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Your new Echo Dot is a gateway to a world of smart home automation and fun with your virtual assistant. While Amazon offers several Echo devices How to Pick the Best Amazon Echo Speaker for You How to Pick the Best Amazon Echo Speaker for You Not sure which Amazon Echo device is right for you? Find out if Alexa will work best for you on the Echo, Dot, Tap, Look, or Show. Read More , the Dot is a great choice due to its low price tag and slim profile.

If you’re stuck during the setup of your Echo Dot or need help figuring out the basics, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know to get started with your Echo Dot and utilize its power. We’ll cover some common problem areas too. Let’s get started!

Echo Dot (2nd Generation) - Black Echo Dot (2nd Generation) - Black Echo Dot (2nd Generation) is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, read the news, set alarms, read audiobooks from Audible, control Amazon Video on Fire TV, and more Buy Now At Amazon $49.99

Note: Amazon revamped the Echo Dot in fall 2016. The two generations are nearly identical. While this guide is written with the second generation model in mind, we’ll note the few places where the older model differs.

Here’s everything you can expect from this guide:

Setting Up Your Echo Dot

Basic Alexa Commands and Adding Skills

Important Echo Dot Functions

Adjusting Your Alexa App Settings

Troubleshooting Your Echo Dot

1. Echo Dot Unboxing and First Time Setup

First things first, you’ll need to open the box that your Echo Dot arrived in. Inside, you’ll find a few items:

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 01 Echo Dot Box Contents
Image credit: Arthur Konze via YouTube

Start by plugging the microUSB cable into the back of your Dot. Then plug the standard USB end into the adapter, then into a wall plug. Ideally, you want to place your Dot in a central location in a room so it can hear you from anywhere. Its microphones are solid, so you shouldn’t have to play around with it too much.

Your Echo will start up and show a blue light. Give it a few minutes to run through its initialization process. When you see an orange ring of light, Alexa will tell you that you’re ready to get online.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 02 Echo Dot Setting Up Lights

Grab the Alexa App

Since the Echo Dot doesn’t have a screen, you’ll continue the setup on your phone. Install the Alexa app for your device from the appropriate app store:

Open the Alexa app, and sign into your Amazon account (or create an account if you don’t have one already). If you already use the Amazon app on your phone, it might pick up your account automatically.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 03 Echo Dot Sign In
Image credit: TechnoBuilder via YouTube

Once you’re signed in and accept the terms of use, you’ll see a list of Echo devices Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap: What Are the Key Differences? Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap: What Are the Key Differences? One common complaint against Amazon Echo was that it had too many features and cost too much. Amazon's response to that? Releasing two variations with smaller price tags: the Tap and the Echo Dot. Read More . You’re setting up an Echo Dot, so select that option. Confirm your language option, then hit the Connect to Wi-Fi button. Since you plugged in your device earlier, the light ring will already be orange as it advises. Press the Continue button.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 04 Echo Dot WiFi App Setup

Your phone will then attempt to connect to your Echo Dot automatically. If this doesn’t work, the app will ask you to press and hold the Dot’s action button (the one with a bump) for a few seconds. Once it finds the device, tap the Continue button again.

Now you need to add the Echo to your WiFi network. Tap the name of your network here, then enter the password. A moment after you press Connect, your Echo will go online.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 05 Echo Dot WiFi Setup
Image credit: SmarterHomeAutomation

The final step is deciding how you want to hear your Echo. You have three options: Bluetooth, Audio Cable, and No speakers. The Dot allows you to connect your device to a speaker using Bluetooth or an audio cable for better audio. If you don’t want to use either of these, the last option will play all audio through the Dot’s basic speakers.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 06 Echo Dot Sound Options
Image credit: TechnoBuilder via YouTube

Select No speakers for now and we’ll discuss the other options later.

After this, you’ve completed the setup! The app will offer to show you a quick video on using Alexa, and throw a couple of sample commands at you. You can review these now if you like; we’ll discuss using Alexa below. Accept or decline the free trials for Amazon Prime Is Amazon Prime A Good Deal? Is Amazon Prime A Good Deal? Amazon Prime seems like a great deal, but is it? We dig into the benefits to figure out if they're worth the $99 per year. Read More and Prime Music (which actually isn’t too bad Why You Should Give Amazon Prime Music a Second Chance Why You Should Give Amazon Prime Music a Second Chance There are several reasons why you might want to give Amazon Prime Music a second chance. It certainly deserves much more credit than it's currently getting. Read on to find out why. Read More ) and you’ve completed the setup process!

