How to set up an Amazon Echo


After months of deliberating, you’ve finally decided to purchase your very first Amazon Echo. Now, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without the device.

What can your new smart speaker do? The better question is: What can’t it do? Rock out to your favorite tunes, ask questions and receive resourceful answers, build a grocery list, set alarms and reminders, make phone and video calls, and control your smart lights, locks, and thermostats.

With so many features and so much potential, it’s no wonder Amazon’s smart speaker is revered among smart home adopters and audiophiles. Don’t get too overwhelmed thinking about the possibilities, though. First things first: Let’s get your Echo up and running.

Here’s a guide on how to do just that.

Step 1: Download the Alexa app

The free Alexa app is a must-have if you’re the owner of an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. Download the app on any smartphone or tablet with iOS 11.0 or higher, Android 5.1 or higher, or Fire OS 5.3.3 or higher. Downloading the app on a computer? Make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi, then visit the Amazon Alexa website.

Step 2: Plug in the Echo

This is probably the easiest step in the whole process, as the Echo doesn’t require any batteries. Simply plug the included power adapter directly into the Echo, then connect the plug to a power outlet. When the light ring turns blue, that means the power is connected. Then, wait for it to turn orange, as this is a sign that Alexa is preparing to greet you. After that, you’ll hear Alexa’s voice telling you the device is ready for setup.

Step 3: Connect the Echo to Wi-Fi via the app

Next, you’ll need to connect your Echo device to your home Wi-Fi network. The latest versions of the Echo should guide you through this process. However, if you get stuck, simply open up the Alexa app and search through the available networks until you find yours. If you have multiple Echo devices, make sure you go to the Devices tab, then click the icon for Echo & Alexa in the top carousel and select your Alexa device. Under the Wireless heading, you should be able to see the state of the Wi-Fi network connection.

Once you’re connected, you have the option of saving your Wi-Fi password to Amazon, which makes it easy to connect to smart home devices or set up a new Alexa device on the same network should you decide to purchase more Echo speakers for other rooms. You also have the choice of connecting your Echo to a public network, although the password won’t be saved on Amazon.

Step 4: Start talking to Alexa

To get started, say the wake word, which is “Alexa” by default. If there’s already someone named Alexa, Alexis, or similar in the house, you can change the wake word to something else. Simply tell the Echo, “Alexa, change the wake word.” You can also change the wake word manually by opening up the Alexa app, tapping Help & Feedback, and selecting Change the Wake Word. Currently, you can change the Echo to respond to “Echo,” “Amazon,” or “Computer.” There’s no word on when Amazon will allow you to customize Alexa and call her a name of your choosing.

Step 5: Start using your Echo

Congratulations, your Amazon Echo is all set up and ready for use in your day-to-day life! To make sure everything’s working properly, you can conduct a simple test by trying out a few basic commands. For example, say the wake word and “Hello.” If your Echo is properly set up, Alexa should respond with a simple “Hello” in return.

In the Alexa app menu, you will see two sections called Skills & Games and Things to Try. These are both excellent ways to see what Alexa is capable of. Skills can help you customize Alexa by giving her certain abilities — think of them as mini-apps from many different creators that you can use for entertainment, organization, news, and much more.

You can start using your Echo device to make to-do lists, find out the weather, check on traffic conditions, call your friends, send text messages to your family, stream podcasts, or connect smart home devices. Alexa has thousands of essential and not-so-essential skills you can add, too. Check out some of the most useful things that the Amazon Echo can help you do.

Step 6 (optional): Connect smart home devices or an external speaker

Alexa Smart Devices

Head to your Alexa app menu and select the Devices tab (Alexa may show you an ad at this point, which you can exit out of). From here, click the + sign in the top right corner of the app, then Add Device. From here, you can choose the device you want to connect from the list. If you can’t find the correct one, you’ll want to tap Other. In this mode, Alexa will try to find any nearby smart devices to pair with. You can also organize devices into Groups here and create more complex Scenes where multiple devices interact at once. Check out our post on Routines for more information.

To ensure you’re getting a top-notch listening experience when you jam out to music or listen to audiobooks, you have the option of hooking up an external speaker to your Echo device. For best results, get a Bluetooth speaker that’s certified to be compatible with Echo devices. Keep in mind that your Echo can only connect to one Bluetooth device at a time, so if there’s already a device paired up with your Echo, you’ll need to un-sync that device before you can connect another device.

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