Using Alexa With Your iPhone

Shh! Don't tell Siri

Man holding iPhone sitting at desk
PhotoAlto/Sigrid Olsson/Getty Images

Siri is generally a much-beloved personal assistant. However, it isn't the only assistant available to iPhone users; it's also possible to download Alexa, Amazon's answer to Apple's digital helper.

The Alexa app is compatible with devices running iOS 11 and later.

How to Download Alexa on iPhone

Downloading the Amazon Alexa app on your iPhone is just as easy as downloading any other app to your iPhone.

  1. Open the App Store.

  2. Tap Search on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen.

  3. Tap the Search bar at the top of the screen.

    Searching in App Store on an iPhone
  4. Type "Alexa" into the search bar and press Search at the bottom-right corner of the screen.

  5. Tap the Get button.

    If you've previously downloaded (and deleted) an app, the install icon will become a cloud with an arrow pointing down. You only need to tap it once to download and install the app.

  6. Tap Install.

  7. When your phone finishes the download, tap Open to launch the Alexa app.

    Downloading Alexa in the App Store on iPhone

How to Set up Alexa on iPhone

Once you've downloaded and opened Alexa, you'll need to set up and customize the app.

  1. The app will ask for permission to use Bluetooth, which will let it connect to Alexa-compatible devices, like an Echo. Tap OK to authorize it or Don't Allow to deny the permission.

  2. Sign in to the app using your Amazon account, or create a new Amazon account if you don't already have one.

  3. Confirm the name attached to the login credentials you entered in the previous step.

    Initial setup and login on the Amazon Alexa app for iPhone
  4. Choose whether to let Amazon access your contact information and send you notifications. Tap Allow to grant permission or Later to set it up another time.

    Tapping Allow will issue individual requests for each of these items. You can permit one and deny the other.

  5. The next few screens will show you how to navigate the app. Tap Next to move through them.

    Setup of Amazon Alexa app on iPhone
  6. You'll arrive at the home screen. Tap the middle button to set up voice control.

  7. On the next screen, tap Allow to grant the app access to the microphone and your location.

    Setting up mic access in the Alexa app
  8. You have three options for location permissions.

    • Allow While Using App only shares your location when you have the app open and active on your screen.
    • Allow Once grants permission during this session but revokes it once you close the app.
    • Don't Allow doesn't share your location at all. Some features may not be available with location services off.
  9. The next screen gives you some examples of things you can ask Alexa. Tap Done to finish setting up voice control.

    Finishing setting up voice control for the Alexa app
  10. Tap the Alexa button on the home screen to give it voice commands.

    You can only "talk" to Alexa by tapping this button inside the app. Your iPhone will still use Siri everywhere else.

  11. Swipe up on the home screen to see more features you can turn on. To dismiss any of them, tap the three dots icon and select Dismiss.

    Dismissing basics in Alexa app for iPhone

How to Use Alexa for iPhone

The Alexa app's home screen has three more tabs to help you get the most out of the digital assistant.

  1. Tap the Communicate tab to make calls, send text messages, and use Drop In and Announce with compatible Echo devices.

    Alexa app on iPhone with the Communication tab highlighted
  2. Use the Play tab to read Kindle books and listen to streaming music from services like Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora.

    Alexa app for iPhone with the Play tab highlighted
  3. The Devices tab lets you add and manage Echo devices connected to your account. Tap All Devices for a complete list of connected Echos, Fire Tablets, Fire Sticks, and more.

    How to view all connected devices on the Alexa app for iPhone
  4. To add a device, tap the plus sign in the upper-right corner.

  5. Select Add Device in the menu that pops up.

  6. Find the hardware you want to add either by browsing brands or selecting the type of device from the list.

    How to add a device to the Alexa app for iPhone
  7. Follow the on-screen prompts to finish setting up the device. The instructions will be different depending on what you're connecting to.

How to Make Amazon Purchases with Alexa

While using Alexa on the iPhone is much like using Siri, there's one central function distinguishing Amazon's assistant from Apple's: you can use Alexa to order items on Amazon.

To use Alexa for Amazon orders, you must have an Amazon Prime subscription and 1-Click ordering set up.

  1. Tap the icon in the upper-left corner of the app that looks like three lines.

  2. Select Settings.

  3. Tap Account Settings.

    Settings screen in the Alexa app for iPhone
  4. Go to Voice Purchasing.

  5. Tap the slider next to Purchase by voice to on/blue.

  6. To add a PIN to make voice ordering more secure, tap the switch next to Voice Code to on/blue.

  7. Enter a 4-digit code on the next screen and tap Save.

    How to set up voice ordering in the Alexa app
  8. If the voice code is active, you'll need to say it before Alexa will place an order.

  9. With Voice Purchasing enabled, you can make an order simply by tapping the Alexa icon and saying something like, "Alexa, order Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats." Alexa will search Amazon, tell you what she's found, then ask you to confirm the purchase.