2. Basic Alexa Commands and Adding Skills

Now that your Echo is ready, you can talk to it any time by saying the wake word Alexa followed by a command. For example, say Alexa, what time is it? and your Echo will let you know. We’ll cover some commands, but don’t be afraid to experiment. At worst, Alexa will tell you that she doesn’t know.

Covering every command would take far too long, so we’ll hit some highlights and leave the rest up to you.

Built-in Alexa Commands

Your Echo can do a lot right out of the box 7 Creative Uses for Amazon Echo and Alexa 7 Creative Uses for Amazon Echo and Alexa You’ve seen the ads starring Alec Baldwin, but you're still not sure what Amazon Echo does or whether you need one in your home. We’re about to find out. Read More . Here’s a sampling.

Alexa

  • What’s the date? If you ever wake up after being frozen for decades or just forget what day it is, Alexa can help.
  • Set an alarm for 7am. Set an alarm on your Echo without fiddling with your clock or phone’s buttons The 10 Best Alarm Clock Apps for Android in 2016 The 10 Best Alarm Clock Apps for Android in 2016 Having a solid alarm clock app is important if you want to wake up on time. Try out one of these. Read More . You can also set up a schedule by saying Set a repeating alarm for 7am weekdays.
  • Set a timer for five minutes. Perfect when you’re cooking something with dirty hands.
  • Give me my Flash Briefing. Your Echo will bring you the latest news headlines. You can customize your sources, which we’ll discuss later.
  • How is traffic? Once you set up your work address in the Settings (see below), Alexa can give you a heads-up about your commute time 5 Apps To Improve Your Daily Commute 5 Apps To Improve Your Daily Commute Many of us spend more days per year commuting than we do on leave. What if we could speed up or improve that commute by using technology? It turns out we can. Read More .
  • What restaurants are nearby? Find the closest places to grab a bite to eat.
  • What’s the extended forecast for McMurdo Station Antarctica? If you ask about the weather without specifying a place, your Echo uses your current location.
  • Turn on the lights. With the proper smart home devices, Alexa can act as a one-stop hub for controlling your house.
  • Play the Kenny G station on Pandora. See below for more information on music.
  • Order laundry detergent. Your Echo lets you conveniently order from Amazon 4 Big Problems With Alexa Voice Shopping and How to Fix Them 4 Big Problems With Alexa Voice Shopping and How to Fix Them Amazon's Echo devices can order you products with just your voice. Here are some big risks and potential issues you should know about before you jump into this feature. Read More using your voice. Say the name of the product you want to buy (Alexa will list popular options if you don’t specify it exactly). You can send products to your Amazon cart instead if you’re not sure.
  • Track my order. Want to know when your latest Amazon package will arrive? Alexa will tell you.
  • Add pencils to my shopping list. Your Echo can create a shopping list to make it easier to remember what you want to buy.
  • Put finish building my PC on my to-do list. Like the shopping list, you can create a list of tasks using Alexa.
  • Stop. Use this universal command to end audio playback, or just shut Alexa up if she’s babbling too long.

With most commands, you’ll find additional information in the Alexa app. Tap the Home button at the bottom of the screen to see a feed of everything you’ve asked your Echo recently. For instance, when I asked Alexa about nearby Chinese restaurants, she listed off a few names. But visiting the app lets you see reviews, addresses, and business hours.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 07 Echo Dot App Additional Info

If you’re looking for something new to try with Alexa, there’s an entire section of the app to check. Slide open the left menu and select Things to Try for a host of options.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 08 Echo Dot App Things to Try

Amazon Echo Skills

Thanks to talented developers, you aren’t limited to the default Alexa skills. There’s a world of skills that you can browse and add to your Echo in seconds that expand its functionality. To view them, open your Alexa app and select the Skills tab from the left menu.

You’ll see the skills storefront. There’s a lot going on here, but finding new skills isn’t hard. Browse through the front page and you’ll see some of the most popular options, along with the newest additions. Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see categories like Health & Fitness, Local, and Productivity. You can also search for a skill using the top bar.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 09 Echo Dot App Alexa Skills

Select a skill to read more about it. Each one lists the phrases you need to ask Alexa in order to open the skill. You can also read the developer’s description and check reviews. Just press the Enable Skill button at the top to add it to your Echo. After a few moments, you can ask Alexa to launch it. You can also ask Alexa to add skills, but that’s not as useful, as you can’t browse a visual list.

