Control Your Smart Home With the Alexa App for Android

A man in his car controlling his smart home with his smartphone.

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With just a few taps you can use the Alexa app on Android to control your devices, setup and control groups, access scenes, and create routines that have specific purposes.

The Alexa App for Android

To get started, you’ll need to have the Amazon Alexa app and at least one Amazon Echo device. If you don’t already have the app, you can download it from the Google Play Store or directly from Amazon. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the app, sign in using the username and password for your Amazon account and setup your Echo device.

You can also get the Amazon Alexa App or iOS devices at the iTunes Store. Once you’ve downloaded it, it works in much the same way the Amazon Alexa App for Android does.

Then, to begin using Alexa as your Android smart home control center, you’ll need to add smart home devices. You can choose any device that’s Alexa enabled, which can include smart plugs, smart bulbs, smart appliances, and even smart gadgets like smart scales or smart beds.

How to Control Alexa Devices With Your Android Phone

Each type of device might have different setup instructions, so be sure to read the included instructions before you begin this process.

You may also have to enable the smart home skill associated with the brand of device you want to control with your Alexa app. Do that from the Alexa app choose the menu (three lines) in the top left corner of the app’s home screen. Then select Skills & Games and search for the brand of the smart device you’re setting up. Alternatively, you can tap the Devices icon in the Alexa app and scroll to the bottom to choose Your Smart Home Skills. On the page that appears tap Enable Smart Home Skills then search for the appropriate skill.

Then, to set the smart device up on your Android Alexa app follow these steps:

  1. Open the Alexa app on your Android device.

  2. Tap the Devices icon to the far right of the bottom navigation bar.

    The menu bar on the Amazon Alexa App for Android.
  3. Then tap the + (plus) in the top right corner and choose Add Device.

    A cropped screenshot showing the Add Device controls on the Alexa App for Android.
  4. A Setup screen appears with options for the type of device that you’re adding.

  5. A list of Popular Brands is displayed. If you see the brand of the device you’re setting up in that list, select it. If not, scroll through the All Devices list until you find the type of device you want to set up. For example, if you’re setting up a Wemo Smart Plug, you can either choose the Wemo icon from the Popular Brands list or you can scroll through the All Devices list and choose Plug.

    A list of popular brands and smart home devices in the Alexa app.
  6. Depending on how you select the device you’re setting up, the instructions might differ slightly:

    • If you choose a Popular Brand: You are taken directly to the Alexa instructions for setting up that brand of device.
    • If you choose a device type from All Devices: You will then be prompted to select the brand of the device you are setting up.

    If your device doesn’t appear in the All Devices list, you may need to enable an Alexa skill for it. If you cannot find a skill for the brand product that you’re using, then it’s not supported by Amazon Alexa and you may not be able to use it.

  7. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup of your smart device. Instructions will vary according to the device, so be sure to read them all carefully before you being the installation and pairing process.

Once you’ve set a smart home device up on your Alexa app, then you can control it from your Android device as you would from an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, or another Echo device.

How to Create Alexa Groups and Control Them With the Amazon Mobile App

Once you have a few smart home devices set up, then you can begin to create groups with them. A group is a collection of smart home devices that have a common use. For example, some people set up all the smart home devices in a room as a group. You could also choose to set up all the smart home devices of a specific type as a group, like lights, plugs, or appliances.

Adding a group from your Android Alexa App starts in much the same way as adding a device: tap the Devices icon > + (plus) > Add Group. Then:

  1. Create a Custom Name for your group or choose from the list of Common Names then select Next.

    A screenshot of the Define Group name on the Alexa App for Android.
  2. On the Define Group page, select an Alexa device that will act as the main controller for the group from the list of Alexa-Enabled Devices. You can select more than one device if you want to be able to control your groups from multiple devices.

    Where to choose an Alexa enabled device for a group on the Android app.
  3. Next, from your list of Devices on the same page, choose the devices you want included in the group.

    Where on the Alexa Android app to choose devices to be included in a group.
  4. Then, if you have any scenes (more on those below), choose the scene you want to be applied to the group.

