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Alexa and Alexa Device FAQs

Alexa FAQs

1. How do I use Alexa?

Alexa allows you to ask questions and make requests using just your voice. For instance, you can ask Alexa a question, such as "What is the weather today in London?", or tell Alexa to do something, like "add cat food to my shopping list," or "play jazz." When you speak to Alexa, a recording of what you asked Alexa is sent to Amazon’s Cloud so we can process and respond to your request. You access Alexa differently based on the type of device you are using. For “hands free” devices, like Amazon Echo, you access Alexa by saying the wake word (Alexa, Echo, Amazon or Computer). For other devices, like certain Fire tablets, you access Alexa by pressing a button

2. What happens when I speak to Alexa?

When you speak to Alexa, a recording of what you asked Alexa is sent to Amazon’s Cloud where we process your request and other information to respond to you. For example, when you ask “Alexa, play top hits on Amazon Music” we use the recording of your request and information from Amazon Music to play top hits.

3. Is Alexa recording all my conversations?

No. Echo devices are designed to detect only your chosen wake word (Alexa, Amazon, Computer or Echo). The device detects the wake word by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word. No audio is stored or sent to the cloud unless the device detects the wake word (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button).

4. Can I review and delete my voice recordings?

Yes. You can review voice recordings associated with your account and delete those voice recordings one by one or all at once by visiting Privacy in Settings in the Alexa App or www.amazon.co.uk/alexaprivacy. You can also review those voice recordings by visiting History in Settings in the Alexa App and delete those voice recordings all at once for each of your Alexa-enabled products by visiting Manage Your Content and Devices located at www.amazon.co.uk/mycd. If you have changed your default marketplace while using an Alexa-enabled product, you will need to perform this step for each marketplace to delete all voice recordings associated with your account.

Deleting voice recordings may degrade your Alexa experience. If you delete voice recordings, we will also remove Home Screen Cards in the Alexa App related to those voice recordings. However, removing a Home Screen Card from your Alexa App does not delete voice recordings. Note that deleting your voice recordings does not remove your Alexa messages. For more information on removing messages, refer to the FAQ “How do I remove messages?”.

5. How are my voice recordings used?

Alexa uses your voice recordings and other information, including from third-party services, to answer your questions, fulfill your requests, and improve your experience and our services. We associate your requests with your Amazon account to allow you to review your voice recordings, access other Amazon services (e.g., so you can ask Alexa to read your Kindle books and play audiobooks from Audible), and to provide you with a more personalized experience. For example, keeping track of the songs you have listened to helps Alexa choose what songs to play when you say, “Alexa, play music.”  At times, Alexa may make recommendations to you based on your requests.  For example, Alexa may recommend Alexa skills you might like based on the Alexa skills you use.

6. How do my voice recordings improve Alexa?

Alexa is a continuously improving service that is designed to get smarter every day. The more you use Alexa, the more the service adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. For example, we use your requests to Alexa to train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems. The more data we use to train these systems, the better Alexa works, and training Alexa with voice recordings from a diverse range of customers helps ensure Alexa works well for everyone. You can also help us improve our voice services by providing feedback within History in the Alexa App.

7. How do Alexa skills work?

Skills are voice-driven Alexa capabilities. You can view and enable skills in your Alexa App and enable certain skills by voice. You can use a skill by saying a specific phrase for the skill, called the invocation name. When you use a skill, we may exchange related information with the developer of that skill, such as your answers when you play a trivia skill, your postcode when you ask for the weather, or the content of your requests (but not the voice recordings). If you make a request to Alexa without using a skill invocation name, we may enable and launch the skill we think is best able to respond to your request and share the content of your request with that skill. The Skills portion of your Alexa App contains more information about skills, such as applicable policies or terms of use provided by skill developers.

8. How does voice purchasing work?

Prime members can ask Alexa to order or reorder eligible products available for sale through the Amazon website. You can also subscribe to eligible services using Alexa. We’ll use your default payment and delivery settings. You can require a speakable confirmation code, turn purchasing off, and see product and order details in your Alexa App or alexa.amazon.co.uk for those orders. Just like orders placed through the Amazon website, orders placed through Alexa are subject to Amazon.co.uk's Conditions of Use & Sale and, in the case of a subscription for a service, the terms for the applicable service.

Some Alexa skills allow you to purchase products or services from the developer of the skill via Amazon Pay using your default payment and delivery settings. You can view your Amazon Pay order history and find additional information for those purchases on the Amazon Pay website.

Some other Alexa skills allow you to purchase products and services from the developer of the skill using a payment method you provide directly to the developer. Your voice purchasing settings may not apply to those purchases.