We’ve written all about essential Alexa skills Just Bought an Amazon Echo? Download These 15 Essential Alexa Skills! Just Bought an Amazon Echo? Download These 15 Essential Alexa Skills! Alexa, the virtual assistant powering the Echo line of speakers from Amazon, gets smarter daily thanks to a growing number of skills. Here are 15 skills everyone should enable as soon as they unpack their... Read More and some of the funny ones too 18 Awesome New Amazon Alexa Skills You Need to Try 18 Awesome New Amazon Alexa Skills You Need to Try The Amazon Echo's list of skills is growing all the time. Let's take a look at the most useful and silliest skills from the past few months. Read More , so refer to those lists for some skills to try.

3. Important Echo Dot Functions

You can start asking Alexa questions as soon as you complete the setup. But to get the full experience, you should know about some of the other functions of your Dot.

Echo Dot Buttons and Lights

We haven’t discussed the buttons on your Echo Dot unit yet. Take a look at the top, and you’ll see a few:

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 10 Echo Dot Top Buttons

  • The Plus and Minus buttons control the volume. When you tap one, you’ll notice the white light ring around your Echo grows or shrinks to display the current volume. You can also say Alexa, volume five to set a volume level — any number between 1 and 10 inclusive will work.
  • Tap the Microphone Off button to disable your Echo’s microphones. The device will light up red to let you know it’s disabled and won’t respond to the wake word. Press it again to enable the microphones.
  • The button with a dot is the Action Button. Tap it to wake up your Echo just like saying the wake word. Pressing this button also ends a ringing timer or alarm.

Note that if you have a first generation Echo Dot, you control the volume by twisting the outside ring. The earlier model doesn’t have volume buttons.

Your Echo Dot will often light up with different colors and patterns to communicate with you. Keep an eye out for these common ones:

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 11 Echo Dot Red Light
Image credit: Hedwig Storch via Wikimedia Commons

  • Solid blue with spinning cyan lights: The device is starting up. If you see this regularly, you may be accidentally unplugging your device.
  • Solid blue with a cyan sliver: The Echo is processing what you said.
  • Solid red: You’ve disabled the microphone using the button.
  • Waves of violet: The device encountered an error when setting up WiFi. See the troubleshooting section below if you’re getting this often.
  • Flash of purple light: When you see this after Alexa processes a request, it means your device is in Do Not Disturb mode.
  • Pulsing yellow light: You have a message. Say Alexa, play my messages to hear it.
  • Pulsing green light: You’ve received a call or message. See below for more info on Alexa calling.
  • All lights off: Your Echo is in standby and listening for your requests.

Adding Music Accounts

One of the most useful functions of an Echo is playing music. With just one command, you can set the mood for a party or get your favorite workout music going How to Avoid Boredom by Adding Fun to Your Indoor Workouts How to Avoid Boredom by Adding Fun to Your Indoor Workouts It's time to have fun with workouts because the moment it becomes a chore, you'll stop doing it. Here are a few easy to implement ideas. Read More . It’s a lot faster than hunting through menus on your phone for the right tunes.

Unless you’re streaming music through your Amazon account, you’ll need to connect your accounts to access your libraries. Open the Alexa app on your phone and slide out the left menu. Choose Settings, then scroll down and tap Music & Media. Here, you’ll see the available music services including Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio. Tap the link next to the service you want to connect and follow the steps to sign in and link it to your Echo.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 12 Echo Dot App Music Options

Once you’re signed in, it’s worth tapping the Choose Default Music Service button. This lets you specify what service is primary. For instance, if you say Alexa, play some jazz music and have Spotify set as default, Alexa will always play from Spotify. If you would like to use a different service as your primary, you’ll need to add “from Spotify” every time you ask to play music.

We’ve discussed all the ways to stream music on your Echo All the Ways to Play Music Using Your Amazon Echo All the Ways to Play Music Using Your Amazon Echo The Amazon Echo is capable of doing a lot of different things, but its most obvious skill is playing music. Here are all the ways to listen to music through your Amazon Echo. Read More , so check that out for full details.

