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Phones

How to use Alexa with an iPhone

Now you can cue up Alexa on iOS while shopping in the Amazon app.

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Alexa is expected to turn up in some unusual places this year, from the dash of new cars to televisions and appliances. But one of the most predictable moves is Alexa coming to phones. Amazon is making a Moto Mod for Motorola's modular Moto Z; Huawei put Alexa on the Mate 9; and a handful of applications have unofficially brought Alexa to both Android and iOS.

Most recently, Amazon has put Alexa in the hands of every stateside iOS user with the Amazon shopping app. Here's how it works.

You may have noticed while using the Amazon app that there is a microphone to the right of the search bar at the top of the app. Previously, this has been used specifically for searching for products, reordering previously purchased items or tracking your orders.

With the latest update, this voice search function harnesses the full power of Alexa. Just open the Amazon app, tap the microphone and say your usual command, minus the wake word.

Alexa within the Amazon app on iOS can do almost everything the Alexa speakers can do. It's not currently compatible with the recently announced Door Lock API, but you can enable and use the vast library of Alexa skills, control your smart home and get updates on the news and weather.

Here are some examples of what you might say:

  • "Turn on the living room lights."
  • "Play music by Fleet Foxes."
  • "Reorder deodorant."
  • "Tell Starbucks to start my usual order."
  • "Track my package."
  • "Read 'Ready Player One.'"
  • "Play my Flash Briefing."
  • "How is traffic?"

It seems it would have made more sense to bring Alexa capabilities to the Amazon Alexa app instead of the Amazon shopping app. However, it's likely that Amazon's goal was to put Alexa in front of more eyes and in the hands of millions who already have the Amazon app installed on their iOS devices. Plus, Amazon's big push for Alexa in the first place is to encourage users to buy more from it and use more of its services.

Still, that doesn't make it feel any more natural to open an app dedicated to shopping to toggle on the lights or ask for the weather.

No word was given for if or when Alexa will be added to the Amazon app for Android.