Alexa Settings

Alexa Settings – What To Change and How?

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Amazon Alexa is a voice-controlled assistant that has the ability to turn words into action. It enables you to search voice-configured queries, play music, solve math problems, read the news, and control various devices in your home. Let us discuss how you can customize Alexa settings and transform your humble abode into a smart home.

How to Set Up Alexa on Amazon Echo

Although Amazon offers several Echo devices, it uses the same smart assistant for handling voice commands. However, the method for setting Alexa on each device is pretty much the same. To set up Alexa on Amazon Echo, follow the steps below. I’ve also included a video below to walk you through the process since there are some small variations between certain echo device setups.

Step 1: Download The Amazon Alexa App

First off, you need to install the Amazon Alexa app on your mobile phone. Amazon Alexa is available on both Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, so you won’t have any problems finding it. While you don’t need to use this app often in the future, it’s essential for the initial setup.

Login to your Alexa App using your Amazon username and password. If you don’t have one, you can create really quickly. Confirm your name and approve authorizations that the app requests.

Installing Alexa On Your Android Device
Installing Alexa On Your iOS Device

Step 2: Plug-In Your Echo And Wait For Orange Glowing Light

After getting the required software, you need to plug your Amazon Echo device into a wall outlet. As the device starts receiving power, the light ring on top will first turn blue and then orange after a few seconds. When the initialization process is completed, your Echo device will greet you with a short welcome message.

Alexa Echo Turns Orange to initialize setup process.
Alexa will glow blue for about a minute and then orange.

Step 3: Click Hamburger Menu Icon To Display Alexa Settings Menu

Following the previous step, open the Alexa app that you had downloaded previously. As the app opens, you will see a hamburger menu at the top left corner of the screen, represented by three horizontal lines. Click to expand the settings menu.

Alexa Settings Menu During Setup
Click the hamburger menu option to display Alexa Settings.

Step 4: Select Add Device > Amazon Echo

Choose the option “Add Device“. You will then see a list of different Amazon devices. Select the name of the device you are installing Alexa on. Here, you need to select “Amazon Echo“. 

Alexa Settings - Select Add Device
Select Add Device
Alexa Settings, Select Amazon Echo
Select Amazon Echo

Step 5: Select Your Echo Model

Next, you’ll need to choose which Echo you’re going to use. Click your model and it will bring you to a page asking if you Echo is plugged in and displaying an orange light. Assuming yours is, click “Yes”. If you don’t see an orange light then click “Don’t see the orange light?” and follow the prompted instructions.

Step 6: Wait For The Alexa App To Locate Your Echo

Next, the application will search for your Echo over your home network. Be patient as it searches and you should she it pop up on the screen. Click it when it pops up and it will prompt you to set it up on your WiFi. If you don’t see it after a couple minutes, click “Don’t see your device?” at the bottom of the screen. In that case, the App will guide you through a quick manual workaround.

Step 7 Connect Your Echo To Your Home WiFi

A screen should now pop up asking you to select the home WiFi you’d like to use for your Echo device. Select the desired network and enter your password.

The completion of the entire setup might take time, depending on the speed of your Wi-Fi connection. When the setup is completed, your Amazon Echo device will be listed online, and the light ring will turn off.

Congratulations! You’re Amazon Echo Is Ready To Use.

The following screen should display an informative video to learn Alexa’s basic operation, features and settings. We’ll get into some of these in the sections ahead.

You've completed Alexa's Echo Setup.  Settings for Alexa are next.

How to Use Amazon Echo

After configuring the basic setup, you can start using your Amazon Echo. While the majority of Echo models have control buttons on top, you will probably use your voice to interact with the Echo device most of the time.

If you want to give a command, you need to say the “wake word” for Alexa, which is by default “Alexa“. For instance, if you want to ask Alexa about the time, you can say, “Alexa, what time is it?“. However, you can change this wake word if you prefer another phrase. The Echo device can respond to a few words such as “Computer” or “Echo” as well. I wanted to name mine “Jarvis” like Tony Stark’s AI assistant in Iron Man, but you’re limited to a few different wake words and that isn’t one of them, unfortunately. (I can’t be the only one that tried to do this!)

How to Change Your Alexa Settings

After the initial setup, your Echo device is ready to respond to your commands. Alexa has numerous settings that you can tap into to make your device more useful. The following paragraphs will show you how to change your Alexa settings. You can find all of these settings by tapping the hamburger menu and then “Settings” in the Alexa app. It’s important for you to explore all these settings for configuring Alexa, according to your needs.