9. Can I turn off voice purchasing?

Yes, Alexa has voice purchasing settings. Open Settings > Voice Purchasing in your Alexa App to turn off voice purchasing from Amazon. You can also require an optional confirmation code that Alexa will ask you to say out loud when you want to place an order from Amazon.

10. What are the return and cancellation policies for products I order using Alexa?

For information on return policies applicable to products purchased on Amazon using Alexa, see About Our Returns Policies. In addition, non-digital products purchased using Alexa are eligible for free returns. To return a product purchased using Alexa, process your return as normal in the Returns Centre. We’ll automatically refund you any delivery charges applied to the return. You should see the delivery refund within 7 days of receiving your product refund.

Amazon's return policies do not apply to purchases of products or services made through third-party Alexa skills (for instance, a food order placed through a restaurant's skill). Instead, the returns policy of the applicable skill developer applies. However, the Amazon Pay A-to-z Guarantee covers qualified purchases of physical products made through third-party Alexa skills using Amazon Pay.

For subscriptions to Amazon services, see the terms of use for the applicable subscription for information on refund eligibility.

11. How does Alexa work with smart home devices?

Alexa enables you to control and check the status of a variety of smart home devices, such as lights, electrical sockets, cameras and thermostats. See compatible smart home devices. You can connect compatible smart home devices to Alexa using Alexa smart home skills. You can also directly connect certain smart home devices to Echo devices with a built-in smart home hub like Echo Plus. We may automatically update the firmware for certain devices on behalf of the applicable manufacturer. We may receive information about third-party smart home devices you connect to Alexa, such as device type, name, features, status and usage history.

12. What are kids skills and how do I enable them?

Kids skills are skills that have been identified by the developer as directed to children. Kids skills are turned off by default. You can turn all kids skills on in the Settings menu of your Alexa App. You can turn off all kids skills at any time by changing that same setting. When turned off, kids skills cannot be used on your account. You can find more information about each kid skill, including any terms provided by the developer of the skill, on the detail page for the skill in your Alexa App. Learn More.

Alexa Calling and Messaging FAQs

1. What is Alexa Calling and Messaging?

This free feature brings the simplicity of Echo's hands-free experience, the benefit of Echo's microphone array, plus the high-quality sound of the Echo speaker, to calling and messaging. Now you can quickly call and send/receive voice messages for your family and friends via Alexa—all just by using your voice. Using your supported Echo device, simply say "Alexa, call Grandma" or "Alexa, send a message to Julie".

2. What devices support Alexa Calling and Messaging?

You can send and receive Alexa messages (and place and receive Alexa calls) between a supported Echo device and the Alexa App on supported mobile phones and tablets. Alexa Calling and Messaging may also be available on some third party Alexa-enabled products. Features may vary by device.

3. How does Alexa messaging work?

You can use supported Echo devices and the Alexa App to send voice and text messages to another Alexa calling and messaging user(e.g., on Echo, "Alexa, send a message to Mum" or, on the Alexa App, tapping on the message icon on Mum's contact card). Messages are processed in the Cloud to convert voice messages to text, and vice versa. When you receive a message on a supported Echo device, you will hear an audio tone and see a visual notification. You will be able to retrieve the message on your supported Echo devices by saying "Alexa, play my messages". When you receive a message, you also will receive a notification on your mobile phone or tablet, and you will be able to view and play the message in the Alexa App. Alexa messaging does not support sending or receiving text messages to or from phone numbers.

4. How does Alexa calling work?

You can use supported Echo devices and the Alexa App to call another Alexa Calling and Messaging user (e.g., on Echo, "Alexa, call Mum" or, on the Alexa App, tapping on the calling icon on Mum's contact card). When you receive Alexa calls on your supported Echo devices, Alexa will tell you that you have an incoming call and identify the caller. You also will see a rotating green light indicator on Echo devices without a screen, and an incoming call screen on Echo devices with a screen. You can say "Alexa, answer" to pick up the call. Either person can end the call by saying "Alexa, hang up". When you receive a call, you also will receive a notification on your mobile phone or tablet and will see an incoming call screen in the Alexa App that lets you answer the call. Alexa calling does not support calling phone numbers or receiving calls from phone numbers. For information on placing calls using Echo Connect, see the below FAQ "How does calling on Echo Connect work?"

5. Can I text or call emergency services using Alexa Calling and Messaging?

No, you can't reach emergency services, such as 999 or 112, through Alexa calling and messaging. You should ensure that you can contact your relevant emergency services providers through a mobile, landline telephone, or other service. For information on calling emergency services using Echo Connect, see the below FAQ "Can I call emergency services with Echo Connect?"

