1. How do I use Alexa?
Alexa allows you to ask questions and make requests using just your voice. For instance, you can ask Alexa a question, such as "What is the weather today in Sydney?", or tell Alexa to do something, like "Add batteries to my shopping list," or "Play jazz." When you speak to Alexa, a recording of what you asked Alexa is sent to Amazon’s cloud so we can process and respond to your request. You access Alexa differently based on the type of device you are using. For “hands free” devices, like the Amazon Echo, you access Alexa by saying the wake word (Alexa, Echo, Amazon, or Computer).
2. Is Alexa recording all my conversations?
No. Echo devices are designed to detect only your chosen wake word (Alexa, Amazon, Computer or Echo). The device detects the wake word by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word. No audio is stored or sent to the cloud unless the device detects the wake word (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button).
3. What happens when I speak to Alexa?
When you speak to Alexa, a recording of what you asked Alexa is sent to Amazon’s cloud where we process your request and other information to respond to you. For example, when you ask “Alexa, play top hits on Amazon Music” we use the recording of your request and information from Amazon Music to play top hits.
4. How does Alexa minimize the amount of data sent to the cloud?
Alexa and Echo devices are designed to record as little audio as possible and minimise the amount of background noise streamed to the cloud. By default, Alexa-enabled devices only stream audio to the cloud if the wake word is detected (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button). When an Alexa-enabled device detects the wake word and begins streaming audio to the cloud, Alexa performs a “cloud verification” of the wake word using the more powerful processing capabilities of the cloud to double-check the audio to confirm detection of the wake word. If the cloud verification does not also detect the wake word, Alexa stops processing the audio and ends the audio stream to the cloud. If Alexa confirms that the wake word was spoken, Alexa will continually attempt to determine when your request has ended and then immediately end the audio stream.
5. What about “false wakes”?
In some cases, your Alexa-enabled device might interpret another word or sound as the wake word (for instance, the name “Alex” or someone saying “Alexa” on the radio or television). When this happens, we call that a “false wake.” We have a team of world-class scientists and engineers dedicated to continually improving our wake word detection technology and preventing false wakes from happening, including through the cloud verification mechanism described in the FAQ “How does Alexa minimize the amount of data sent to the cloud?”
Anytime your Echo device detects the wake word, a visual or audible indicator will signal it is recording audio to stream to the cloud, and you can review and delete the voice recordings associated with your account (including any audio resulting from a false wake) in your Voice History available in the Alexa app at Settings > Alexa Privacy or https://www.amazon.com.au/alexaprivacysettings.
6. Can I review and delete my voice recordings?
Yes. You can review voice recordings associated with your account and delete those voice recordings one by one, by date range, by Alexa-enabled device, or all at once by visiting Settings > Alexa Privacy in the Alexa app or https://www.amazon.com.au/alexaprivacysettings.
You can also enable the ability to delete your recordings by voice. Once enabled, you can delete the voice recording of your last request by saying “Alexa, delete what I just said” or you can delete all the voice recordings from your account for the day by saying "Alexa, delete everything I said today." To enable deletion by voice go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Review Voice History in the Alexa app or https://www.amazon.com.au/alexaprivacysettings. When enabled, anyone with access to your Alexa-enabled devices can ask Alexa to delete voice recordings from your account.
Deleting voice recordings may degrade your Alexa experience. If you have changed your default marketplace while using an Alexa-enabled product, you will need to perform this step for each marketplace to delete all voice recordings associated with your account.
7. What happens when I delete my voice recordings?
When you delete voice recordings associated with your account, we will delete the voice recordings and the text transcripts of your request that you selected from Amazon’s cloud. We may still retain other records of your Alexa interactions, including records of actions Alexa took in response to your request. This allows us, for instance, to continue to provide your reminders, timers, and alarms, process your orders, and show your shopping and to-do lists and messages sent through Alexa Communications. If your request was processed by an Alexa skill, deleting your voice recordings does not delete any information retained by the developer of that skill (skill developers do not receive voice recordings). or more information on Alexa skills, refer to the FAQ “How do Alexa skills work?”.
