Amazon Echo owners already know how to summon Alexa by talking directly to the device. But what if you’re not near your Echo? Well, you can still talk to Alexa, run various tasks, and access different types of content.
You can control an Echo device remotely by choosing it from the Alexa app. You can talk to Alexa from the iOS or Android app; iPhone, iPad, and Android users can interact with Alexa via an app called Reverb for Amazon Alexa. Or you can purchase an Amazon remote control that lets you control your Echo. Let’s go through the different ways of accessing Alexa and using your device remotely.
Use the Alexa App
Let’s start with the Alexa app itself (iOS, Android). Through the app, you can tune up music or audiobooks on any of your online Echo devices. Open the app on your mobile device. At the home screen, tap the hamburger icon () and select Music & Books. At the Music & Books screen, tap the link to Browse Music. At the Music screen, tap the drop-down arrow and select the Echo device on which you want to play music or other audio content. Tap Done. Next, tap the music service you wish to fire up. Let’s look at Amazon Music.
To browse for music from the Amazon Music screen, tap any of the categories at the top, such as Playlists, Artists, Albums, Songs, or Genres. You can also search your library for music. Tap a specific item you wish to play. You can now control your music with the built-in player to play, pause, move ahead, move back, and shuffle your music.
Reminders, Alarms, or Timers
You can also set up reminders and similar content on your selected Echo device. Return to the main screen and tap the hamburger icon () again. Tap Reminders & Alarms. Tap the drop-down arrow and choose the Echo device you want to use. Tap one of the three links – Reminders, Alarms, or Timers. You can now add a reminder, create an alarm, or set a timer, and the item you set up will sound off on the Echo device you selected.
Use the Amazon App
Using the Amazon shopping app, you can ask Alexa to order new products from Amazon, play music, search for information, and listen to Kindle books. If you don’t already have the Amazon app, iOS users can snag it from Apple’s App Store, while Android users can grab it from Google Play. Open the app and tap the Alexa icon at the top.
The first time you do this, the app will request access to your device’s microphone. Tap the button to Allow microphone access.
Tell Alexa What You Want
The app then asks what you’re looking for. You can now tell Alexa what you want her to do. Amazon would certainly be happy if you started ordering products. But again, you can tell Alexa to do many other things, such as play an album from Amazon Music, search for something on the internet, or access any other skill that you would normally access directly from your Echo device.
Reverb for Amazon Alexa App
The Reverb app lets you chat with Alexa, helping to answer questions, provide information, and tap into other Alexa skills. Download the version of the app for your mobile device from Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Mac users can also snag the app at the Mac App store. Fire up the app. You’ll first need to sign in with your Amazon account and agree to connect the Reverb app with Alexa.
The app then displays a large microphone icon. Just press the icon and speak your question or request. You can tap into most of Alexa’s skills, asking her to serve up quizzes, search for information, and offer the latest news and weather reports. The major hitch is that the app doesn’t support Amazon Music, Audible, Pandora, and similar audio services, so you can’t tell it to play music or read audiobooks.
Use a Remote Control
Amazon sells a voice remote you can use to chat with Alexa on your Echo. For $29.99 (currently on sale for $19.99), the voice remote connects to your Echo via Bluetooth and includes a microphone you can use to talk to Alexa when you’re not near the device. The remote also offers buttons to raise the volume, lower the volume, play, pause, go back to the previous track, and jump ahead to the next track.
Set Up the Remote
To set up the voice remote, first insert the batteries to power it up. Then open the Alexa app. Tap the hamburger icon () and tap Settings > Device Settings. Tap the Echo device you want to pair with the remote. Tap the option for Echo Remote.
Pair With Echo
Press and hold down the play button on your remote for five seconds and then wait for confirmation that the remote and your Echo have paired.
Alexa should then tell you that the remote and your Echo are paired. You can now talk to your Echo device through the remote, telling Alexa to play music, serve up information, and tap into all her other skills and abilities. If you have more than one Echo device, note that you can pair the remote with only one device at a time.