6. How do I add contacts for Alexa Calling and Messaging?

When you register for Alexa calling and messaging on your Alexa App, you will be asked to import your contacts, which will then appear as contacts in your Alexa App. When you open the Alexa App, your contacts are auto-updated from your tablet or mobile phone. You can also add contacts at alexa.amazon.co.uk

7. Do I need to give permission for others to call or message me?

First you must register for Alexa Calling and Messaging. Once you are registered, if another Alexa Calling and Messaging user has your contact details, they can reach you via Alexa.

8. Who will receive my calls or messages?

If you call or message another Alexa Calling and Messaging user (e.g. "Jane Smith"), the call or message will go to all supported Echo devices associated with that contact, as well as that contact's Alexa App.

9. What is Do Not Disturb mode?

Do Not Disturb puts your Echo device on silent, meaning you will not receive calls or messages via Alexa. Simply say "Alexa, turn on do not disturb" or you can turn it on in Settings in the Alexa App. When you're ready to receive calls and messages again, just say "Alexa, turn off do not disturb".

10. How do I remove messages from my conversation list?

On the iOS version of the Alexa App, swipe a conversation to the left and click "Remove". On the Android version of the Alexa App, long-press on a conversation to select it, then tap the trash icon in the top navigation bar. Note that removing a conversation from your conversation list does not remove it from your contact's conversation list. It is not possible for you to remove sent or received messages from a contact's conversation list.

11. How do I de-register from Alexa Calling and Messaging?

You can call Customer Service, and we will help you de-register from Alexa Calling and Messaging.

12. What is Drop In?

The optional Drop In feature will let you easily connect with your closest friends and family on supported Echo devices. To give Drop In permission to yourself (and your household) or a contact (and that contact’s household), select the applicable contact card and turn on Drop In. In addition, you can give Drop In permission to yourself (and your household) by simply saying “Alexa, Drop In on Home”. To turn off Drop In for your household, you can simply say “Alexa, disable Drop In”. Alternatively, you can turn on Do Not Disturb on one, or all, Echo devices by saying "Alexa, turn on Do Not Disturb". You also may disable Drop In for a specific device via the device settings in the Alexa App.

13. When someone drops in on my device, what do they hear and see?

When someone drops in on your supported Echo device, you will hear an audio tone and see a visual indicator that someone is dropping in on you. The contact on the other side of the Drop In will automatically hear audio through your device. You may end the Drop In by saying "Alexa, hang up". On Echo devices without a screen, you will see a green in-call light indicator showing that a Drop In is in progress.

If a contact with the Alexa App or an Echo device with a screen drops in on your Echo device with a screen, they will see a frosted glass view from your device's camera. The frosted glass view will automatically transition to clear video over a short period of time. You will see the contact's video (and a picture-in-picture view of your own video) when the Drop In is in progress. You can end a Drop In by tapping the end icon on the screen, or you can disable the camera while continuing an audio conversation by saying "Alexa, video off" or tapping the video off icon on the screen.

14. What is a recently active indicator?

If household members or contacts have been granted Drop In permission, they will see a recently active indicator on their Echo Show, Echo Spot or Alexa App displaying whether someone is nearby your supported Echo devices. Interactions with Alexa, and motion sensors on Echo Show, will be used to determine whether your device has been recently active.

15. How do I disable Drop In?

If you have granted your household members Drop In permission, you can disable it by saying “Alexa, disable Drop In” or turning off Drop In on your own contact card. If you have granted any other contacts Drop In permission, you can disable that on their contact cards. You also may disable Drop In for a specific device via the device settings in the Alexa App.

16. What are Announcements?

The Announcements feature lets you easily make announcements to other supported Echo devices within your household, like a one-way intercom. Simply say, “Alexa, announce that dinner’s ready” and “Dinner’s ready” will then be announced in your voice to all supported Echo devices in your household. You can block Announcements on one, or all, Echo devices by turning on Do Not Disturb – simply say "Alexa, turn on Do Not Disturb". Unlike Drop In, Announcements are one-way only. To respond to an Announcement, you can make a new Announcement or start a Drop In as a two-way intercom.

17. Can I link third-party communications services with Alexa Calling and Messaging?

Yes, you can link select third-party communications services with Alexa Calling and Messaging. Simply go to “Communications” within Settings in the Alexa App. Amazon may import and save your contacts from your third-party communications service in the Cloud to help you connect with your friends and family. Some features may not be available via Alexa, and charges from the third-party communications service may apply for use of some features. You should check any terms applicable to the third-party communications service (including whether emergency services are available) prior to linking your account with Alexa.

