How To Make and Answer Calls with your Amazon Echo
Amazon really came through for consumers with its Echo lineup. The simple, smart home devices can control your lights, place Amazon orders, answer questions, play games, and even make phone calls. While relatively simple, the device is capable of so many things.
If you have an Amazon Echo and your friends or family have one too, or the Alexa app on their smartphone, you can make free calls using voice control directly from your device.
If you want to make calls outside of this infrastructure, you can call out from an Alexa device in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
This article will show you how to configure your Echo device for calling and teach you some troubleshooting tips along the way.
Configuring the Amazon Echo for Phone Calls
Before you can make and answer calls with your Amazon Echo, you first need to set everything up. If your Echo device is new and you have yet to set it up, you’ll need to do that first. Of course, you don’t need an Echo device to make calls from the app. You can sign in to your Amazon account and follow the steps outlined below to configure the calling feature.
Here are the steps for configuring your Echo to make and receive phone calls:
- Download the latest version of the Alexa app onto your smartphone and install it. Either from the app itself or a fresh version, iOS from here and Android from here.
- Follow the wizard to set it up and give it permissions to access your phone data.
- Tap on Communicate at the bottom of the screen.
- Add your phone number and tap Continue. Then, input the verification code.
- You can now see your phone number under the Communicate tab.
Making calls with an Amazon Echo will use your phone data but will not use phone minutes. If you’re running low on data for the month, bear it in mind when making calls with Alexa.
How to Add Contacts to Alexa
Now that you’ve prepared your Alexa device and app, it’s time to add your contacts. If you’ve already configured your Echo device and the calling feature, adding your contacts is easy. Remember that doing this will help you use Alexa’s voice-activated feature to make phone calls quickly.
Here’s how to add your phone’s contacts to your Alexa app:
- Open the Alexa app on your device and tap Communicate.
- Tap on the people icon in the upper right-hand corner.
- Tap Import at the bottom of this page.
- Toggle the Import switch to the right and grant permission for the Alexa app to access your device’s contacts.
Now, when you ask Alexa to make a phone call, she’ll have access to do so using your contacts.
Making a call with your Amazon Echo
You can make an Alexa to Alexa call or ‘break out’ and call a landline or a mobile phone.
You can use the Alexa app or your Amazon Echo. To make a call with your Echo, say “Alexa, call [NAME]” to call someone in your phone contacts or “Alexa, call [NUMBER]” to reach a specific phone number.
As long as the contact’s name is in your phone contacts, Alexa should call their Alexa app.
If you’re calling a non-Alexa user or calling a number, they don’t have to be in your contacts. You say “Alexa, call [555-555-5555]” or whatever the number is, and Alexa will call it.
If you want to make a call from the Alexa app instead, select Communicate, then select Call.
From here, you should see a list of contacts. Tap the contact you’d like to reach out to and select Audio or Video.
Answering A Call with Your Amazon Echo
When you receive a call on your Echo, you will also receive the call on your Alexa app. The light ring on the Echo should turn green, and Alexa will notify you of the call. To answer using the Echo, say “Alexa answer call.”
If you want to answer using the app, answer your phone as usual.
You don’t have to take the call if you’re busy. You can say ‘Alexa, ignore,’ and it will do that. You need to let your phone ring out if you don’t want to answer from the app.
Sending Voice Messages with Alexa
Voice messages are another neat feature of the Alexa app that allows you to send audio messages to someone. These Alexa app voice messages are like pre-recorded voicemails and can be useful for quick updates or messages when you don’t have time for a phone call.
To send a voice message using your Echo, say “Alexa, send [NAME] a message” and speak your message out loud. Of course, this assumes the person is in your contacts.
To send a voice message via the Alexa app, open the conversation window and select the blue microphone icon instead of the phone icon to record a message.
Alexa receives the message the same way it gets a call, the Alexa app will alert your phone, and your Echo will glow. You can listen to the message right away or save it for later.
The Amazon Echo and Alexa can do much more than play music or tell you the weather. If you know other people with the device, you can talk as much as you like without it costing you a dime. You can do all this from your Amazon Echo or your Alexa app.
Echo Calling Troubleshooting
You’ve followed the steps above and ask Alexa to call your best friend. But, she doesn’t respond. Or worse, she calls the wrong person. Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to correct Alexa’s errors.
First, if Alexa isn’t responding, make sure your Echo device is connected to a stable WiFi connection. Your device does need the internet to function. You can check other connected devices in your home to ensure that your internet is working. But, you can also open the Alexa app and go to Devices>[Echo Device] and check the WiFi connection (at the bottom of the page).
Next, retrace the steps given above to set up the calling feature. Verify that your phone number is accurate and that you aren’t prompted to follow the setup process again.
If you’re still having trouble, update the Alexa app on your phone. An outdated version of the app can cause problems with some of your Echo’s features.
Lastly, try giving Alexa the call command again. It’s possible that the device misunderstood what you were trying to say and therefore didn’t respond correctly.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Amazon Echo lineup is so helpful in today’s digital world that you likely have more questions. We’ve answered those questions in this section.
Can Alexa call 911?
Unfortunately, no. Alexa cannot call emergency services for you. Between state regulations and complications with the switchboard, the device is not natively capable of calling 911.
What is the difference between a Drop-in communication and a Phone call?
The Drop-in feature is different from a phone call because the former lets you instantly connect to another Echo device, whereas a phone call needs to be answered. The drop-in feature is useful when you want to check in on someone; for example, when you’re away from home, you can drop in on an Echo device in your home to check on your pets.
How do I enable Alexa’s Drop-In feature?
If the drop-in feature is appealing to you, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that it’s pretty easy to set up.
Open the Alexa app and tap on the three horizontal lines in the upper right-hand corner. From here, you can turn on the Drop-In feature. You can set the feature to drop in from inside your home, or you can set it up to drop in from anywhere. If you choose the latter, it will only allow specific contacts to drop in on your Alexa device.
Once turned on, head over to the Communication icon at the bottom of the Alexa app and toggle ‘Allow Drop In’ to the on position. Now, you can use the Alexa app on your phone to call your Alexa device.
Do you have any tips and tricks for making and receiving phone calls with your Amazon Echo? If so, please leave us a comment below!