KIM KOMANDO

5 annoying Alexa and Amazon Echo settings you can change

Feb 11, 2021, 4:05 AM
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

If you have an Amazon Echo at home, you need to dive into the privacy settings.

There are a few important things to lock down. Don’t forget to turn off voice purchasing if you never use that feature, or at least set up a PIN. Tap or click here for steps, along with four other vital security steps.

While you’re in your Amazon account, I recommend you opt-out of Amazon Sidewalk. This shared neighborhood network sounds good in theory, but I’ve said “No thanks” for now.

Then it’s time to tackle your Echo’s annoying habits. With just a few setting changes, you’ll like Alexa a whole lot more.

1. Switch on follow-up mode

This one is all about saving time. Instead of having to get Alexa’s attention for each and every request, you can shortcut the process with follow-up mode.

After it follows your first command (such as, “Alexa, turn on the hall light”), wait for Alexa to say, “OK.” Then, fire off your next command (“Turn on the bedroom light”) and you’re good to go.

After you’re done, say “Stop,” “Thank you” or “Go to sleep” to stop Alexa from waiting for further commands.

Follow-up mode is off by default. To turn it on:

● Open the Amazon Alexa app and tap Devices at the bottom of the screen.
● Choose the device you want to use this feature on, then scroll down. Under “General,” tap Follow-Up Mode.
● Slide the toggle next to Follow-up Mode to the right to enable the feature.

Keep in mind, this mode won’t work if:

● Audio is playing. If you tell Alexa to turn on a light, play a song and then give another command, it won’t follow that third command.
● Alexa doesn’t recognize your voice as talking to her. It may think your words are background noise if you don’t address it by name.
● You end the conversation.

2. Get rid of Hunches

The Hunches features alerts you when any of your smart home devices are on when Alexa thinks they should be off, or the other way around. If a light is on after you’ve said “Good night, Alexa,” for example, you’ll get an alert.

If you find those suggestions intrusive instead of helpful, just switch off the Hunches feature.

You can do it just with your voice. Say, “Alexa, disable Hunches” and you’re good to go.

If you prefer, you can turn this off in the app:

● Open the Amazon Alexa app. Tap More at the bottom of the screen to open the menu.
● Tap Settings.
● Scroll down to the “Alexa Preferences” section and select Hunches.
● Tap the settings icon in the corner. Here you can toggle Hunches on or off.

3. Better voice recognition

How often do you hear your speaker say something like, “Sorry, I didn’t quite get that”? It can be frustrating if you have to repeat yourself multiple times.

To help Alexa out and save yourself the frustration, create a voice profile.

● Open the Alexa app. Tap the More button and select Settings.
● Tap Your Profile > Voice.
● Select Continue, say the on-screen phrase out loud and you’re good to go.

Still having trouble? Try this: Whenever you give a command, you can ask Alexa to tell you what it heard. This feature is a great way to pinpoint the places where your Echo slips up.

4. Say no to ratings

Sometimes, Alexa will ask you to rate your past Amazon purchases. It can be unnerving to suddenly get this request — especially if Alexa’s asking you about something you bought a long time ago.

Here’s how to shut it down:

● Open your Alexa app and tap More > Settings.
● Tap on Notifications.
● From there, hit Amazon Shopping and toggle the Requests to rate Purchases setting to off.

5. End the repetition game

Alexa often repeats you to make sure she understands. If you say, “What’s 34 minus 13?” you’ll hear the entire equation back before you get the answer. This copycat routine gets old fast.

To stop Alexa from verbally repeating every command, follow these steps:

● Open your Alexa app and tap More > Settings.
● Scroll down to “Alexa Preferences” and tap Voice Responses.
● Click the toggle to enable Brief Mode.

Speaking of keeping quiet, did you know you can text Alexa commands? Tap or click here to set up the new Text with Alexa feature. (This one is handy for pulling pranks … not that I would know.)

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Kim Komando

(Pexels Photo)...
Kim Komando

Black Friday shortages are real but these online shopping tips will help you out

Supply chain disruptions and chip shortages mean buying specific items will be more challenging and more expensive.
1 day ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Kim Komando

9 photos you should always have at the ready on your phone

Your phone’s photo library is good for more than just selfies and pictures of food for Instagram. Snap and keep copies of important documents such as vaccination cards, driver's license and other forms of identification.
8 days ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
Kim Komando

9 free software copycats that work better than expensive programs

There are more features and tricks hiding in your Mac or PC than most people will ever know. You can do even more if you know the right software to download.
15 days ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
Kim Komando

5 smart digital life hacks to save you time, money and stress

Digital life hacks make life easier, save you money or teach you a new party trick to amaze your friends. Here are five to try.
22 days ago
(Public Domain Pictures Photo)...
Kim Komando

These are the downloads that can ruin a Windows PC

When it comes to your computer, one errant click can spell disaster. Here are downloads you need to avoid.
29 days ago
(Unsplash Photo)...
Kim Komando

7 ways your smartphone can help you get things done

Let’s jump into seven uses for your phone that can make the day and whatever tasks are on hand simpler.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

...
DISC DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
...
PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.
...
Chris Kennedy

My Special Aflac Duck® taking flight in Arizona

For more than 65 years, Aflac has had the extraordinary opportunity and privilege to help provide peace of mind to individuals who have our supplemental insurance policies.