel as the Action Channel and select Play music for the Action instead of placing a phone call. To add a premade recipe to your IFTTT account, just click here.

Unfortunately, there is no way to have IFTTT change the media playback volume on your Android device. Also, if your phone is connected to any Bluetooth speakers or headphones, it will play audio through those instead of its own speakers. The workaround to that is using yet another IFTTT recipe with the same trigger phrase.