8. What is Alexa’s Voice History feature?
Voice History is a feature that allows you to play the audio of your voice recordings that were streamed to the cloud, review the text transcript of what Alexa thought you said, and review Alexa’s response. This feature can help you better understand how Alexa works and what Alexa is and is not recording. You can also use it to recall answers Alexa gave you previously, such as the name of a restaurant Alexa recommended. If Alexa makes a mistake, you can use this feature to see what may have gone wrong, such as whether Alexa misunderstood a particular word or phrase. You can access Alexa’s Voice History by visiting Settings > Alexa Privacy > Review Voice History in the Alexa app or https://www.amazon.com.au/alexaprivacysettings. You can also help us improve our voice services by providing feedback within your Voice History.
9. How are my voice recordings used?
Alexa uses your voice recordings and other information, including from third-party services, to answer your questions, fulfill your requests, and improve your experience and our services. We associate your requests with your Amazon account to allow you to review your voice recordings, access other Amazon services (e.g., so you can ask Alexa to read your Kindle books and play audiobooks from Audible), and to provide you with a more personalised experience. For example, keeping track of the songs you have listened to helps Alexa choose what songs to play when you say, “Alexa, play music.” At times, Alexa can provide you with recommendations based on your requests. For example, Alexa may recommend Alexa skills you might like based on the Alexa skills you use.
10. How do my voice recordings improve Alexa?
Alexa is designed to get smarter every day. For example, we use your requests to Alexa to train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems using machine learning. Training Alexa with real world requests from a diverse range of customers is necessary for Alexa to respond properly to the variation in our customers’ speech patterns, dialects, accents, and vocabulary and the acoustic environments where customers use Alexa. This training relies in part on supervised machine learning, an industry-standard practice where humans review an extremely small sample of requests to help Alexa understand the correct interpretation of a request and provide the appropriate response in the future. For example, a human reviewing a customer’s request for the weather in Perth can identify that Alexa misinterpreted it as a request for the weather in Tamworth. Our supervised learning process includes multiple safeguards to protect customer privacy. You can manage the use of your voice recordings to improve our services and develop new features by visiting Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa in the Alexa app.
11. How do Alexa skills work?
Skills are voice-driven Alexa capabilities. You can view available skills and enable or disable certain skills from your Alexa app, and start using enabled skills by saying specific phrase(s), called invocation names, after you activate Alexa. When you use a skill, we may exchange related information with the developer of that skill, such as your answers when you play a trivia skill, your postcode when you ask for the weather, or the content of your requests (but not your voice recordings). The Skills portion of your Alexa app may contain more information about skills, such as applicable privacy policies and terms provided by skill developers. By default, we do not share your personal information with skill developers. You can choose to grant us permission to share additional information with a skill developer (such as your name and email address with a restaurant booking skill to make a reservation). You can see and manage the skills that you granted permission to access specific additional information through Settings > Alexa Privacy or https://www.amazon.com.au/alexaprivacysettings.
12. How does voice purchasing work?
Prime members can ask Alexa to order or reorder eligible products available for sale through the Amazon website. You can also subscribe to eligible services using Alexa, purchase songs or albums from our Digital Music Store, or purchase products and services through Alexa skills using your default payment and shipping settings. You can require a speakable confirmation code, turn purchasing off, and see product and order details in your Alexa App or at alexa.amazon.com.au for those orders. Just like orders placed through the Amazon website, orders placed through Alexa are subject to Amazon's Conditions of Use & Sale and Privacy Notice and, in the case of a subscription for a service, the terms for the applicable service.
Some Alexa skills allow you to purchase products and services from the developer of the skill using a payment method you provide directly to the developer. Your voice purchasing settings may not apply to those purchases.
13. Can I turn off voice purchasing?
Yes, Alexa has voice purchasing settings. Open Settings > Voice Purchasing in your Alexa App to turn off voice purchasing from Amazon. You can also require an optional confirmation code that Alexa will ask you to say out loud when you want to place an order from Amazon.
14. What are the return and cancellation policies for products and content I order using Alexa?
For information on return policies applicable to non-digital products purchased on Amazon using Alexa, see About Our Returns Policies.
Amazon's return policies do not apply to purchases of non-digital products or services made through third-party Alexa skills (for instance, a food order placed through a restaurant's skill). Instead, the returns policy of the applicable skill developer applies.
