“Alexa, do your thing, girl.”
I often feel like I don’t properly know how to use my Echo Dot. My Alexa is usually just doing the bare minimum for me, but I know she can do more than wake me up in the morning. The Echo Dot, Echo, and Echo Show all have amazing features built into them. Alexa can do so much more than people actually use her for, and while she’s a great timer and reliable alarm, it’s time to learn more about what she can do. So I put together some of the most interesting and useful hacks that your Alexa can do right now.
“Alexa, set a recurring alarm.”
If you have a schedule that’s set in stone, ask Alexa to help you out with that. You can ask her to wake you up at a certain time any day, whether that be weekends, week days, or any other weird schedule you may be on. You can also ask her to wake you up with certain songs to really get you going. I hate the monotonous sound of my iPhone alarm clock, so why not switch it up with your Alexa?
“Alexa, sing me a song.”
Warning: Alexa wouldn’t make it to music school, but this is a sweet little feature that Alexa can do if you want to entertain the kids or yourself for about a minute. My Alexa sang about puppies — a very moving ballad I’m sure, but nothing too amazing. That being said, this was definitely a feature I didn’t know existed.
“Alexa, turn on whisper mode.”
My friends do this all the time and I just set mine up today. Have you ever asked your Alexa to do something and she fires back in the loudest voice? It always happens when I’m setting up my alarm for the next morning. While Alexa does have an adjustable volume, if you activate “whisper mode” and just whisper to your Alexa, she’ll whisper back. It’s a little off-putting but really handy.
“Alexa, speak like Yoda.”
This is another feature to use if you have kids or are a huge Star Wars fan yourself. Of course having Alexa speak to you like the oldest Jedi master won’t actually do anything useful, but I love these fun little touches to her AI software. You can also ask Alexa to “use the force.” The results vary, but the fun is guaranteed.
“Alexa, how do you say ‘thank you’ in French?”
Duolingo, who? You can ask Alexa a few words in a different language on the fly. I don’t know how vast her knowledge is, but I did ask her to translate a few very random sentences for me. I didn’t really learn too much, but I was entertained.
“Alexa, I’m home!”
This ties into a few things. You can customizes Alexa’s “Routines” in the Alexa app so she’ll do certain things when given certain commands. For example, Alexa can call your SO when you get home or play your favorite playlist. You might be like me and just want someone to say “welcome home,” and she can do that for you too. I really like this feature because it is 100% customizable to what you want your Alexa to do. Alexa’s “Routines” feature doesn’t just stop with you arriving at home — you can also say “good morning” or “good night” and create a routine for those commands, too!
“Alexa, tell me a joke.”
Ok, you might know the standard “Alexa, tell me a joke,” but did you know you can give Alexa more comedic commands? You can ask your Alexa, “Who’s on first?” and get a little Abbott and Costello routine. You can also ask the age old question of “How much wood?” and get a fun Alexa-ified answer. If you don’t love Alexa’s normal jokes, you can customize jokes in the Alexa app and have a few to whip out at your next gathering — this feature is perfect for those inside jokes you have with your family and friends.
“Alexa, what are the five greatest words in the English language?”
Alexa shows her true fidelity to herself in this statement. Again, this trick doesn’t necessarily do anything, but it is funny and adds a little humor to your day. I love it when I can talk to Alexa and she comes back with answers that make her seem like more than just a machine…which may be a problem. (“Alexa, play the movie ‘Her.’”)
“Alexa, tell me something interesting”
Alexa is a search engine that is designed to know a lot more than we do. If you ask her to tell you a fact, she will. I personally don’t love it when my Alexa drones on and on, but if you want to wake up to an interesting fact, this is the voice prompt for you!
“Alexa, how many tablespoons are in a cup?”
My mother has a “gallon gal” that I made maybe 16 years ago. She refers to that all the time to know how many cups are in whatever measurements. Personally, I don’t like when my reference materials give me nightmares (Google “gallon gal” if you don’t get it). Alexa will tell you all of the baking tricks and even do your baker’s math for you. I know, where was she when I got a “C” in high school?
“Alexa, tell me the news”
I love this because I need to listen to a news podcast every morning to get ready. You can ask your Alexa to turn on the news, and she will ask you what station you want to hear and your zip code. I’m 90% sure you can change the station if you want, but I was greeted with an NPR announcer’s voice this morning that was strangely soothing.
“Alexa, donate to the Humane Society”
You can donate to charity on your Alexa. I really love this feature. I asked my Alexa to donate to the Humane Society and she seemed to be able to donate to the one in Nashville where I live. Obviously, some of the charities you donate to are not local, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still donate. This little hack is really sweet, and I love how easy Amazon has made it to donate.
“Alexa, do a five minute workout”
Yes, Alexa can prompt some workouts as well. You can ask her any time and any focus (core, cardio, etc). I just asked for a five minute one and waited to see what I would get. I don’t love being unable to see my instructors when I’m working out, but this is great when I just want to do a quick sweat sesh.
“Alexa, play a game”
Alexa is actually really fun to have at parties, because this girl has some games. Alexa has tons of games ready to go, including Akinator, Escape Room, Jeopardy, Would You Rather, and Trivia Battle. She also has games like rock, paper, scissors, (lizard, Spock) but that one isn’t my favorite — she just yells one of the answers and it’s over. I don’t know, I’m picky about my games.
“Alexa, ask Uncle Iroh for wisdom”
I don’t know how many Avatar: The Last Airbender fans are reading this, but even if you’re not a fan, you’ll have fun with this. Uncle Iroh is the tea-loving, sage-advice-giving uncle that everyone needs in their life. The only drawback? It’s Iroh’s wisdom in Alexa’s voice. I do miss his sweet voice, but I guess that just gives me an excuse to watch the show for the fourth time now.
“Alexa, control my smart home”
Most people know this, but rarely use it. Yep, your Alexa can shed some light on the subject…as long as the subject is your room and it’s equipped with the right smart technology. (We covered some of the amazing smart products you can outfit your home with in this article.) You can choose between Alexa controlled light bulbs, such as the Smart WiFi Color Changing Light Bulbs or the Smart Bulbs or Smart Plugs that will connect to your Alexa device. You can use a routine set up to turn on these lights when you say something like, “Alexa, I’m home” as well.
Alexa can also hook up to your Garage Door that can be controlled by either an app or your Alexa device. You can also use this Brilliant Smart Home Control that connects to Alexa and controls the lighting, camera, locks, thermostats, intercom, and other parts of your house. And if you just want something to control your temperature, you can use the Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat.
While I will never not use my Alexa for an alarm clock or to check the weather in my area, it is fun to know all the other things that she can do. Do you know any other hacks for your Alexa? Comment below!
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