How to talk to Alexa using your iPhone

Alexa has started to turn up in some unusual places, from the dash of new cars, to televisions and appliances. But one of the more predictable moves is Alexa coming to phones.

Last year, Amazon also added Alexa to the Amazon shopping app. And this year, Amazon finally brought Alexa to the one place it seemingly should have been all along: the Alexa app. Here’s how you can talk to Alexa using your iPhone.

The Alexa app

First, make sure the Alexa app is up-to-date. When you open the app, you’ll notice two icons in the bottom row that weren’t there before. To the far right is a shortcut to Settings and dead center is an Alexa icon.

To get started using Alexa within the app, tap the Alexa icon at the bottom. Tap Allow to bring up the prompt to grant the Alexa app access to your iOS device’s microphone and location data. The app will then give you some example commands. Tap Done to complete setup.

Tapping the Alexa button will now bring up the voice assistant and you can issue voice commands just as you would with the Alexa speakers around your home, sans the wake word.

Back in May, it became possible to make Alexa the default voice assistant on Android phones. No such luck with Alexa on iOS, unfortunately, as your main voice assistant is still Siri and there’s no way to change it. To talk to Alexa on the iPhone, you’ll still have to open the Alexa app.

Alexa in the Amazon Shopping app

You may have noticed while using the Amazon app that there is a microphone to the right of the search bar at the top of the app. Previously, this was used specifically to search for products, reorder previously purchased items or track your orders.

Last year, this voice search function was updated to harnesses the full power of Alexa. Just open the Amazon app, tap the microphone and say your usual Alexa command, minus the wake word.

Alexa within the Amazon app on iOS can do almost everything the Alexa speakers can do. It’s not currently compatible with the recently announced Door Lock API, but you can enable and use the vast library of Alexa skills, control your smart home and get updates on the news and weather.

Here are some examples of what you might say:

  • “Turn on the living room lights.”
  • “Play music by Fleet Foxes.”
  • “Reorder deodorant.”
  • “Tell Starbucks to start my usual order.”
  • “Track my package.”
  • “Read ‘Ready Player One.'”
  • “Play my Flash Briefing.”
  • “How is traffic?”

It still feels more natural to head for the Alexa app when you want to queue up Amazon’s digital assistant, but we’re not complaining about having Alexa at our fingertips while window shopping on Amazon either.

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