  5. When you’ve finished making your selections, tap Save.

  6. You’ll be returned to your main Devices page, and the new group should appear under your Groups list.

    Groups of smart home devices on the Alexa App for Android.
  7. You can now control all the devices or scenes in that group with a single tap or voice command.

How to Set Up Scenes With the Alexa App on Your Android Device

One common misconception with Amazon Alexa is that you can create a smart home scene using the Alexa app. In fact, scenes are created through smart device manufacturers’ apps. For example, a smart lighting product like Philips Hue bulbs might make scenes available through the Philips Hue companion app, but you cannot create a scene specifically for a smart device on the Alexa app.

When scenes are enabled through a smart product manufacturer’s app, they will appear when you’re setting up Alexa groups. You can then control those apps from your Alexa device or using the Alexa app for Android.

How to Set Up Routines With the Alexa App on Your Android Device

What people are most likely looking for when they want to create a scene for their smart home devices is a routine. A routine is a group of controls that all trigger with the use of a single Alexa command. For example, if you say “Alexa, good morning,” a routine could be triggered to start the coffee maker, turn on the kitchen lights (at half brightness, according to a scene associated with the smart light device), and to play your Daily Briefing.

To set up a routine using the Alexa app for Android:

  1. From any screen in the app, tap the three-bar menu in the top left corner of the page and choose Routines.

    The Alexa app menu showing the location of Routines.
  2. On the Routines screen, tap the + (plus) in the upper right corner.

  3. On the New Routine page, tap the + (plus) next to When this happens to set the conditions under which a routine is triggered. You have three options:

    • Voice: This opens the When You Say screen, where you can specify a phrase (that starts with “Alexa,...”) that triggers the routine.
    • Schedule: This allows you to set a specific time of day for a routine to trigger and to choose when the routine should recur.
    • Device: This setting lets you specify that when a supported device is enabled or turned on, a pre-defined routine occurs. For example, if you say “Alexa, turn on the television,” a routine would trigger to dim the lights in the room and change the environmental controls to 68 degrees.
  4. When you’ve set the conditions that you want to trigger the routine, then tap Save.

  5. You’re returned to the New Routine screen. Select the + (plus) next to Add Action.

    The new routine triggers and actions on the Alexa app for Android.
  6. The Add New screen appears with nine options you can control:

    • Alexa says: Create or choose a phrase with which you would like Alexa to respond when the routine is triggered.
    • Audio Control: Adjust the volume for the Alexa device you’re addressing.
    • Calendar: Have Alexa read you your agenda for Today, Tomorrow, or the Next Event.
    • Messaging: Receive a notification on the Alexa app or have Alexa make a custom announcement.
    • Music: Choose a song, artist, or playlist for Alexa to play.
    • News: Have Alexa play the news from your Flash Briefing.
    • Smart Home: Have Alexa control a smart device or group of smart devices.
    • Traffic: Have Alexa report traffic for your commute.
    • Weather: Have Alexa report the weather for your area.
  7. Add the actions you would like to have occur when you trigger the routine.

    The Routine actions on the Alexa app for Android.
  8. After each action that you add, you are returned to the New Routine screen. To add additional options, click the + (plus) next to Add action.

  9. Each time you add an action, it is placed at the top of the list. To arrange the actions to happen in the order you prefer (for example, to hear traffic before Alexa tells you to have a great day) press and hold the action until it undocks from the list, then drag it to the position in the list when you want it to be triggered.

  10. Finally, on the New Routine screen, under the heading From tap the downward facing arrow to choose which device you would like Alexa to respond from. By default, Alexa will respond from The device you speak to.

    An unsaved new routine on the Alexa app for Android.
  11. When you’ve made your selection, and returned to the New Routine screen, tap Create. You should see a confirmation message that the routine was created and could take up to one minute to become active.

After you’ve created your first Alexa routine, you’ll probably want to create others. They are pretty cool to use. You can create as many routines as you like, and Alexa may even have Recommended routines that you can try. Don’t worry. If you create a routine that’s not useful you can edit it by going to the Routines page. Tap the routine you want to edit and then make your changes using the same steps as above. You can also tap the toggle next to Enabled to disable the routine, or if you don’t use it anymore, you can tap the three-dot menu in the top right corner of the routine page and select Delete Routine.