More Alexa/Echo Tips and Tricks

Hardly a week goes by that I don’t learn about some new Alexa feature—or am reminded of pre-existing one I’d forgotten about. So it’s time to share some more Alexa/Echo tips and tricks.



List Newly-Released Skills
In the recent Skills tab redesign in the Alexa app, the top-level sort ‘by release date’ option that used to let you sort the entire list of skills by release date was removed. Here’s an easy workaround.

In the search box at the top of the Skills page, enter the word “skill” as your search term and click the search button. This search will return a list of ALL Alexa skills. Then you can use the Sort By drop-down list to sort by release date. This will move all the most recently-released skills to the top of the list.


List Only The Skills You’ve Enabled
On the Skills page in the Alexa app, there’s a very easy to miss link for Your Skills at the upper right hand corner. Click or tap it to view a listing of only the skills you’ve enabled.


Let Alexa Be Your Alarm Clock
The Alarms function has gotten a lot better since the Echo’s initial release. Now you can have multiple different alarms or repeating alarms, and you can set a different alert tone and volume level for each one. See the Timers & Alarms > Alarms tab in the Alexa app for all the available options.

Setting the alarm is part of my nightly routine:

[wake word], set an alarm for [time] a.m.

In the past if you failed to specify a.m. or p.m. Alexa would default to whenever the next occurrence of the time you specified would occur. Now, she’ll prompt you to specify.

And if you’re the type of person—like me—who just has to check one last time that the alarm is set before drifting off to sleep, anytime after the alarm is set you can ask:

[wake word], check alarm.


Prime Members: Add Currently-Playing Prime Music To Your Amazon Music Library
I originally learned about this one a long time ago, but I forgot all about it until recently because even though I’m a Prime member, I mostly listen to my own music from Amazon Music Library. When a Prime Music song or album you like is playing, say:

[wake word], add this [song/album] to my library.

Presto! The song or album is added to your Amazon Music Library, where you can add the new track(s) to your own playlists and custom genres. Alexa can’t yet add tracks to playlists, so you’ll still need to do that part yourself in the Amazon Music app.


False Wake or Unexpected Response From Alexa? View History.
Most owners of Alexa-enabled devices know Alexa sometimes mishears them or wakes when the wake word wasn’t spoken, but many don’t seem to know there’s a way to view exactly what Alexa thought she heard. Being able to find out what Alexa thought she heard is a great first step when troubleshooting unexpected or incorrect responses.

Go to Settings > History in the Alexa app to view a history of your interactions with Alexa, in order by most recent. Seeing what Alexa thought she heard can usually clear up any confusion when Alexa behaves in a way that’s unexpected.

Occasionally, viewing History will reveal a previously unknown bug. When that happens, be sure to use the General Feedback form in the Alexa app to report the problem.

There’s also an option to clear history, but I don’t recommend it because the personal interaction history is one way Alexa gets better at understanding each individual user.


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