15. What are kid skills and how do I enable them?
Kid skills are skills that have been identified by the developer as directed to children. Kid skills are turned off by default. You can turn all kid skills on in the Settings menu of your Alexa app. You can turn off all kid skills at any time by changing that same setting. When turned off, kid skills cannot be used on your account. You can find more information about each kid skill, including any terms provided by the developer of the skill, on the detail page for the skill in your Alexa app. Learn More.
16. How does Alexa work with smart home devices?
Alexa enables you to control and check the status of a variety of smart home devices, such as lights, switches and plugs. See compatible smart home devices. You can connect compatible smart home devices to Alexa using Alexa smart home skills. You can also directly connect certain smart home devices to Echo devices with a built-in smart home hub, like Echo Plus. We may automatically update the firmware for certain devices on behalf of the applicable manufacturer.
We may receive information about third-party smart home devices you connect to Alexa, such as device type, name, features, and status and usage history. You can delete this status and usage history for third-party smart home devices through Settings > Alexa Privacy or https://www.amazon.com.au/alexaprivacysettings. Deleting this history may degrade your Alexa experience and certain features. This will not delete other information about your smart home devices, such as device type or name.
17. How do voice profiles work?
When you create a voice profile, Alexa uses recordings of your voice to create an acoustic profile of your voice characteristics. Alexa stores your voice profile in the cloud and uses it to recognise you when you speak to Alexa. This allows Alexa to call you by name and personalise your experience. You can delete your voice profile at any time in the Alexa App. We will also automatically delete your voice profile if you stop using Alexa and Alexa doesn't recognise your voice for three years.
18. How does Amazon use the permissions I grant in the Alexa app?
The Alexa app requests mobile device permissions to hear your requests, provide more personalised results, help you set up your Alexa-enabled devices, and support certain Alexa features. Below is a list of certain permissions the Alexa app may request, along with a description of how Amazon currently uses those permissions. You can manage the permissions you grant to the Alexa app in the Settings for your mobile device.
Location. We use your mobile device's geolocation to provide results (e.g., weather, traffic, restaurant recommendations) based on where you are using the app and to enable certain features (such as location-based Reminders and Routines). On some mobile devices, we also need the location permission to discover and connect to nearby Bluetooth devices and Wi-Fi networks to help you set up certain Alexa-enabled devices.
Microphone. We use your mobile device's microphone to hear your requests and to enable Alexa Communication features. On some mobile devices, we also need the microphone permission to process audio from your Alexa-enabled Bluetooth devices.
Contacts. We use your mobile device contacts to help you call, message, and connect with your friends and family. To learn more about how we use your contacts for Alexa Communication, please see the Alexa Communication FAQs below.
Storage. To enable certain Alexa features, we may need to store data locally on the device. For example, to improve the performance of the app, we may store certain data (e.g., map data) locally.
Camera. We use the camera on your mobile device to enable video calling, simplify device setup (e.g., scanning a device barcode to initiate setup), and enable certain other Alexa features.
Notifications. We use notifications to send you alerts, such as when you receive new messages or calls.
Let the app always run in background. To use certain Alexa-enabled devices and features (e.g., Reminders and Routines), the Alexa app needs permission to always run in the background on certain mobile devices.
1. What is Alexa Communication?
This free feature brings the simplicity of Echo's hands-free experience, the benefit of Echo's microphone array, plus the high-quality sound of the Echo speaker, to calling and messaging. Now you can quickly call and send/receive voice messages for your family and friends via Alexa—all just by using your voice. Using your supported Echo device, simply say "Alexa, call Grandma" or "Alexa, send a message to Julie."
2. What devices support Alexa Communication?
You can send and receive Alexa messages (and place and receive Alexa calls) between a supported Echo device, as well as the Alexa App on supported mobile phones and tablets. Alexa Communication may also be available on some third party Alexa-enabled products. Features may vary by device.
3. How does Alexa Messaging work?
You can use supported Echo devices and the Alexa App to send voice and text messages to another Alexa Communication user (e.g., on Echo, "Alexa, send a message to Mum" or, on the Alexa App, tapping on the message icon on Mum's contact card). Messages are processed in the Cloud to convert voice messages to text, and vice versa. When you receive a message on a supported Echo device, you will hear an audio tone and see a visual notification. You will be able to retrieve the message on your supported Echo devices by saying "Alexa, play my messages." When you receive a message, you also will receive a notification on your mobile phone or tablet, and you will be able to view and play the message in the Alexa App. Alexa Messaging does not support sending or receiving text messages to or from phone numbers.
