How to Use Alexa Messaging

Almost anyone can send text messages using Alexa's voice capabilities

A woman using her mobile device and talking to a smart speaker.

 Daisy-Daisy/Getty Images

When Amazon released the Echo Show device, it came with a feature called Alexa-to-Alexa Calling — the ability to make calls to other Echo users. Since then, Amazon has improved those capabilities for all echo devices, include the Echo Dot and the Echo Spot, so any user can access Alexa for messaging and phone calls. Now the capability is called Alexa Comunication.

It's easy to send a voice text message or make a call to another user or phone number with your Amazon Alexa, but you do have to enable the capability in the Alexa app before you can start.

Set Up Alexa for Calling and Messaging

You can use your Alexa device to send SMS messages or make phone calls between Echo devices or to mobile or landline phones using the Alexa app for iOS 9.0 and above and Android 5.0 and above, or an Amazon Fire tablet. The capability is free. It works using Wi-Fi and your cellular data, and it only takes a few seconds to set it up.

  1. Open the Amazon Alexa app on your Android or iOS device.

    If you don't have the Alexa app already installed on your smartphone, you must first download and install it. Once you have the app set up, then you can come back to these instructions to enable Alexa Communications.

  2. Tap the Communicate icon at the bottom of the screen.

    Alexa Menu Bar
  3. On the Communicate screen, you'll see a welcome message. Tap Get Started.

  4. On the next screen, select your name from the list that appears and tap Continue.

  5. You're prompted to grant Alexa access to your phone's contacts. Tap Allow.

    You must grant Alexa permission to access your contacts. This is how the device will know who to send your voice messages and calls to. If you do not want to grant Alexa this access, you won't be able to use this feature of the device.

  6. When prompted, enter your mobile phone number and follow the instructions to verify that number. Alexa will use your mobile device for sending messaging and making calls.

    Alexa Communicate is a free service but it does access your cellular data, which means your mobile carrier could charge you for the minutes and data used to send message or make calls through your Amazon Alexa device.

  7. Once you've verified your phone number, the process for setting up Alexa messaging and calling is complete. Now you can use your voice to stay in touch with friends and family.

How to Send a Text Message With Amazon Alexa

Once you've set your Alexa app up for sending SMS messages and making calls, you can use the app or your Amazon Alexa device.

Send Messages and Make Calls With An Alexa Device

Communicating with your Amazon Alexa device — the Echo Show, Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Spot — is easy.

  1. Using an Alexa device say "Alexa, send a message." or "Alexa make a call."

  2. Alexa will respond with "To whom?"

  3. Tell Alexa the name of the person you would like to communicate with.

    When you tell Alexa who you want to message or call, you should use the exact name listed in the contacts on your Mobile device. If not, Alexa may get confused. Fortunately, it does repeat back the name of the person you want to reach, so if you're paying attention you should catch any mistakes.

  4. Once you have the recipient set, Alexa asks "What's the message?"

  5. Speak the message you want to send. When you finish speaking, there is a short pause and then Alexa says, "Got it. Should I send it?"

  6. Response "Yes" and Alexa sends the message to the person you selected.

Send a Text Message From the Alexa App

Sending messages using the Alexa app differs from the device just a bit.

  1. If you're using the Alexa app on your smartphone, select Message on the Communication page.

    The Alexa app Communication menu.
  2. Choose a contact on the Start Conversation page.

    Alexa app contacts.
  3. Once you've selected a contact, you're taken to the messaging screen for that person. If they have an Echo device that is connected to your household, you'll see three icons at the top: Call, Video Call, and Drop In.

    Alexa app messaging option icons

    The Drop In feature is only available to to Alexa devices within the same household. For privacy reasons, you cannot drop in on an Alexa device that belongs to a different household.

  4. If you want to send a text message, enter the message into the Type your message text box at the bottom of the screen. You can also tap the blue microphone icon to send a voice message.

    Text box & voice microphone for Alexa messaging app.
  5. When you're done, the microphone icon change to an Upward arrow. Tap that icon to send the message.

  6. Your message is delivered to the Echo devices that person owns and/or to the Alexa app on their phone. If the person does not own an Alexa device, the message will be sent to their text app.

If the user you're sending messages to has an Amazon Alexa device and/or the Alexa app, the message is delivered through both of those messages. The Alexa device will display a notification to let the recipient know they have a message.

The recipient will also get a notice on the Alexa app. They can view the message as text within the Alexa app or listen to the voice recording of the message. Users who do not have the Alexa app on their phone will receive a text message through their mobile carrier with the voice message attached as well.

Making Calls With Alexa

Making a call through Alexa works in a similar way to sending a text message. Ask Alexa to make a call, and answer her questions while she determines who you want to speak with. Then, the call is placed, and when answered, will be conducted through your Amazon Alexa device.

Where the process differs is if you're using your Alexa app to make a call from your mobile device. Rather than routing the call through the Alexa device, it will route the call through your smartphone, leveraging your mobile network to make the call. You can still use the app to call Alexa devices (and make video calls to Alexa Show devices).