Sure, Alexa’s packed with tons of amazing features. With a simple voice command, you can flick lights on, play music or even hear today’s top news story. Tap or click here for even more cool features you may not know about.
Sadly, smart devices aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. If you’ve got an Amazon Echo in your home, you’ve probably rolled your eyes at it a few times. Maybe it misunderstood you; maybe it constantly asks you to rate your recent purchases.
Fortunately, you don’t have to endure the awkwardness. Actually, there are a few simple fixes that can improve your day-to-day life. Here are five common problems you may be dealing with — and five easy solutions!
1. Teach Alexa to respond to multiple requests at a time
If you ask Alexa to do multiple things at once, it’ll only listen to your first question or command. Then you’ll feel like you’re slogging through different commands one by one: “Alexa, turn the living room light on. Alexa, turn the kitchen light on. Alexa, turn the bedroom light on.” Not very convenient, right?
Good news: You can turn on Follow-Up Mode, which lets you give your smart speaker multiple commands at once. After it follows your first command, wait for Alexa to say, “OK.” Then, fire off your next command and you’re good to go. After you’re done, say “Stop,” “Thank you” or “Go to sleep” to stop Alexa from waiting for further commands.
Since Follow-Up Mode is off by default, you’ve got to go out of your way to turn it on. Here’s what to do.
- Open the Amazon Alexa app and tap Devices at the bottom of the screen
- Choose the device you want to use this feature on, then scroll down and tap Follow-Up Mode
- Slide the toggle next to Follow-up Mode to the right to enable the feature
Now, you’ll be able to give multiple requests at once. Just remember, this mode doesn’t apply in the following situations:
- Audio is playing (For example, if you tell Alexa to turn on a light, play a song and then give another command, it won’t follow that third command)
- Alexa doesn’t recognize your voice as talking to her (It may think your words are background noise if you don’t address it by name)
- You end the conversation with Alexa
Now, here’s how to stop Alexa from trying to show off its psychic skills.
2. Stop Alexa from sharing her hunches
Sometimes, your Amazon Echo tries to understand your schedule or guess what you’d want to do. That’s because of Amazon Hunches, a feature that predicts what you’ll do next through machine learning.
Using it, Alexa monitors and learns your behavior and any requests you make. Then it knows what you might have missed to remind you about. For example, you can say, “Alexa, good night.” It might respond with, “You left the kitchen light on. Would you like me to turn it off?”
You can put an end to all the time you waste, saying, “No, Alexa, leave me alone.” Best of all: It only takes a few seconds. Since Amazon Hunches is automatically on, just say, “Alexa, disable Hunches” and you’re good to go.
If you’re not near an Alexa right now, here’s how to turn the feature off through your app:
- Open the Amazon Alexa app > tap More at the bottom of the screen to open the menu
- Tap on Settings
- Scroll down and select Hunches
- Use the toggle to turn off Hunches
Now, Alexa’s done trying (and failing) to read your mind.
3. Put a stop to misunderstandings
If you own an Alexa, you’ve probably heard Alexa say, “Sorry, I didn’t quite get that.” It can be frustrating to feel like you’re being misunderstood, especially when you have to repeat yourself multiple times. On the bright side, you can make sure she understands you by setting up a voice profile.
To create a personalized experience, first, make sure your Alexa app is updated. Then, tap the More button and select Settings. From there, tap Your Profile > Recognized Voices and click on Create Voice Profile. Select Continue, say the on-screen phrase out loud and you’re good to go.
- When you’re setting this up, make sure to enable Automatic Voice Recognition. This way, Alexa can gather data about your unique voice and personalize your user experience.
Still having trouble being understood? Try this: Whenever you give a command, you can ask Alexa to tell you what it heard. “Okay. Here’s what I heard,” Alexa will say before repeating its understanding. This feature is a great way to pinpoint the places where your Amazon Echo slips up.
4. Say no to ratings
Sometimes, Alexa will interrupt you with a plea to “help other customers.” Out of the blue, it will ask you to rate your past Amazon purchases. It can be unnerving to suddenly get this notification — especially if Alexa’s asking you about something you bought a long time ago.
Here’s how to shut it down:
- Open your Alexa app and tap More > Settings
- Tap on Notifications
- From there, hit Amazon Shopping and toggle the Requests to rate Purchases setting to off
Now you won’t have to deal with those annoying notifications. Here’s another common issue you may be dealing with.
5. End the repetition game
Alexa often repeats you to make sure she understands. If you say, “What’s 34 minus 13?” it will repeat the entire equation before finally giving the correct answer. This copycat routine can be bearable in the first month — after all, your Echo Dot is just checking to make sure you’re on the same page.
Later down the line, though, it can start to grate on the nerves. To stop Alexa from verbally repeating every command, follow these steps:
- Open your Alexa app and tap More > Settings
- Scroll down under Alexa Preferences, tap Voice Responses
- Slide the toggle next to Brief Mode to the right to enable this feature
Now you can enjoy the silence. Speaking of keeping quiet, did you know you can text Alexa commands? Tap or click here to set up the brand new Text with Alexa feature.