Video and Books

Slide out the left menu and tap the Music, Video, & Books option, and you’ll see lots of services. We’ve already discussed music, but Alexa has a few more tricks up her sleeve.

Under the Video section, you can connect your Echo to a Fire TV or Dish Hopper Smart DVR You Can Now Control Dish TV Using Amazon Alexa You Can Now Control Dish TV Using Amazon Alexa The Dish Network has launched a new Alexa skill that lets you control your DVR using nothing but your voice. But is this enough to stop you cutting the cord? Read More . These let you control playback using your voice, which is pretty slick.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 13 Echo Dot App Video Books

If you’re more of a bookworm, scroll down and you can access your Audible and Kindle libraries on your Echo. Alexa can read your Audible audiobooks as well as any Kindle eBooks you own. These must come from the Kindle Store, and Alexa can’t read comics or graphic novels. You also can’t adjust the reading speed. Still, it’s a good way to catch up on reading 8 Alternative Ways to Be Smarter Without Reading Anything 8 Alternative Ways to Be Smarter Without Reading Anything Reading can be time consuming and a strain on the eyes. Here are eight alternatives to become smarter without reading anything. After all, you do want to learn things always. Read More while you’re working.

Connecting Your Echo Dot to External Speakers

Your Dot contains basic speakers that work just fine for talking to Alexa. While they won’t fill the room with sound, they get the job done for basic requests. However, they’re noticeably sub-par when it comes to playing music. Thus, you might want to connect your Dot to a speaker via Bluetooth Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $25 and up to $300 in 2016 Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $25 and up to $300 in 2016 You can't beat the convenience of going wire-free. Great audio quality may always need wired speakers, but for music on your phone Bluetooth speakers are a must-have accessory nowadays. Read More or an audio cable for better sound quality.

To use a 3.5mm audio cable, simply plug one end of the cable into your Echo and the other end into the speakers you wish to use. Then, whenever Alexa plays any audio, you’ll hear it through the superior speakers. Make sure the volume level of both devices is at an acceptable level if you don’t seem to hear anything. Note that you can’t do the reverse and use the cable to play music on your Dot from another device. The low-quality speakers mean this wouldn’t be a good idea anyway.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 14 Echo Dot Audio Cable Speaker

Connecting a Bluetooth speaker just takes a few taps under the Settings menu. Open the Alexa app, slide out the left menu, and select Settings. You should see your device under the Devices heading at the top of the list. Select it, then choose Bluetooth.

On the resulting menu, hit the Pair a New Device button and put your speaker in pairing mode. Select the right device and your Echo will play all audio through that speaker. If you want to break the connection, say Alexa, disconnect Bluetooth and it will play audio solely through your Dot. To reconnect later, say Alexa, connect Bluetooth. Make sure your speaker is on when you do so!

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 15 Echo Dot Connect Bluetooth Speaker

Voice Calling and Messaging

One of Alexa’s newest features is free calling and messaging to other Echo devices You Can Now Make Free Voice Calls Using Alexa You Can Now Make Free Voice Calls Using Alexa Anyone with access to Alexa can now make free voice calls. This not only goes for people with Echo speakers, but also people who have the Alexa app installed on Android or iOS. Read More . You can use this feature to leave a message for a friend, or even call them and chat live at no extra cost. Tap the Messaging tab at the bottom of the app screen to view your recent messages and even send one from the app.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 16 Echo Dot Messages

Check out our guide to Echo calling How to Use Amazon Echo's Voice Calling and Messaging in 3 Easy Steps How to Use Amazon Echo's Voice Calling and Messaging in 3 Easy Steps Your Amazon Echo device and Alexa have been busy learning some new tricks. Long requested by users, messaging and voice calling adds yet another layer of usefulness to the enormously popular voice-activated speaker. Read More for everything you need to know.

