How to Make Calls Through Your Echo Using Amazon's Alexa

Your Amazon Echo is the home phone you've always wanted

With the prevalence of smartphones, having a home phone that's stuck to a stationary location doesn't tend to make a ton of sense. At least not until your phone is running low on battery and you need to make a call. If you and the person you're calling both have an Amazon Echo or another Alexa device, along with the latest version of the Alexa app, that call doesn't have to come through your phones. It can come through your Echos instead.

You can also use the Amazon Echo Connect with your home phone line to have the same capabilities as if you're using a different Echo device.

Connect Alexa to Your Phone with the Alexa App

The Alexa app is actually a critical piece of the puzzle. You need it before you can do any of the other steps in this how-to, as does anyone you want to call. If you don't have the latest version of the app installed on your iPhone or Android device, take a minute to visit the App Store or Google Play and check. Now's the time to nag your parents, best friend, sister, or neighbor to get updating as well.

Once Alexa is downloaded and updated, pair your Echo with your smartphone using the below instructions:

  1. Open the Alexa app and select Devices > Echo & Alexa.

  2. Select your device.

  3. Select Bluetooth Devices > Pair a New Device.

Confirm Your Number

Once you get the newest version of the app, you're also prompted to confirm your phone number. This process involves typing in your phone number and then entering in a short 6-digit code that Amazon texts you to make sure the phone number is yours.

If you have two-factor authentication set up on something like your email account, then this is roughly the same process.

Hand holding phone with Alexa App icon

Amazon

Discover Who You Can Talk To

Open the Alexa app, then tap the Communicate icon that's at the bottom of the screen. Select the person icon that's at the top of the page in the upper-right corner. This brings up a list of your contacts that have also have updated their Alexa app.

Alternatively, you can select Make a Call from the Home screen to see your Alexa contacts.

To place calls with Alexa, a person has to be saved in your phone as a contact and have an updated version of the app running on their phone. This list is likely shorter than your entire contacts list, so pay attention to whom you can actually call.

To call anyone on that list, select their name, then select Call. You can also ask Alexa to call someone by using a voice command like "Alexa, call Bob!"

An Alexa user places a call within the app

Answer Calls on Your Phone or Echo

Once you place a call, the person you're trying to reach hears their phone ring, as well as any Echo devices they have associated with their account. So, if you call your mom, her iPhone rings but so does the Echo in her kitchen. If you're the one receiving a call, simply say, "Alexa Answer" in order to have Alexa answer the phone. When you're done chatting, say, "Alexa, hang up" to end the conversation.

Want to leave a message instead of calling? Say, "Alexa, send a message to Bob" to create a voicemail for your friend or family member.

Amazon Dots on table

Stephen Brashear / Getty Images

When You Miss a Call Through Alexa

If you miss a call or someone decides to leave you a message, your Echo device glows green. When you want to hear a message, say, "Alexa, play my messages."

In addition to offering in-app playback of your voicemail, Alexa also transcribes your voicemails for you, so you can read a (computer-generated and possibly not super accurate) transcription of the message rather than listening to it.

This feature is only going to get better. Amazon has said it plans to eventually add the ability to call specific Echo devices rather than all of them at once. That means one day you could leave a message on the Dot in your kid's room rather than in the whole house, or place a call to your husband's office Echo rather than ringing the Dots in the kitchen and living room as well.

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