How to Set up Alexa

Alexa can be used on most devices, including Macs and iPhones - learn how!

Use the Alexa app on your phone and other devices.

Getty / MoMo Productions 

While many other devices have built-in voice assistants, there are certain conveniences that Amazon's Alexa provides that something like Siri might not. Here's how to set up Alexa on a variety of your devices.

How to Set up Alexa on an Android Phone

You can set Alexa to be your default voice assistant on an Android phone by following a few easy steps. First, download the Alexa app from the Google Play Store.

Navigate to the Setting menu to get started.
  1. Once you have the Alexa app, launch it and sign into your Amazon account.
  2. Navigate to your Settings.
  3. Once in Settings, go to Applications > Default Applications > Assist & Voice Input > Alexa.
    1. Note: If you're using a Samsung phone, open Settings, then go to Advanced Features > Device Assistant App > Alexa.
  4. Tap Allow when prompted to grant Alexa certain permissions, then tap OK.
  5. You should be all set up with your new voice assistant.

How to Set up Alexa on an iPhone or iPad

You can set up Alexa on your iPhone just like you would on an Android.

Note: You can't make Alexa the default voice assistant; Siri is still in charge. However, it's still useful if you have Smart Home devices and aren't near your Echo, or if you want to easily order items through your Amazon account.

  1. Download the Alexa app from the iTunes store.
  2. Launch the Alexa app and link it to your account.
  3. You can open the app and give commands by holding the icon in the middle of the screen and speaking, just like you would on an Echo device.

How to Set up Alexa on a Windows PC or Laptop

Microsoft and Amazon are working together to better integrate Alexa into Windows 10, but you can still install it on any computer running Windows and have it up and running in a few minutes. Some PCs come preloaded with Alexa; type "Alexa" in the search section of the toolbar to see if your PC already has it installed.

If Alexa isn't installed already, you can download it from Dropbox through this link. You'll need to make sure a few things are up-to-date first:

  • You need Windows Framework version 4.7.2 or later. This can be downloaded through Windows Update or through the Windows website.
  • The most recent version of Windows 10.
  • Once Alexa for Windows is downloaded, make sure the language is set to US English. Alexa for Windows currently only supports this option, although more languages should be on the way.

Just like with any other device, you will be prompted to sign in with your Amazon account to link it to your Alexa app. Enable app sounds and allow the app to launch when you sign in to your computer to finalize the setup process.

Note: You'll normally need to run regular Alexa processes with the app open, but as Microsoft and Amazon better integrate the voice assistant with the operating system, you'll be able to activate it with a voice command.

How to Set up Alexa on a Mac

Alexa itself is not available on Mac computers, but you can use a third-party app called Reverb that links to your Amazon account and runs through the macOS.

  1. If you go to Reverb's website, you can download the app for various devices, including your Mac computer.
  2. Once downloaded, you'll need to link the program to your Amazon account, and the program will launch.
  3. From there, you should see a circle with a microphone. This is your new voice assistant. You can ask Alexa to play music, add things to your Amazon cart, or answer questions, just like you would on an Echo device.

Note: Since Reverb is a third-party app, it doesn't seem to have complete functionality and still has some blips to work out. It tends to not always recognize your voice, and it isn't quite as fluid or skilled as Alexa at sussing out what you're trying to say. Developer Rain is constantly updating the app, however, and it's the closest you'll get to Alexa on Mac until Amazon adds full support.