Smart Home Functionality

The Echo is a great cornerstone to a smart home setup How Amazon Echo Can Make Your Home A Smart Home How Amazon Echo Can Make Your Home A Smart Home Smart home tech is still in its early days, but a new product from Amazon called "Echo" may help bring it into the mainstream. Read More . Slide open the menu and select the Smart Home option, and you’ll see the Echo’s hub for adding new devices and tweaking them. Diving into creating a smart home is beyond the scope of this article — review our smart gadgets that are easy to set up 5 Easy-to-Setup Smart Home Gadgets for First Timers 5 Easy-to-Setup Smart Home Gadgets for First Timers Smart home automation sounds awesome in theory, but a lot of folks are hesitant to try it out because the learning curve seems hard. If that describes you: it's easier than you think! Read More and our $400 smart home starter kit The $400 Smart Home Starter Kit for the Budget-Conscious Beginner The $400 Smart Home Starter Kit for the Budget-Conscious Beginner Smart homes used to be way too expensive for most people,but now you can have a fully functional smart home for only $400! Don't believe us? Here are the products you need. Read More if you’re itching to tap into this side of your Echo.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 17 Echo Dot App Smart Home Devices

4. Amazon Alexa App Settings

We’ve gone through the basics of using your Echo Dot, along with using Alexa and adding skills. As an Echo owner, you should also know about the useful options hanging out in the Alexa app on your phone. To access it, slide out the left menu and select Settings. Let’s take a tour of what you can do in there.

Change Your Echo’s Wake Word

By default, the wake word for every Echo device is Alexa. But if you don’t like that or have someone in your home with the same name, you can change it. Go to Settings, tap on your device’s name, and scroll down to Wake Word. You can choose from four options: Alexa, Amazon, Echo, and Computer.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 18 Echo Dot Change Wake Word

The last one should appeal to Star Trek fans. But even if you don’t mind Alexa, changing your wake word can help keep your devices from getting hijacked Smart Home Hacking: How to Set Up Your Devices to Stay Safe Smart Home Hacking: How to Set Up Your Devices to Stay Safe When you think of smart home hacking, you probably don't think of Burger King. But smart home security is a big deal -- and Burger King just showed us why. Read More .

Pair a Remote with Your Echo

It’s not included in the box to keep costs down, but Amazon makes a remote for the Echo Dot. If you purchase one, head to Settings > [Device] > Pair device remote and follow the steps to sync it.

Alexa Voice Remote for Amazon Echo and Echo Dot Alexa Voice Remote for Amazon Echo and Echo Dot Official remote for Amazon Echo and Echo Dot (Not compatible with Amazon Tap) Buy Now At Amazon $29.99

Enable Do Not Disturb on Your Echo

If you have lots of friends who also have an Echo device, you probably don’t want them sending you messages all the time. Go into Settings > [Device] > and turn on Do Not Disturb and Alexa won’t notify you if someone calls or sends you a message. You can also schedule a time for Do Not Disturb to automatically activate every day.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 19 Echo Dot Do Not Disturb

Say Alexa, turn on/off Do Not Disturb to change this without digging in the menus.

Adjust Your Echo’s Sound Options

Your Dot doesn’t play sounds super often, but you should tweak the options it offers to your liking. After tapping your device’s name in Settings, tap Sounds.

Try out a new alarm sound by tapping the Alarm entry. Then make sure your Alarm, Timer and Notification Volume is high enough that you hear it. You don’t want to miss an alarm! You can also disable the Audio option under Notifications if you don’t want to know when a new message arrives.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 20 Echo Dot Sound Options

We recommend that every Echo owner turns on Make Sure You Enable This Amazon Echo Setting ASAP Make Sure You Enable This Amazon Echo Setting ASAP The Amazon Echo is great out of the box, but any Echo owner should enable this setting to confirm that Alexa is hearing you. Read More both the Start of Request and End of Request sounds. Whenever you say Alexa, your Echo will play a little tone so you know that it heard you. You’ll also hear the same tone whenever your Echo recognizes that you’re done speaking.

Change Your Echo’s Device Location

Your Echo should set this automatically. But just in case, head to Settings > [Device] > Device location and set your address. This ensures you get the most accurate information when asking about local details.

Get Shipping Notifications on Your Echo

If you like, Alexa can tell you when your Amazon packages are close to delivery How to Enable Echo Notifications for Amazon Packages How to Enable Echo Notifications for Amazon Packages Need to know when your Amazon packages are almost arrived? Now Alexa can alert you with a notification -- here's how to activate it. Read More . Visit Settings > Notifications > Shopping Notifications and turn on the Shipment Notifications. Whenever you see a yellow ring, ask Alexa to read your notifications to see when your item will arrive.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 21 Echo Dot Shipping Notifications

Edit Your Echo’s News Sources

Head to the Flash Briefing section of Settings to change where you get your news from. By default it’s set to NPR’s hourly news summary and the weather. To add sources, tap Get more Flash Briefing content and add any you like. May we suggest MakeUseOf’s Tech News skill?

