How to Ask Alexa: "Read My Emails"

She can read a full email, reply to it, archive it, or delete it for you

Why manually log in to email when you can ask Alexa to read, archive, delete, or even reply to emails for you? You can set up this handy voice assistance tool using the Alexa app on your smartphone and it will work on both your phone and any of your connected Alexa smart devices.

A couple of things to note:

  • Alexa cannot compose brand-new emails for you. She can only reply to received emails in your inbox.
  • If you accidentally delete an email, you can still manually retrieve it from your email trash can. Your email provider's retrieval time limits will apply.
  • You must have your email account linked to Alexa prior to using this feature. If you're not sure how to do that, instructions are available at the end of this article.

This feature only works with Google GMail and a variety of Microsoft email accounts.

How to Ask Alexa to Read Your Email

Once your email account is set up, you can ask Alexa to read your email. You can do this in two ways: Use your Alexa device (such as an Amazon Echo) to read the emails or use your smartphone app instead.

  • With a device, simply say the wake word you normally use and use the command, "Read my email."
  • With the app, tap the blue circle to wake Alexa and say, "Read my email."

She'll tell you how many unread emails are in your inbox from the last day as well as how many emails are remaining and marked as important. Starting with the most recent message first, she will read the sender and subject line, then ask if you want her to read the full email, delete it or move on to the next unread email.

You can tell Alexa to archive your email message, too, even though she doesn't specifically give you that option. Just say, "Alexa, archive it."

After she reads an email to you, Alexa will give you the options to flag it, mark it as unread, or move to the next email. Simply reply with "Read it" and she will read the body of the text in painstaking detail.

If you prefer to flag the email, tell her to do that instead. She will add the appropriate flag or star to the email, depending upon your program. She will continue down your list of messages asking if you want the next email read and giving you various options each time.

A simple yes or no typically will guide her; the commands are fairly intuitive and simple to determine.

Can Alexa Send Emails?

Sample of Alexa reply email

If you would like to reply to an email, just say, "Reply." You will have the option to compose a verbal email, then Alexa will ask if you would like to send the reply. If you answer in the affirmative, she will send the email for you and include the Sent via Alexa signature tag if you opted to set that up.

Be thoughtful but quick about your reply. Alexa won't wait long, and you will need to speak very clearly. She will repeat the message for you; if you change anything, it will restart the entire reply. She will continue repeating your new versions until you tell her to send the response.

How to Stop Alexa From Reading

After Alexa announces what's in your inbox, you can simply tell her to stop after she has asked whether you want your first email read or deleted. An easy command for this is 'Alexa, stop.'

It's a little trickier to stop her once she has started reading the emails for you. If you decide part of the way through an email or group of emails that you want Alexa to stop reading them, you have two options:

  • Whether you are using a device or the app itself, you must wait until she finishes reading the current email before you can give a verbal command of "Alexa, stop."
  • With the app only, your other option at any time is to tap the X on the semi-transparent black screen that is covering the app while Alexa is working with your emails. This action will send you back to the app's home screen.

Link Alexa to Your Email Account

  1. Open the Alexa app.

  2. Alexa settings screen

    Tap the hamburger menu at the top left of your screen, then tap Settings.

  3. Alexa Calendar & Email setting

    Tap Calendar & Email. (Note: If you only see Calendar, you need to update your version of the app.)

  4. Alexa Add Account screen

    Next, confirm account owner. Note: If you don't see your email listed, tap the one you see. That action will take you to a new screen (shown here) where you can tap Add Account.

  5. Email account options screen

    Link your account by selecting the provider you use. Tap Next.

  6. Log in with your username and password.

  7. Request for permission screen

    You will now be prompted to give a variety of email account access approvals to Alexa. Tap Allow. If you tap Deny, this feature will not work.

    This approval lets Alexa read, compose, send and permanently delete emails from your account. It also gives Amazon permission to see your personal information, so be sure this is what you want before you tap Allow.

  8. When you see the screen that says Account Added, tap the X in the upper left corner of your screen.

  9. The next screen you see should confirm that your email account was added and give you the option to unlink the account and/or add a calendar account.

You will also see an option here to allow a 'Sent via Alexa' signature to any emails you send using your virtual assistant. This is a useful little tag that can help explain any typos in your emails but it is not anything you are required to set up in order to use the email feature.

Now that your email account is set up, return to the top of this article for to learn how to use Alexa to read, archive, flag, or delete your emails.