When Echo first launched it was not possible to tether it to a mobile WiFi hotspot, and the same was true of Dot when it first launched. If you wanted to use your Echo or Dot, you needed access to a wired WiFi router/modem. This was a frustrating situation for consumers who want to travel with their Echo-enabled device and don’t have, or want to buy, an Amazon Tap.
Finally, Amazon has rolled out support for tethering to mobile and public WiFi hotspots with Alexa software update #3389.
Amazon sends out software updates for Alexa-enabled devices automatically, so as long as your Echo or Dot has had an active WiFi connection over the past couple of days this update should already be installed. From Amazon’s Alexa Device Software Updates page:
To determine the current software version for your Alexa device:
– Open the Alexa app.
– Open the left navigation panel, and then select Settings.
– Select your device, and then scroll down until you see Device software version.
To download the latest software update for your Alexa device:
-Make sure your device is on and has an active Wi-Fi connection.
– Avoid saying anything to your device.
– When the update is ready to install, the light indicator or ring on your device turns blue, and the device installs the latest update. Depending on your Wi-Fi connection, it can take up to 15 minutes to install the software update.
Note: Having trouble updating your Alexa device? Restart your device first to see if this resolves your problem:
On Echo devices, unplug the power adapter from the back of the device. Then, plug the power adapter back in.
On Amazon Tap, press and hold the Power button for five seconds until the button dims. Then, press the Power button again to turn it on.
After you restart your device, wait for the device to update again.
Don’t Forget About Security!
While this new feature will be welcomed by many Echo and Dot owners, it’s still not a good idea to connect your Echo or Dot to any public WiFi hotspots, such as those you’d find at a Starbucks or in an airport. Hackers have perfected the art of “skimming” data from wireless devices using such hotspots by piggybacking on the network or highjacking its signal using devices of their own.
To ensure the security of your Amazon login credentials and Alexa request history, it’s best to limit your use of this new feature to private, secure WiFi hotspots you can create with your own phone or tablet. Those hotspots will employ the same password protection and encryption features as your mobile device already uses for its data connection.
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