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 22 Echo Dot Flash Briefing Options

Add Your Favorite Sports Teams to Your Echo

Say Alexa, sports update and she’ll tell you how your favorite teams are doing and what their next game is. But you need to specify which teams you care about first. You can do that in the Settings > Sports Update menu. Just search for a team name and tap it to add it to your list.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 23 Echo Dot Sports Update Options

Specify Your Commute on Your Echo

Remember when we mentioned Alexa’s traffic-finding ability? Head to Settings > Traffic to specify your daily commute. Start with your home address, then specify your work destination. You can even add a stop in between if you always get a morning coffee, or drop your children off at school.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 24 Echo Dot Traffic Commute

Connect Calendars to Your Echo

Alexa can add items to your calendar or let you know what’s coming up in your day. To enable this, you need to connect a calendar service How to Sync Google Calendar with Every Other Platform How to Sync Google Calendar with Every Other Platform Google Calendar is arguably the easiest, most intuitive and most versatile way to organize your day. The only problem users commonly encounter is syncing it with their devices. Read More . Go to Settings > Calendar and you can choose to connect your Google, Outlook, or iCloud calendars. Tap your preference and sign into your account to link them.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 25 Echo Dot Add Calendar

Sync To-Do Lists with Your Echo

The Alexa app includes a basic to-do list. But if you already use another service, you’d probably prefer to integrate it into your existing workflow. Visit Settings > Lists to do this. Select from several popular services To-Do List App Showdown: Any.do vs Todoist vs Wunderlist To-Do List App Showdown: Any.do vs Todoist vs Wunderlist Some to-do list apps stand head and shoulders above the rest. But how do they compare and which one is best for you? We'll help you find out. Read More , including Any.do and Todoist, and you can sign into your accounts to link your lists.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 26 Echo Dot To Do Apps

Train Alexa

If Alexa isn’t hearing you right, you can run through a quick training session. Go to Settings > Voice Training to teach Alexa how you speak. You’ll have to read 25 phrases in your normal voice from a typical distance. Use this and Alexa will have a better idea of how you sound.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 27 Echo Dot Voice Training

Disable Voice Purchasing on Your Echo or Add a PIN

Spending money on Amazon using only your voice might be too tempting for some people. If you don’t want the ability to buy with Alexa, navigate to Settings > Voice Purchasing and disable the slider for Purchase by voice. You can instead specify a four-digit code that’s required when making voice purchases. This prevents guests from goofing off and buying a bunch of junk.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 28 Echo Dot Disable Voice Purchasing

Enable Multiple Household Members on Your Echo

In the Settings > Household Profile section, you can add another adult to your Amazon Household. This lets both people access the other’s content and lets you share lists, among other features. Amazon’s Household feature has uses outside of Alexa, so it’s worth a look.

5. Troubleshooting Echo Dot Issues

Now that you know almost everything about your Echo Dot, let’s wrap up by discussing a few common issues. If one pops up for you, you’ll know how to troubleshoot it.

Note: Just as rebooting your computer fixes lots of issues Why Does Rebooting Your Computer Fix So Many Issues? Why Does Rebooting Your Computer Fix So Many Issues? "Have you tried rebooting?" It's technical advice that gets thrown around a lot, but there's a reason: it works. Not just for PCs, but a wide range of devices. We explain why. Read More , the first troubleshooting step you should always take with your Echo is rebooting it. To power cycle your Dot, simply unplug it, wait a few seconds, then plug it back in and let it boot back up.

Alexa Can’t Hear You

If it seems like Alexa can’t hear you, try moving your Dot away from any obstructions. Move it at least eight inches from any walls if possible.

Also, consider what other noise might block Alexa from hearing you clearly. An air conditioner running all the time near your Echo will make it hard to pick up your voice. Music playing in the room could also hinder Alexa’s hearing.

WiFi Connection Problems

The Echo Dot refusing to connect to WiFi when you’re setting it up, or having it drop the connection randomly, is a common problem. If this is affecting you, first power cycle all of your networking gear, including the Dot, your router, and modem.