Note: Other Settings for Alexa can be found in the “Routines” and “Skills” options.

Changing your Alexa settings can be accomplished by clicking the hamburger button in the top left corner.
Settings for Alexa can be found in Routines, Alexa Skill Settings and in the Settings section itself.

How to Turn on Alexa Brief Mode 

If you want short and concise answers, then you should consider using the “Brief Mode.” This setting enables Alexa to give shorter replies. Sometimes, it will just play a sound to signal that it has heard your request.

To enable the Brief Mode, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Search for the hamburger icon at the top left corner of your screen and tap it.
  3. Choose the Settings option and then select Account Settings.
  4. Tap Alexa Voice Responses and then toggle Brief Mode on.

How to Enable Alexa Whisper Mode

You also have the option to enable Alexa to listen to whispered responses. You can Enable Whisper Mode the same way as you enabled the Brief Mode. The only difference is that you will have to toggle Whisper Responses on after tapping Alexa Voice Responses.

How to Set Your Location For Weather Updates In Alexa Settings

Setting the weather forecast updates in Alexa should be already enabled, but it’s important to make sure your device location is set properly. The following steps will walk you through setting your Echo’s location.

  1. Open the drop-down menu by selecting the hamburger icon at the top left of the home screen in your Alexa App.
  2. Select “Settings“, then “Device Settings“.
  3. Select your “Alexa Device“, then “Device Location.” 
  4. Enter your address and press “Save
  5. Once the configuration completes, just say, “Alexa, weather update” or “Alexa, how’s the weather?
Alexa Settings
Select Settings
Select Device Settings on your Alexa app
Select Device Settings
Choose Echo Device Settings
Choose Your Echo Device
Select your device location
Select Device Location
Enter your address
Enter Address And Select Save

How to Link to Your Preferred Music Service Account on Alexa

Alexa also allows you to link your preferred music service account to your Echo speaker. Just follow these tips to activate this setting:

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Look for the hamburger icon at the top left corner of your screen and tap it.
  3. Choose the Settings option and then select Music.
  4. See if you can see your preferred music service under Manage Services. If you do, tap its option, select Link Account and follow linking instructions the app tells you.
  5. If you can’t see your service, choose Link New service and then choose the service name you listen to, such as Apple Music, or SiriusXM, etc. After that, tap Enable To Use and follow linking instructions the app tells you.
Again, navigate to Alexa's settings by clicking the hamburger menu.
Select music settings
Add your desired streaming account to Alexa.  s

How to Enable Traffic Reports on Alexa

Enabling traffic reports on your Alexa is relatively straightforward since there is a ‘Traffic’ entry in the settings menu. Just follow the steps below to configure traffic updates:

  1. First off, navigate to the Settings of your Echo device and choose Traffic.
  2. In the Traffic menu, the “From” section is pre-populated with the mailing address set to your Amazon account. If it is not, or if you want to use a different address, you can choose “Change address” and then edit it.
  3. Next, choose “Add address” and enter your destination in the “To” section. If you make stops during your trip, you can select the “Add stop” box to include additional stops on your route. 
  4. Once the configuration completes, just say, “Alexa, traffic update.” The device will indicate the fastest route to your destination, along with the estimated commute time. Furthermore, the device will also update alternative routes and route information and as a notification in your phone’s Alexa app.
Alexa Traffic Settings
Enter Your Home Address and Destination Address

How to Configure Your News Sources on Alexa

You can get your dose of daily news by enabling Alexa Flash Briefings in your Echo device. However, you can customize which news sources you prefer to hear from in Alexa flash briefing. For that, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Search for the hamburger icon at the top left corner of your screen and tap it.
  3. Choose the Settings option and scroll down to select Flash Briefing
  4. Select Add Content and choose a flash briefing. If you don’t find your preferred source, you can search for it by tapping the magnifying glass displayed on the top right corner of the screen.
  5. Choose the Enable To Use to start the news update service.
  6. Repeat the steps 4 and 5 to add all your preferred flash briefings.
  7. To get updates on news, just say, “Alexa, play my flash briefing.” After hearing this command, Alexa will play your entire flash briefings one after the other.


Alexa offers various other exciting features, most of which can be added through Alexa Skills. This feature enables you to add more functionality to your Echo device with the help of third-party developers. To access these features, go to the Skills Store through the main menu, and tap “Skills“: Here, you can download all kinds of different skills, and enjoy the smart home experience available.

To learn more about Alexa Routines and Skills click here.

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