How to Set Up Alexa's Whisper Mode

Make your assistant's voice automatically quiet down when necessary

Walking around your home talking (or shouting) at your Echo device can be distracting to others, so Amazon has come up with something innovative that allows you use Alexa without disturbing the rest of the household: Whisper Mode (aka Whispered Responses).

Amazon 2nd Generation Echo, Dot, and Show
Amazon

How Alexa Whisper Mode Works

The technology behind Alexa's Whisper Mode is very complex but can be summarized as follows.

Unlike normal speech, whispering doesn't involve vocal cord vibration to produce the sound that can normally be recognized by a Voice Assistant.

For Whisper Mode to work, Amazon has further fine-tuned the relationship between speech pattern recognition, vocal sound frequencies, sound direction, and silence levels that differentiate normal and whispered speech, so that Alexa can recognize both and respond in either a normal or whispered voice.

How to Activate Alexa Whisper Mode

Whisper Mode isn't automatically enabled in the Alexa App or Echo devices by default, it must be activated.

Even with Whisper Mode turned off, the Alexa App and supported Echo devices will still recognize whispered questions and commands but will only respond with the normal Alexa voice at standard volume levels. To receive whispered answers, Whispered Responses must be turned on.

There are two ways to activate Alexa's Whisper Mode/Whispered Responses feature.

Voice Command

The easiest way to activate Alexa Whisper Mode is by speaking the command through an Echo, partner device (such as the Polk Command Bar, Sonos One/Beam, Bose Soundbar 500/700, Bose Home Speaker 500), or Fire TV (with Alexa Voice Remote). Just say (in your normal voice) “Alexa, turn on whisper mode,” and Alexa will respond with a confirmation that "whispered responses is on".

Manual Setup via the Alexa App

If you don't want to use a voice command to activate Alexa Whisper Mode, here are steps to set it up using the Alexa App.

  1. Open the Alexa App on your smartphone. Tap the three lines on the top left corner of the app screen. You will be taken to the Main Menu.

    Alexa App Home Page and Menu Icon
  2. In the Main Menu tap on Settings then Select Alexa Account.

    Alexa App Choose Settings Alexa Account
  3. In your Alexa Account Settings, select Alexa Voice Responses, then Whispered Responses. Push the On/Off Icon to the On position.

    Alexa App Voice and Whisper Response Activation Screens

Once Whisper Mode is enabled via a spoken command to an Echo device, Fire TV with Voice Remote, or manually through the Alexa App, it becomes active and usable for all Alexa-enabled devices you may have on the same account.

What Happens When Using Whisper Mode

When Whisper Mode is on, If you speak commands or ask questions in a normal voice, Alexa will still respond in a normal voice.

However, when you speak to Alexa with a whisper, it will, in turn, respond in a whisper for things that "she" normally answers directly, such as providing the time, weather, traffic, adjusting a thermostat, reading recipes, and more.

Whisper mode only works in English.

In addition, when you use a Whisper Mode to access and listen to a music service, although Alexa will respond in a whisper to execute the command, the actual music service will play in its normal volume. You have to give Alexa an additional command in either a normal or whispered voice to lower the volume of the music if desired.

If your Alexa device doesn't seem to recognize your whispers, and there are other noises in the room, they could be causing interference. If you run into this issue, you may have to get closer to your Alexa device when whispering commands. Just like humans have varying sensitivity to whispers depending on other noise and distance, so does the Alexa Whisper Mode.

It has been anecdotally reported that some Alexa devices respond to whispered commands better than others. If you have multiple Alexa devices, test the Whisper mode on all of them to see which ones work best.

How to Turn Off Alexa Whisper Mode

To disable Alexa Whisper Mode, you can just say in either a normal or whispered voice: "Alexa turn off Whisper Mode" or you can go through the same steps in the Alexa app that you used to activate it but slide the On/Off icon to Off when you get to the Whispered Responses step in settings.