Should problems continue after this, try moving your Echo closer to your router. You should also try to keep the Dot away from other devices, like microwaves, that might interfere with it. Disconnect other devices on your network that you aren’t using to avoid wasting bandwidth. Review our tips for making your wireless network faster 4 Reasons Why Your Wi-Fi Is So Slow (And How to Fix Them) 4 Reasons Why Your Wi-Fi Is So Slow (And How to Fix Them) When you rely on Wi-Fi, speed issues can hurt -- and Wi-Fi speed issues aren't always easy to diagnose. Here are some things you ought to check. Read More and how to troubleshoot network issues 7 Simple Steps to Diagnose a Network Problem 7 Simple Steps to Diagnose a Network Problem Network issues are frustrating, especially when the problem lies with your ISP. Next time you can't get online, here's the process you should follow on your end to diagnose the network problem. Read More for further help.

Alexa Misunderstands You Often

Sick of asking Alexa what the weather looks like and getting a fun fact instead? If she isn’t hearing you right, you’ll get all kinds of weird output. The best way to remedy this is running through the voice training feature mentioned above.

Go to Settings > Voice Training and your Echo will ask you to speak 25 phrases from a normal distance. This will train the device to better understand how you speak.

If this doesn’t seem to help, you can check what Alexa thinks you’re saying. Go to Settings > History and you’ll find a list of everything you’ve said to Alexa. Tap an entry and you can play the live audio back, as well as confirming that Alexa did what you wanted. Identifying problem words can help you speak more clearly when addressing your Echo.

How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Echo Dot 29 Echo Dot Voice History

Totally Frozen? Factory Reset Your Echo

If you’ve tried all the above steps and your device is still unresponsive, you might need to take the nuclear solution. You can perform a factory reset on your device to send it back to default settings. Note that this will erase all preferences and skills, so you’ll have to set it up again from scratch.

For the second generation Echo Dot, press and hold the Microphone off and Volume down buttons together for about 20 seconds. You’ll see the light ring turn orange, then blue. After this, your Echo is ready to set up again.

The first generation Dot has a dedicated reset button. Find the small Reset button on the base of your device and use a paper clip to press and hold it. The light ring will turn orange, then blue and it’s back to factory defaults.

Alexa, You’re Awesome

There you have it — the complete guide to setting up and using your new Echo Dot. You’re in for a world of fun with this device. Whether you just want to use it for weather and games or are building an entire smart home around it, you can’t beat what the Dot offers for the price.

After putting all that work into setting up your Echo, take a load off by asking Alexa some funny questions Amazon Alexa Said WHAT? 15 Funny Questions You Can Ask Your Echo Amazon Alexa Said WHAT? 15 Funny Questions You Can Ask Your Echo Alexa is helpful, but sometimes she can be Ms. Literal or just plain funny. Here are 15 phrases you can ask Alexa to get an amusing response out of her. Read More .

What do you like most about your Echo Dot? Have you run into any other problems when using it? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to share this guide with other Echo Dot owners!

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  1. likefunbutnot
    October 10, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    With regard to Dots, don't use Bluetooth when you can easily connect an Aux cord. The sound quality will be better and you'll have one less source for troubleshooting audio issues if there's ever a problem. After playing with a number of different bluetooth receivers in all kinds of radio frequency environments, I've found that sometimes bluetooth stuff will just disconnect and not resume connection. It's not difficult to fix, but if you're setting up a Dot for someone less technically capable, it's one less thing to worry about.

    Echoes and Dots (but not Taps) can be added to Groups now for multi-room playback. This was something I dearly wanted when I first got an Echo and I'm happy to report that it works wonderfully. The options to configure several Alexa devices is found at the bottom of the Settings section of the Alexa app or web page.

    Sometimes, Alexa will not respond to non-native words or phrases unless they're pronounced as they are written, even if Alexa will reply with the correct pronunciation. As someone who loves classical music, this drives me completely insane. Alexa also has a lot of trouble with artists or titles that have indefinite articles in them (e.g. "Something"). A cheat to deal with these things it to make Playlists for frequently misheard artists or titles in the Amazon Music web site or desktop application. I have no idea how some poor user with a Kindle or Audible title would deal with that issue.

    Alexa users really should carefully consider whether or not they want to share contact info with Amazon. I've discovered that many of my business contacts have Alexa devices. as well and on at least one occasion I had a customer call me via their Echo. I did NOT appreciate that interruption, but as far as I can tell there's no way to selectively, fully remove someone from Alexa's messaging without disabling it completely.