One of the many things you can do with your Amazon Echo is contact other Echos or other people. The ability to make calls and send messages using Alexa on the Amazon Echo has been around for a while and is growing in popularity. You can make and receive calls and message other Amazon Echo over WiFi and this tutorial walks you through the entire process.
Alexa doesn’t use your cellphone to send messages but uses WiFi and the internet to contact other Alexa devices. It’s a bit like push to talk used to be, a local network calling feature that didn’t use your free minutes to chat. It may use your mobile data though, depending on how you have your device set up and who you contact.
Previously, this feature was restricted to the Amazon Echo Show but was then rolled out to other devices. Now more newer Echo and Fire Tablets have the feature and can make calls and send messages between them. It’s a useful feature if you have family or friends who also use Alexa and you don’t want to keep using your phone all the time.
To use this feature you will need to be using an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Spot, Echo Plus or the Alexa app on your phone.
Make calls with the Amazon Echo
Messaging may be Alexa to Alexa but you can make break out calls to landlines, mobiles or even internationally. First you need to sign up to Alexa Calling and Messaging.
- Open the Alexa app on your phone and make sure you’re signed in.
- Select Conversations from the bottom and follow the sign-up wizard.
- Allow Alexa access to your phone contacts when requested.
- Confirm your phone number with the SMS code.
You need to allow Alexa to access your phone contacts so it can make those calls or identify incoming calls or messages. Once set up, you’re ready to make a call.
You use a voice request as you normally would with Alexa. Something like ‘Alexa call Mom’ or ‘Alexa call the office’. You get the idea. You must use the same name that’s in your contacts so Alexa can understand your request and dial the right number.
You can also have Alexa dial a number by saying ‘Alexa call 1234567890’. You will obviously need to include the country code if dialing internationally or area code if dialing nationally.
You can use the Alexa app too if you don’t want to use your Echo. This isn’t quite as useful as we have WhatsApp for that but you can keep it in the Alexa family if you prefer.
- Open the Alexa app on your phone and select Conversation.
- Say ‘Alexa call Home’ or whoever you’re calling.
You can also dial a number in the same way you can with the Echo.
You can receive calls as well as make them. An incoming call will sound an alert on your Echo or Alexa app. You can set the app to make an inaudible alert if you prefer. Then you need to say ‘Alexa answer’ or just ‘Answer’ to answer the call. Once done, say ‘Alexa hang up’ or just ‘Hang up’ to end the call
You can choose to ignore the call too by selecting the Ignore option in the Alexa app or saying ‘Ignore’.
Alexa cannot yet handle incoming calls from outside the Amazon ecosystem so they will route normally on your phone.
Send messages from Alexa
You can send text messages using the Alexa app too. The Echo is not yet capable of sending texts so you will need to use the app for that.
- Open the app and select Conversation.
- Select Start Conversation, select a contact and type your message.
- Hit Send when you’re done.
The Alexa Conversation function works much the same as most chat apps. You can continue an existing chat, start a new one and reply as you normally would. Received messages will cause an alert in the app but not on your Echo.
Leaving voice messages with Alexa
As well as test messaging, the Alexa app is also capable of leaving voicemails. Called voice messages here, they are a voicemail by another name and can be useful for reminders or whatever you need. You can use the Alexa app or your Echo to leave a message.
Voice messaging using the Alexa app:
- Open the Alexa app and select Conversation.
- Select the blue microphone icon and select a Contact to send it to.
- Record your message and Send.
Leaving a voice message though your Echo:
Say ‘Alexa, leave Mom a message’. Once acknowledged, speak your message and then Alexa will send it.