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Tech tips

The 5 most annoying Alexa problems, solved

Smart speakers are great for listening to your favorite tunes, but they can do so much more. Thanks to voice assistants, a smart speaker can tell you the weather, give you a traffic report, answer random questions, set your thermostat, turn off the lights and turn on the TV. And more features are being added by developers all the time.

The Amazon Echo is a popular smart speaker that is offered in various models. Alexa is built into all Echo devices, and the more you use the voice assistant, the more you’ll discover what she can do. We’ll help you get started. Tap or click here for five smart routines to use with Alexa.

No tech is perfect, and Alexa does have some issues. Amazon regularly releases patches and updates, but some of these problems are more personal and can be solved by you. Read on for tips on resolving some of the most common Alexa issues.

1. Problem: Alexa screams in reply and wakes up your entire house

You should feel comfortable using Alexa, even in the dead of night when other members of your household are asleep. You can set the smart assistant to use her inside voice whenever you want. Whisper Mode is a skill that’s available on all Alexa devices:

  • Open the Alexa app.
  • Tap the More icon in the bottom right.
  • Select Settings.
  • Tap Voice Responses under Alexa Preferences.
  • Toggle Whisper Mode to enable it.
  • You can also say, “Alexa, turn on whisper mode.”

Related: 15 Alexa commands you’ll wish you knew sooner

2. Problem: Music cuts out

What’s more annoying than the music cutting out when you’re caught in a groove? When this happens with Alexa, it can point to a few possible problems. Let’s try some solutions.

The easiest possible fix is to reset your Alexa device. Some models have power or reset buttons, while others need to be unplugged. Either way, power down your Alexa device, wait 30 seconds, then power it on again. This can also resolve other issues, such as problems connecting to your Wi-Fi network, which brings us to the next likely culprit.

If too many devices are connected to your network, your Alexa device may get lost in the congestion. Try turning off any connected devices you are not using.

Also, keep your Alexa device away from metal objects, Bluetooth devices, baby monitors, microwaves and other sources of interference. Placing Alexa at a higher location will help boost the signal strength.

Are you using Alexa from your iPhone? The Wi-Fi problem could be coming from there or even your router. Tap or click here for tips on resolving both.

3. Problem: Alexa can’t understand what you’re asking

Alexa may not always understand what you’re saying. This could be due to interference from noisy household appliances like your TV, washer, dryer and more. If you keep an Alexa device by a sink, the running water will also pose a problem. Put your device in an open space.

Remember that Alexa is trained to listen to you speak to her as you would to a human. Rephrase your question and don’t scream.

4. Problem: Alexa starts doing something or answering you and you have no idea why

It can be scary when Alexa activates out of nowhere. Is it a ghost? No, she probably heard something from the TV or your conversation with someone, and it set her off.

The first thing you might want to do is figure out what happened. Just say, “Alexa, why did you do that?” You can also change Alexa’s wake word by saying, “Alexa, change the wake word.”

5. Problem: You keep getting the wrong speaker’s attention because you have a few in the house

If you have speakers set up close to each other, it can get confusing addressing one of them. You could move them further apart or change their names. An easy way to distinguish your speakers is by naming them after the room they occupy such as Kitchen, Computer, Living Room, Bedroom or Office.

If you have different types of speakers, you can:

  • Open the Alexa app.
  • Select Devices.
  • Select Echo & Alexa.
  • Select your device, then Edit Name.

Keep reading

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