I can remember waking up one morning as a new Echo owner, glancing at my nightstand and asking myself “why is Alexa flashing yellow?”.
A quick search showed me that Alexa flashes yellow because you have a message. Simple enough, but I still had some more questions. I didn’t know my Echo could get messages up until that point even. Where did the message come from? How do I send messages? Let’s dig in to take a look at Alexa-To-Alexa Messaging and how it works.
Amazon has a service built in called “Alexa Communication”. This provides calling and messaging Alexa devices and the Alexa App. There are three key features with Alexa Communication.
- Alexa-to Alexa Messaging which we’ll be covering here. This is where you can send messages between your devices.
- Alexa-to-Alexa Calling – This is where you can receive and make calls between Echo devices and/or the Alexa App. You can make video calls with the Echo Show.
- Actual Landline and Mobile calls – Alexa will even allow you to call an actual phone number in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Signing Up For Alexa Communication
The first thing you need to do is sign up. To do this, open the Alexa app on a compatible device. You’ll need three things to get started.
- A cell phone number.
- An Amazon account (duh!)
- Your Alexa App via Iphone or Android
It’s important to note that Alexa Communication has nothing to do with your mobile device plan, and this feature doesn’t use your minutes or texts. If your mobile device is, however, connected to the Internet through your mobile network, this will use data just like any other app accessing the internet.
Signing up might be pretty self explanatory for a lot of people. Just follow these steps though
You might be prompted to verify your phone number via text message. If you don’t receive this message, you can try again by pressing “Resend Code”.
You can also check out the Amazon Help Section for Alexa Communication.
About contacts in Alexa:
You’re going to want to grant permission to upload the contacts saved on your phone when you sign up for Alexa Communication. Otherwise, you’ll be pretty limited to what you can do with it.
When setting up Alexa Communication, you can choose to import contacts from your phone or tablet to the Alexa contacts list in the Alexa app.
To view your contacts in the Alexa app, open the Communication button , and select the Contacts . You can open a contact card to determine if they have an Alexa compatible device, and have set up Alexa Communication using the number in your uploaded contacts.
Managing your contacts
Obviously, you can now view and edit your personal contacts imported from your smartphone in the Alexa app. All of the contacts saved to your phone will be shown in the app.
You can create contacts inside the app itself or you could import them from your address book. You could also edit or delete contacts created in the Alexa app by clicking on their individual contact card.
Setting up profiles for multiple users:
Do you share devices with other people in your household? If so, you can each create a profile by signing up in the Alexa app individually. This way Alexa only uses your name and contacts while sending messages and making phone calls.
To set up a profile in the Alexa app:
- Press the Communicate icon .
- Select Get Started. (Follow the on-screen directions.)
- A screen will pop up saying “Help Alexa get to know you”. Select your profile or click “I’m someone else”.
- Enter your information when prompted.
You can now use contacts from all users in your household from shared devices. Ask Alexa to call a particular contact, and she’ll find that contact from available contact lists and makes the call using your profile.
How to message your contacts:
You can message your contacts using your voice with your echo device or through the Alexa app. To send a voice message using an echo device, just say “Alexa send a message to (Insert Name Here)”. Alexa will prompt you for the message and when you finish talking, she’ll send it automatically to the contact.
You can also send messages to Alexa contacts in your Alexa app. Here’s how to do that:
- Select the communication icon to start a new message.
- Select a contact from your contact list select an icon to start a conversation. To respond to an existing conversation select from the conversations shown.
- Select the text field to call up your keyboard, type your message and then select the send icon.
How to listen to your Alexa messages – The reason Alexa is flashing yellow:
When you get a message the echo device chimes and you’ll notice Alexa blinking yellow until you check your messages. You’ll also receive a notification on your phone. To listen to your messages you can just say “Alexa, play my messages”.
To find your messages in the Alexa app you can click on the message notification or select the communication icon. Select the conversation with the new notification icon. Here, you can press the play icon to listen to the message or read the message transcribed into text.
As, you’ve probably put together reading the previous sections, you can also place voice calls with Alexa. This can be done with most newer models of Iphone and Android devices.
The Echo Show can take this one step further and make video calls. There’s also the drop-in feature to call someone else’s Echo device directly. This is more like an intercom feature, but the other device could be a thousand miles away. And, as we’ve mentioned, you can call most mobile phones and landlines in the US, Canada and Mexico, which we’ll cover in the next section.
How to make an Alexa-To-Alexa call:
You’re set up for Alexa communication, you’ve imported your contacts, you know how to send messages. But, how do you make calls with Alexa?
To make a call with Alexa, just simply ask her to make the call. For instance, say: “Alexa, call [name of contact],” and Alexa will automatically make dial their phone number.
If you’d like to place the call with the Alexa app, navigate your phone to the Communication screen. Tap the Call button. Select the person you’d like to call from your contacts. Tap the person’s name. If they’re set up to receive calls through Alexa, you’ll see options for Alexa Audio Call and Alexa Video Call.
The call will now go to the recipient’s Echo devices and Alexa app on the their smartphone. They can answer either of their devices.
When you receive a call, the light ring on your Echo will turn green, the app will alert you of an incoming call. On an Echo Show or in the Alexa app, you can see the contact name of the caller. On your regular Echo, Dot, etc, you’ll get a voice identification of your caller. To answer the call, just say: “Alexa, answer” or decline the call saying: “Alexa, ignore.”
Call Someone’s Phone With Your Amazon Echo
You can make voice calls with any device in the Echo lineup. After you’ve set up Alexa-to-Alexa Calling, your mobile phone number is associated with your account and is the number that appears to people you call through your Echo.
To place a call to someone in your mobile phone’s contact list, say: “Alexa, call (contact name)”. She will ask you whether you want to reach them by Alexa Device or one of the phone numbers you have listed in your contacts.
You can be more specific though. For instance: “Alexa, call (contact name) mobile,”
When you’re done, just say: “Alexa, hang up,” and the call is ended. You could also call a contact from the Alexa app by selecting the person’s name.
If you want to contact someone who is not in your contacts say: “Alexa, call (say phone number).
How easy is that? Amazon’s line of Amazon Alexa devices is obviously capable of much more. This, in my opinion, is one of the more useful and productive features. It just takes a little getting use to. So, now when Alexa is flashing yellow just say “Alexa, play my messages”.
Please feel free to comment below and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might be struggling with when it comes to Alexa. Also, check out my latest list of Alexa enabled devices in the Smart Home Installation Kit.