How To Make and Answer Calls with your Amazon Echo
The Amazon Echo is capable of many things, from turning on the lights to ordering the latest book online. One of the cooler things you can do is make and answer calls with your Amazon Echo. It can receive calls from other Alexa users and make calls to anyone. It’s a very neat feature that doesn’t get the attention of some of the other uses we put our Echo to.
If you have an Amazon Echo and your friends or family have one too, or Alexa on their smartphone, you can make free calls using voice control directly from your device. If you want to make calls outside of this infrastructure, you can call out from an Alexa device in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Configuring Alexa for calling
Before you can make and answer calls with your Amazon Echo, you first need to set everything up. You will need the Alexa app on your smartphone and link it to your Amazon account and your Echo. I’ll describe the entire process in case you’re completely new to Alexa.
- Download the latest version of the Alexa app onto your smartphone and install it. Either from the app itself or a fresh version, iOS from here and Android from here.
- Follow the wizard to set it up and give it permissions to access your phone data.
- Add your phone number and allow Alexa access to it. You will be sent a verification code which you will need to respond to in order for it to work.
- Once you complete the wizard, you should be able to see a contact icon. Select this to see who of your phone contacts also has Alexa. You will be able to perform Alexa to Alexa calls to anyone you see there.
Making calls with an Amazon Echo will use your phone data but will not use phone minutes. If you’re running low on data for the month, bear it in mind when making calls with Alexa. I’m not sure how much data making a call uses but make sure you have enough spare to cover it.
Making a call with your Amazon Echo
You can make an Alexa to Alexa call or ‘break out’ and call a landline or mobile. You can use the Alexa app or your Amazon Echo. To make a call with your Echo, just say ‘Alexa, call NAME’, or Alexa, call NUMBER’. As long as the contact’s name is in your phone contacts, Alexa should call their Alexa app.
If you’re making a call to a non-Alexa user or calling a number, they obviously don’t have to be in your contacts.
If you want to make a call from the Alexa app instead, select the conversation screen and select the Contact icon in the top right, select the contact and select the phone icon. Select the camera icon to make a video call.
Answering a call with your Amazon Echo
When you receive a call on your Amazon Echo, you will also receive it on your Alexa app. The light ring on the Echo should turn green and Alexa will notify you of the call. To answer using the Echo, say ‘Alexa answer call’. If you want to answer using the app, just answer your phone as normal.
You don’t have to take the call if you’re busy. You can say ‘Alexa, ignore’ and it will do that. You just need to let your phone ring out if you don’t want to answer from the app.
Sending voice messages with Alexa
Voice messages are another neat feature of the Alexa app that allow you to send audio messages to someone. They are like pre-recorded voicemail messages and can be useful for quick updates or messages when you don’t have time for a full phone call.
To send a voice message using your Echo, say ‘Alexa, send NAME a message’ and speak your message out loud.
To send a voice message via the Alexa app, open the conversation window and select the blue microphone icon instead of the phone icon to record a message.
Alexa receives the message in the same way it receives a call, the Alexa app will alert your phone and your Echo will glow. You can listen to the message right away or save it for later.
The Amazon Echo and Alexa can do much more than just play music or tell you the weather. If you know other people with the device you can talk as much as you like without it costing you a dime. All from your Echo or Alexa app.