Alexa-enabled Echo devices FAQs

Alexa-enabled Echo devices, like Amazon Echo and Echo Show are hands free Alexa-enabled devices.

1. How do Echo devices recognise the wake word?

Echo devices are designed to detect only your chosen wake word (Alexa, Amazon, Computer or Echo). The device detects the wake word by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word. Once the word is detected, audio begins streaming to the cloud, including a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word. No audio is stored or sent to the Cloud unless the device detects the wake word (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button).

2. How do I know when Echo devices are streaming audio to the Cloud?

When Echo devices detect the wake word, or when the action button available on some Echo devices is pressed to activate Alexa, a visual indicator appears on the device to indicate that the device is streaming audio to the Cloud. For instance, a light ring on the Amazon Echo will turn blue or a blue bar will appear on Echo Show. When you use the wake word, the audio stream includes a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word, and closes once your question or request has been processed. You can turn on Follow-Up Mode to enable Alexa to respond to a series of requests without repeating the wake word. Learn more. You can also configure Echo devices to play a short audible tone any time audio is sent to the cloud within settings in the Alexa App.

3. Can I turn off the microphones on Echo devices?

Yes. Echo devices are equipped with a microphone off button. When the button is pressed, the power to the microphones is disconnected and a dedicated red light is illuminated. When the microphones are turned off, your device cannot record and stream audio to the Cloud.

3. How do Echo devices with a screen know to turn on the screen?

Echo devices with a screen will turn on the screen when they detect the wake word or motion in view of the camera or when you interact with the device's display or buttons.

4. How do I know when Echo devices with a camera are streaming images or video to the Cloud?

There will be an on-screen indicator whenever Echo devices with a camera are streaming images or video to the Cloud. For instance, if a video call is active, the device’s screen will display a picture-in-picture view of the video being streamed to the Cloud or will display a green "call in progress" bar at the bottom of the screen.

5. Can I turn off the camera on Echo devices with a camera?

Yes. You can turn off the camera on Echo devices with a camera by pushing the microphone/camera off button on your device. When the microphone/camera off button is pressed, the power to the camera and the microphones is disconnected and a dedicated red light is illuminated. When the camera is turned off, the power to the camera and the microphones is disconnected and a dedicated red light is illuminated. When the camera is turned off, the device will not detect motion in view of the camera and you will not be able to use any features that rely on the camera such as video calling.

Echo Connect FAQs

Echo Connect is an accessory that transforms any supported Echo device into a hands-free speaker phone for your home phone line.

1. What do I need in order to use Echo Connect?

You need a home phone service (such as a landline or VoIP service), wi-fi, and a supported Echo device (Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, Echo Plus, and Echo Show). One Echo Connect can support only one phone line, and only one Echo Connect can be registered per Amazon account.

2. How does calling on Echo Connect work?

Echo Connect extends and is not a replacement for your traditional telephone service. Plug Echo Connect into your home phone jack or VoIP adapter. You will also need to setup your supported Echo device. Then visit alexa.amazon.co.uk, or register for Alexa Calling and Messaging in the Alexa app in order to complete set up of your Echo Connect.

With Echo Connect, you can ask Alexa to make calls using your home phone service to your contacts or to other numbers supported by your home phone service provider (e.g. "Alexa, call Mom" or "Alexa, call 03069990978). Echo Connect will display your home phone number as caller ID, unless you disable caller ID with your home phone service provider.

You can also use your supported Echo devices to answer incoming calls to your home phone service (e.g. "Alexa, answer the phone"). As Echo Connect uses your existing home phone service to make and receive calls, home phone service provider charges may apply. Some calling features you may use on your home phone (such as call waiting and three-way calling) are not available through Echo Connect.

3. What's the difference between Alexa Calling and Echo Connect?

Echo Connect will use your home phone service to make and receive your calls. The mobile number used to register for Alexa Calling and Messaging will be displayed as a caller ID for calls made using Alexa Calling. You can disable the caller ID feature through your contact card in the Alexa App.

Alexa Calling uses your Echo device's internet connection to place calls to another person who has registered for Alexa calling and messaging. For more information on Alexa Calling, see the above Alexa Calling and Messaging FAQs.

If you select Echo Connect, your home phone service will be used to place all calls and your home phone number will be displayed as caller ID.

4. I have an Echo Connect but also use Alexa Calling. How will my call to an Alexa contact be processed?

If you want to call another Alexa Calling and Messaging user, there are a few different ways your call may be processed.