4. How does Alexa Calling work?
You can use supported Echo devices and the Alexa App to call another Alexa Communication user (e.g., on Echo, "Alexa, call Mum" or, on the Alexa App, tapping on the calling icon on Mum's contact card). When you receive Alexa calls on your supported Echo devices, Alexa will tell you that you have an incoming call and identify the caller. You also will see a green light ring on Echo devices without a screen, and an incoming call screen on Echo devices with a screen. You can say "Alexa, answer" to pick up the call. Either person can end the call by saying "Alexa, hang up." When you receive a call, you also will receive a notification on your mobile phone or tablet and will see an incoming call screen in the Alexa App that lets you answer the call. Alexa Calling does not support calling phone numbers or receiving calls from phone numbers.
5. Can I text or call emergency services using Alexa Communication?
No, emergency services, such as 000 in Australia or 111 in New Zealand, are not available through Alexa Communication. You should ensure that you can contact your relevant emergency services providers through a mobile, landline telephone, or other service.
6. How do I add and delete contacts for Alexa Communication?
When you register for Alexa Communication on your Alexa App, you will be asked to import your contacts from your device which will then appear as contacts in your Alexa App. When you open the Alexa App, your contacts are auto-updated from your tablet or mobile phone. You may disable contact import in the Alexa App. If contact import is disabled, contacts you previously imported from your device will be deleted.
You may also manually add contacts to your Alexa contact list in the Alexa App. You can also delete each contact you manually added by selecting the applicable contact card.
7. Do I need to give permission for others to call or message me?
First you must register for Alexa Communication. Once you are registered, if another Alexa Communication user has your contact details, they can reach you via Alexa.
8. Who will receive my calls or messages?
If you call or message another Alexa Communication user (e.g. "Jane Smith"), the call or message will go to all supported Echo devices associated with that contact, as well as that contact's Alexa App.
9. What is Do Not Disturb mode?
Do Not Disturb puts your Echo device on silent, meaning you will not receive calls or messages via Alexa. Simply say "Alexa, turn on do not disturb" or you can turn it on in Settings in the Alexa App. When you're ready to receive calls and messages again, just say "Alexa, turn off do not disturb."
10. How do I remove messages from my conversation list?
On the iOS version of the Alexa App, swipe a conversation to the left and click "Remove." On the Android version of the Alexa App, long press on a conversation to select it, then tap the trash icon in the top navigation bar. Note that removing a conversation from your conversation list does not remove it from your contact's conversation list. It is not possible for you to remove sent or received messages from a contact's conversation list.
11. How do I de-register from Alexa Communication?
You can call customer service at 1800 064 122 (toll free) when dialing in Australia or at 0800 453 249 (charges may apply) when dialing in New Zealand, and we will help you de-register from Alexa Communication.
12. What is Drop In?
The optional Drop In feature will let you easily connect with your closest friends and family on supported Echo devices. To give Drop In permission to yourself (and your household) or a contact (and that contact’s household), select the applicable contact card and turn on Drop In. In addition, you can give Drop In permission to yourself (and your household) by simply saying “Alexa, Drop In on Home.” To turn off Drop In for your household, you can simply say “Alexa, disable Drop In.” Alternatively, you can turn on Do Not Disturb on one, or all, Echo devices by saying "Alexa, turn on Do Not Disturb." You also may disable Drop In for a specific device via the device settings in the Alexa App.
13. When someone drops in on my device, what do they hear and see?
When someone drops in on your supported Echo device, you will hear an audio tone and see a visual indicator that someone is dropping in on you. The contact on the other side of the Drop In will automatically hear audio through your device. You may end the Drop In by saying "Alexa, hang up." On Echo devices without a screen, you will see a green in-call light indicator showing that a Drop In is in progress.
