5/12/17 Alexa Fast Tips Friday

Welcome to LME’s 5/12/17 Alexa Fast Tips Friday. Today the focus is on tips related to the new Alexa messaging functionality, based on emails I’ve been receiving since Wednesday’s post on the topic.

**5/14/17 UPDATE – Please see this follow up post, which addresses a serious privacy issue with the new features and explains how to turn off the new Alexa communication features for the time being—or permanently—, if that’s your preference.

UK Readers: since this doesn’t apply for you yet, to make it up to you I’ve got links to some free Audible audiobooks currently available on Amazon’s UK site – Crackanory Season 4, Crackanory Too Cracked For TV, and Ponzi Supernova.


New Messaging


1. Your Alexa messaging contacts list will be blank until people in your cell phone’s Contacts list start installing the latest version of the Alexa app and setting the correct permissions.

Both you AND the person you want to communicate with, or who wants to communicate with you, on your Alexa devices must have the most recent version of the Alexa app installed with messaging permissions set as I described in Wednesday’s post. This whole process is run through the Alexa app, NOT the Alexa device and NOT your phone.


2. After you get Alexa messaging set up, you do not need to add Alexa messaging contacts manually. ANYONE in your cell phone’s Contacts list who also sets it up will automatically be added to the messaging contacts list in the Alexa app.

If there’s someone in your cell phone’s Contacts list with whom who’d you like to communicate via Alexa messaging—whether or not that person owns an Alexa device like an Echo or Dot—ask that person to install the latest version of the Alexa app and set the correct messaging permissions as I described in Wednesday’s post.

Side note: I kind of freaked out when I saw the name of an ex pop up on my Alexa contacts list, but then I remembered that person is still in my cell phone’s contacts list. For some reason Alexa messaging access can seem more intimate and this auto-adding may therefore seem alarming, but it’s not really any more intimate than cell phone messaging: being in your Alexa messaging contacts list does not grant those people any greater access to you than they already have. Amazon’s assumption here is that if the person is still listed in your cell phone’s Contacts list, you still expect to be in touch with them. If there’s anyone you don’t want to be added to your Alexa messaging contacts, make sure they’re not still in your cell phone’s Contacts list.

And also remember: Alexa always announces the caller by contact name, so you don’t have to accept Alexa calls from anyone you’d rather not speak to in the moment. The command to ignore an incoming call is, “{wake word}, ignore.”


3. You can set Do Not Disturb on any of your Alexa messaging devices manually, or have it scheduled so you won’t be disturbed by Alexa messaging ringtones during certain hours. Alexa timers and alarms will still ring as usual.

This is great for multi-device households where you don’t want to disturb kids or other family members in their bedrooms at night, or if you don’t want ringtones interrupting movie night or quiet time.

To silence incoming ringtones temporarily on an individual device say, “{wake word}, Do Not Disturb,” to that device. Alexa will confirm the request and the light ring will briefly glow purple (cool!). To enable ring tones again on the device, say, “{wake word}, turn off Do Not Disturb,” to that device. Again, Alexa will confirm your command and will remain “awake” for a few seconds longer just in case you’ve turned off Do Not Disturb accidentally and want to immediately turn it back on.

To schedule Do Not Disturb on an Alexa device, so it will automatically turn on at a set time and turn off again at a set time each day (e.g., during your usual sleep hours), use the Alexa app. Go to Settings and select the device for which you want to schedule Do Not Disturb, then tap or click the Scheduled link in the Do Not Disturb area:


Alexa Do Not Disturb

You will need to set this option for each individual Alexa device and again, it only affects messaging ringtones: timers and alarms will sound as usual.


4. The green light ring is Alexa’s message indicator.

When you see the green light ring, you’ve got a message! Ask, “{wake word}, what are my messages,” or, “{wake word}, read messages,” to have Alexa read any messages you’ve received. You can use these commands even when the light ring is NOT lit to re-play previously received messages, which are stored until you delete them from Conversations history in the Alexa app (see this Amazon help page for instructions).


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iFox Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

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