If you specify just the name of the person you would like to call (e.g. "Alexa, call Mum"), Alexa will default to placing the call through Alexa Calling to mom's supported Echo devices or the Alexa app.

If you specify the name of the person and their phone type (e.g. "Alexa, call Mum's mobile") Alexa will place the call to mom's mobile using your home phone service through your Echo Connect. For more information, see the above FAQ "What's the difference between Alexa Calling and Echo Connect."

5. Can I call emergency services with Echo Connect?

Yes, calling emergency services as 999 or 112 through Echo Connect works just like dialling any other phone number. Simply say, "Alexa, call 999”. Please note that if Echo Connect is used to call emergency numbers like 999, the location information given to the emergency service, if any, may be the address associated with the phone line connected to your Echo Connect, which may not be the same as the location of your Echo device from which you are making the call. Echo Connect will not function in the event of a power or broadband outage or other connectivity issues. If you are unable to place your call through your Echo Connect, you should use your mobile, landline telephone, or other telephone service.

Alexa on Fire Tablets FAQs

The Fire HD 8 (8th Generation) and Fire HD 10 (7th Generation) tablet supports Alexa hands-free. The Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 (7th Generation) tablets also support Alexa hands-free when the screen is on and/or when the tablet is connected to power. The Fire HD 8 (8th Generation) devices also support Show Mode, an Alexa experience that provides full-screen visual responses to voice commands.

1. How do I activate Alexa hands-free on my Fire tablet?

You can turn on Alexa hands-free in your device settings (Settings > Alexa) by ensuring that both Alexa and Hands-Free Mode settings are enabled. To enter Show Mode, swipe down from the Quick Actions menu and toggle Show Mode, or ask Alexa to “Switch to Show Mode.”

2. How does Alexa hands-free on my Fire tablet recognise the wake word?

Alexa on your Fire tablet uses on-device keyword spotting to detect the wake word, even when your device is in standby mode (Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 (7th Generation) tablets may not detect the wake word when the screen is off, if the tablet is not connected to power). When the wake word is detected, Alexa on your Fire tablet streams audio to the Cloud, including a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word.

3. How do I know when Alexa on my Fire tablet is streaming my voice to the Cloud?

When Alexa on your Fire tablet detects the wake word, or when you press and hold the Home button to access Alexa, a blue line appears at the bottom of your screen to indicate that Alexa is streaming audio to the Cloud. When you use the wake word, the audio stream includes a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word, and closes once your question or request has been processed. You will also hear a short audible tone that plays after the wake word is recognised, to indicate that the device is streaming audio, and at the end of your request, to indicate that the connection has closed and the device is no longer streaming audio.

4. How does Alexa hands-free on my Fire tablet work when I lock my tablet with a passcode?

When Alexa hands-free is activated and your tablet is passcode-locked, you can access certain Alexa features using the wake word. You'll be required to enter your passcode to access other Alexa features. If you prefer to no longer be asked to enter your passcode to access Alexa features, you can designate a wi-fi network as a Trusted Network in device settings (Settings > Alexa > Trusted Networks) and connect your Fire tablet to a Trusted Network. As a security precaution, if your tablet is passcode-locked, you may be prompted to enter your passcode to exit Show Mode—even if you're connected to a Trusted Network.

5. How does Alexa know to turn on the screen when my Fire tablet is in Show Mode?

When in Show Mode, your tablet will turn on the screen when it detects the wake word or motion in view of the camera or when you interact with the devices' display or buttons.

6. How do I know when Alexa on my Fire tablet is streaming images or video to the Cloud?

There will be an on-screen indicator whenever Alexa is streaming images or video to the Cloud. For instance, if a video call is active, the device's screen will display a picture-in-picture view of the video being streamed to the Cloud.

7. How can I turn off Alexa hands-free?

You can turn off Alexa hands-free in a few different ways: by swiping down from the Quick Actions menu and selecting the Alexa microphone/camera on/off icon (in Show Mode) or the Alexa Hands-Free icon (outside Show Mode), by simultaneously pressing and holding the device’s volume up and down buttons for three seconds, or through your device settings (Settings > Alexa > Hands-Free Mode). When in Show Mode, a red bar and icon will appear to let you know that Alexa hands-free on your Fire tablet is turned off; outside of Show Mode, an icon will appear in your status bar. Your Fire tablet will not respond to the wake word – or, in Show Mode, detect motion in view of the camera - until you turn Alexa hands-free back on. If you turn off Alexa hands-free, you will still be able to access Alexa when your tablet is not in Show Mode by pressing and holding the Home button.

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