If a contact with the Alexa App or an Echo device with a screen drops in on your Echo device with a screen, they will see a frosted glass view from your device's camera. The frosted glass view will automatically transition to clear video over a short period of time. You will see the contact's video (and a picture-in-picture view of your own video) when the Drop In is in progress. You can end a Drop In by tapping the end icon on the screen, or you can disable the camera while continuing an audio conversation by saying "Alexa, video off" or tapping the video off icon on the screen.
14. What is a recently active indicator?
If household members or contacts have been granted Drop In permission, they will see a recently active indicator on their Echo Spot or Alexa App displaying whether someone is nearby your supported Echo devices. Interactions with Alexa will be used to determine whether your device has been recently active.
15. How do I disable Drop In?
If you have granted your household members Drop In permission, you can disable that on your own contact card. If you have granted any other contacts Drop In permission, you can disable it by saying “Alexa, disable Drop In” or turning off Drop In on their contact cards. You also may disable Drop In for a specific device via the device settings in the Alexa App.
16. What are Announcements?
The Announcements feature lets you easily make announcements to other supported Echo devices within your household, like a one-way intercom. Simply say, "Alexa, announce that dinner's ready" and "Dinner's ready" will then be announced in your voice to all supported Echo devices in your household. You can block Announcements on one, or all, Echo devices by turning on Do Not Disturb - simply say "Alexa, turn on Do Not Disturb." Unlike Drop In, Announcements are one-way only. To respond to an Announcement, you can make a new Announcement or start a Drop In as a two-way intercom.
17. Can I link third-party communications services with Alexa Communication?
Yes, you can link select third-party communications services with Alexa Communication. Simply go to “Communications” within Settings in the Alexa app. Amazon may import and save your contacts from your third-party communications service in the cloud to help you connect with your friends and family. Some features may not be available via Alexa, and charges from the third-party communications service may apply for use of some features. You should check any terms applicable to the third-party communications service (including whether emergency services are available) prior to linking your account with Alexa.
Alexa-Enabled Echo devices, like Echo and Echo Show, are hands free Alexa-enabled devices.
1. How do Echo devices Dot recognise the wake word?
Echo devices are designed to detect only your chosen wake word (Alexa, Amazon, Computer or Echo). The device detects the wake word by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word. Once the wake word is detected, audio begins streaming to the cloud, including a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word. No audio is stored or sent to the cloud unless the device detects the wake word (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button).
2. How do I know when Echo devices are streaming audio to the cloud?
When Echo devices detect the wake word or when the action button, available on some Echo devices, is pressed to activate Alexa, a visual indicator appears on the device to indicate that the device is streaming audio to the cloud. For instance, a light ring on the Echo will turn blue or a blue bar will appear on Echo Show. When you use the wake word, the audio stream includes a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word, and closes once your request has been processed. You can turn on Follow-Up Mode to enable Alexa to respond to a series of requests without repeating the wake word. Learn more. You can also configure Echo devices to play a short audible tone any time audio is sent to the cloud within settings in the Alexa app.
3. Can I turn off the microphones on Echo devices?
Yes. Echo devices are equipped with a microphone off button. When the button is pressed, the power to the microphones is disconnected and a dedicated red light is illuminated. When the microphones are turned off, your device cannot record and stream audio to the cloud.
4. How do Echo devices with a screen know to turn on the screen?
Echo devices with a screen will turn on the screen when they detect the wake word or motion in view of the camera or when you interact with the devices' display or buttons.
5. How do I know when Echo devices with a camera are streaming images or video to the cloud?
There will be an on-screen indicator whenever Echo devices with a camera are streaming images or video to the cloud. For instance, if a video call is active, the device's screen will display a picture-in-picture view of the video being streamed to the cloud or will display a green "call in progress" bar at the bottom of the screen.
6. Can I turn off the camera on Echo devices with a camera?
Yes. You can turn off the camera on Echo devices with a camera by pushing the microphone/camera off button on your device. When the microphone/camera off button is pressed, the power to the camera and the microphones is disconnected and a dedicated red light is illuminated. Some Echo devices with a camera, like Echo Show 5, have an additional built-in camera shutter. When the camera is turned off, by pressing the microphone/camera off button or the camera shutter is covering the camera, the device will not detect motion in view of the camera and you will not be able to use any features that rely on the camera such as video calling.
For common questions about Alexa, Echo Devices and Privacy, see the Alexa Privacy Hub.