Fast Tips Friday: Four Alexa ‘Try This Now’ Tips

Post Publication Date: 9/7/18 – Today I’ve got four fast, and hopefully helpful, tips you can try on your Alexa device right now!


Tip Like A Boss


Note that as with all Alexa features, services may vary from geographic region to region (e.g., Alexa in the US vs. UK, Canada, etc.), and between app versions (e.g., Android vs. iOS). If the features described in this post aren’t yet available in your region, they should be soon.


1. Change the wake word with a voice command.

You can change the wake word on a single Alexa device with this voice command:

{wake word}, change the wake word to {chosen wake word}.

Of course, your wake word choices are limited to those Amazon provides in your geographic region. Here in the US we can choose from among Alexa, Computer, Amazon or Echo. To see which options are available in your area, open the Alexa app and navigate to Settings > {device name} > Wake Word.

This command will only change the wake word on a single device, so it’s possible to have different wake words on different devices, even on the same network.


2. It’s now possible to set alarms and reminders up to a year in advance.

When alarms and reminders first launched, you could only set them up to a week or a month in advance. Now you set them up to a year in advance.

Important: remember that reminders only sound briefly, and only on the specific device where you set them. If you’re not near the device where the reminder was set you could miss it. In that case, you must ask Alexa to “check reminders” in order to retrieve any you missed. Try to set reminders on the devices you are most often near, and at times when you are most likely to hear them.


3. Wake To Music

For some reason a lot of Alexa device owners either never learned about this, or have forgotten about it: you can set Alexa alarms to play music or tune to a specific radio station instead of playing an alarm tone. Try saying the wake word followed by commands like these:

Wake me at 6am to the song Something by The Beatles.

Wake me at 6am to KROQ radio on TuneIn.

Wake me at 6am to classic rock.

Wake me at 6am to songs by Beck.

Of course, Alexa can only use music you have access to for these alarms. Remember that all music you buy or get for free from Amazon is automatically added to your ‘My Music Library’ on Amazon and stored for free, and everything in your ‘My Music Library’ is accessible to Alexa. Click here for a post that covers music services currently available to Alexa.



4. Stop Googling, start Alexa-ing!

Alexa has gotten MUCH better at being able to answer the types of queries that would typically send you to Google. Just last night I asked Alexa, “Is Patrick Stewart knighted?” and got a fairly detailed response. I’ve been noticing for some time that Alexa’s internet search has vastly improved, compared to what it was like when the first Echos shipped.

As with so many Alexa features, it’s important to experiment if you want to learn what Alexa’s true capabilities and limits are. Next time you’re about to Google something, give Alexa a crack at it first. She may surprise you, and if she doesn’t, at least you’ll be helping Amazon to improve Alexa’s search capabilities overall.

Sub-tip: be sure to use keywords in your search query where possible, to help Alexa zero in on the specific information you’re after. If your search is related to books for example, try to get the word “book” in there somewhere.


Related Links

Big News: Alexa Repeating Reminders Are Here!

How To Find & Start Music From The Alexa App, To Play On Your Alexa Devices

New Music Services for Alexa

Custom Wake Words: Why Isn’t This A Thing Yet?