Sometimes you don’t have your hands free to search for an answer to a burning question. More than 300 million homes have smart home assistants as of 2022, and for good reason: they make life so much easier. Amazon Alexa has many hidden features that many users are unaware of.
These hidden productivity, entertainment, social, and health features are a must-try the next time you want something new from your favorite virtual assistant.
Alexa can keep you up to date with planning and work-related features. Check out these fun productivity hacks your unit can provide.
find your phone
You don’t need your phone to look up things when you have a virtual assistant; in fact, having an Echo device might help you stop checking on it too often. But when you need your phone and can’t figure out where you left it, you can ask Alexa to call you, revealing your location.
Call an Uber or Lyft
Need to go somewhere but can’t find your phone? Have Alexa ask Lyft to request a ride for you. That way, she can spend time looking for her cell phone and still be sure her car will arrive on time. It is useful if you need to keep your hands free for other things.
Help you plan your vacation
Using the Where to Go on Vacation skill, Alexa can suggest cool tourist spots when planning a vacation. If you’ve never been to the area, you can ask Alexa what to do once you arrive. Alexa can tell you all the great places to visit based on web search results.
decide your outfit
Don’t know what to wear? Alexa can help you decide. Ask “Alexa, what am I wearing today?” and you will get an answer based on the forecast weather at your current location.
You may find that choosing clothes in the morning is easier than ever if you don’t mind following your smart assistant’s fashion advice.
Alexa’s main role is to make your life easier, but it can also make your downtime more fun. These features are purely for entertainment purposes, set to cure your boredom during the day.
Tell jokes, sing, rap or beatbox
Alexa has plenty of corny jokes she can share with you; all you have to say is: “Alexa, tell me a joke.” The virtual assistant will also get stuck if you say “Sing me a song”. And a special guest will even appear if you ask him to “Sing a duet with Ed Sheeran.”
Do you want to keep your pet busy while you work on something else? Alexa can do it for you. It can launch a series of barks and meows to “communicate” with your pet if you ask “Alexa, enable Meow” or “Alexa, enable Woof.”
If that’s not good enough to keep them entertained, Alexa can also play music that can help them relax by saying, “Alexa, open Calm My Pet.” There are also specific calming abilities for dogs or cats.
Provide lottery games and sports (or fantasy sports) play-by-play
You can call Alexa to let you know as soon as your team wins the big game, or even offer advice on your fantasy football league using skills like Fantasy Football. There are plenty of sports-related questions and commands for Alexa to satisfy even the most hardcore sports fan.
Are you someone who looks up the latest sports scores and lottery numbers while making your morning coffee? Alexa can do both, with various voice-activated commands available for people to hear lottery results as quickly as possible from the virtual assistant, from the general Lottery Numbers skill to more state-specific lottery skill options.
Roll a dice or toss a coin
If you’re playing a game or need a tiebreaker, you can ask Alexa to roll a die or a coin, which is pretty handy considering you probably don’t carry cash anymore, let alone a die. And with Alexa doing the work, no one can accuse anyone of cheating.
Akinator is a fun game where a web AI tries to guess what character or historical character you are thinking of. Alexa can funnel Akinator’s questions so you can play from the comfort of your couch without visiting the website. This game is a fun way to pass the time: say “Alexa, open Akinator” to start.
Alexa offers several fun features that you can use with family members. It can start a conversation or help people wind down at night. Alexa mimics the things you can do with a little extra flair.
Tell a bedtime story
If it doesn’t seem like your kids are winding down for bedtime, you can always offer them an Alexa-narrated story. Alexa can search through a treasure trove of stories and choose one that seems perfect for her child. She can also tell scarier stories to bored adults.
You can activate this skill by saying, “Alexa, tell me a story.” Or, if you have an Audible account, you can directly connect your account to your Alexa device to have it read from your current Audible library.
Santa Claus whereabouts tracking
Lots of services can help you track down Santa for your kids on Christmas Eve. Knowing where you are can delight any child and make them feel more excited in the morning. Trackers tend to follow Santa’s journey for a full 24 hours or more, leaving him plenty of time to ask Alexa where he’s currently flying.
Just ask, “Alexa, where’s Santa?” after enabling the skill in the Alexa app.
change the conversation
Need to change the topic of conversation but don’t know what to say? Ask Alexa to change the subject. She can give you something new to discuss, keeping her household or guests entertained.
Features to customize Alexa functionality
Alexa has a lot of great features, but some are also features that can improve the quality of your responses. Try these fun features the next time you want to change the way Alexa talks to you.
Some people don’t like how slowly virtual assistants speak. If you want Alexa to speak more like a human, all you have to do is tell her to speak faster. You should notice Alexa’s words speed up shortly after.
If you’re talking to Alexa late at night, you may not want her waking up the family at her default volume. Whispering your question or command to Alexa will lower her voice, allowing you to speak to her in peace.
Health and wellness features
Although not a replacement for a doctor or caregiver, Alexa functions as a personal health assistant during your daily activities. With these features, you can check on the progress of your loved ones and your fitness journey.
Be your personal trainer
Alexa knows how to get you in shape and help you build muscle. Just ask him for a quick workout. Alexa can also track her progress over time, so she can always check back and see how much she’s improved since the beginning.
take care of a loved one
Alexa can take care of your elderly loved ones who need a lot of supervision if you can’t always be with them.
The device can perform various tasks using the Alexa Together service, such as:
- Send you notifications when your loved one interacts with it
- Lets you know when your loved one’s day starts or if there is no activity at a certain time
- detect falls
- Access a professional Urgent Response helpline
Teach how to wash hands properly
Children learn best when they are taught how to do something repeatedly. You can try teaching your kids how to wash their hands with videos, but did you know that Alexa can do the same thing? Have Alexa help your kids know how long to wash their hands and lay the groundwork for a better habit.
Tell Alexa to “sing a song to wash your hands” or “sing a song for 20 seconds” to activate the feature.
Alexa can be a virtual assistant, but she can also protect your home. Alexa Guard is a specific feature that you can subscribe to that will allow Alexa to protect your home. It can be quite scary for intruders when combined with other services.
bark at intruders
Do you want the threat of a guard dog without having one? Whether her home is pet-free or her pups are too shy to bark at potential threats, Alexa has you covered.
An Alexa Guard feature makes Alexa bark like a dog to scare off intruders. It is an easy way to protect her home without much investment.
listen to the broken glass
When in Guard Mode, Alexa will listen for various factors that could indicate a break-in in your home. You’ll get a notification in your app when it detects something like broken window glass. You can play sounds to get a better sense of what’s going on in your home and even listen through your Alexa in real time to hear what’s going on.
be a security camera
The Alexa Echo Show has a screen that can display the time, streaming apps, and more. You can easily use its features as a security camera to see what is happening inside or outside your home. It’s a great way to feel comfortable at home when you’re alone.
To start using the feature, go to Settings > Camera > Home Monitoring on your Echo Show.
Work as an intercom
Alexa can work as an intercom for other Amazon devices in the home using the “Drop In” feature. If you need to reach someone on a different floor, you can talk to them through another Alexa assistant, and if you’re not sure where they are, you can use the “Announce” feature to send a message to each Echo in the home. This way, it’s easy to keep your whole family on the same page.
Alexa wears a lot of hats
Alexa is essential in many ways and can make the life and daily tasks of any household easier. Using Alexa should be stress-free, and you can enjoy its many features and tools while having fun with everything the virtual assistant has to offer. Try some of these features whenever you are bored or puzzled. You’ll be more grateful than ever to have Alexa in your home.