Alexa isn't the only one you can talk to on your Echo.
You can place a voice call to someone with an Echo device or the Alexa app, and you can receive calls as well. The Alexa app supports Alexa-to-Alexa calling on an iPhone with iOS 9.0 or higher and an Android phone with Android 5.0 or higher.
With an Echo Show, you can place and receive video calls. You can also use an intercom-like feature called Drop In to call someone else's Echo device directly, either in your own home or elsewhere.
Let's go over the steps for enlisting Alexa as a phone operator.
1Register for Alexa-to-Alexa Calling
To get started, open the Alexa app on your mobile phone and tap on the Conversations icon (the dialogue balloon icon). If you haven't already registered for Alexa-to-Alexa calling, you're asked to confirm your name, allow access to your contacts, and verify your phone number. Alexa then uses your contacts list to find people you know who have an Echo device or the Alexa app and have also registered for the calling feature.
To see and receive a phone call through the Alexa app on your phone, make sure you've enabled notifications for the app.
2Make or Receive a Call
You can now call someone in your contacts list. To do this with the Alexa app on your phone, make sure you're at the Conversations screen. Tap on the Contact icon in the upper right and the person's name. Select the phone icon to make an audio call or the camera icon to place a video call.
Alternatively, you can ask Alexa to make the call on your Echo device. To do this, say: "Alexa, call [name of contact]," and Alexa places the call.
3Answer the Call
The call is then routed to the Echo devices owned by the person you're calling. It's also routed to the Alexa app on the individual's phone (assuming that person has enabled notifications for the app). That person can then answer using an Echo or the Alexa app.
If you're using an Echo Show or the Alexa app to make a video call, you can toggle the video on and off any time during the call. To end the call from the Alexa app, tap on the End button. To end a call through your Echo, say: "Alexa, hang up."
If you receive a voice or video call, the light rings on your Echo devices turn green, the Alexa app notifies you of the call, and Alexa tells you who's calling. On an Echo Show or in the Alexa app, you can see the contact name of the caller. You can then either answer the call by saying: "Alexa, answer" or reject the call by saying: "Alexa, ignore."
4Drop In on an Echo Device
You can call someone's Echo device directly using the Drop In feature. Drop In functions almost like an intercom, where you and the person on the other end can talk. You can use Drop In to talk to someone else in your home in a room with an Echo device, and you can use it call someone in another household or other location. The difference between Drop In and a regular Echo call is that the person on the other end doesn't need to accept the Drop In; it happens automatically.
People in your Alexa contacts list can also tap into Drop In to call you. But don't worry; it's opt-in, so you need to enable it before people can start dropping in. Open the Alexa app. Make sure you've already registered for Alexa-to-Alexa calling. From the Conversations screen, tap on the Contacts icon. Tap on your own name to display your profile. Then turn on the Drop In button. The app explains what happens if you enable Drop In. Tap OK to enable the feature. Drop In is now turned on for you and any other Echo or Alexa users in your household, allowing you to connect to any Echo in your home and anyone in your household to contact you via your Echo.
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Next, tap on the name of a contact to whom you wish to give Drop In permission. Turn on the Drop In button. The app explains what happens if you enable Drop In for this contact. Tap OK to enable the feature. That person can now drop in on you via your Echo devices.
6Customize Drop-In Settings
To further fine-tune your Drop In settings, tap on the Hamburger icon () within the Alexa app and select Settings. Tap on the name of a supported device (such as the Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show) and at the screen for that device, tap the Drop In entry. At the Drop In screen, you can keep the setting to turn on all drop ins, change the setting to allow drop ins for that device only within your household, or turn off the feature for that device entirely. Tap the left arrow to return to the previous screen.
7Drop In at Your House
To drop in on a device within your household, say: "Alexa, drop in on [name of device]." Alexa asks for confirmation. You're then connected with the device and can start chatting with the person on the other end. To end the drop in, say: "Alexa, hang up."
You can also drop in on an Echo device in your home from the Alexa app. To do this from the Conversations screen, tap on the Drop In setting at the top. Tap the name of the device. If you wish to drop in on an Echo Show, you must give Alexa access to your camera. Tap on the Settings button and enable the option in your device's Settings screen. Then return to the Alexa app. You can now tap on the device you wish to drop in on. To end the drop in, tap the End button.
8Drop In on Another Location
You can drop in on a device in another location but only if the contact on that end has given you permission from his or her Alexa app. To do this, say: "Alexa, drop in on [name of contact]." You're connected to that contact through one of that person's Echo devices and can now start chatting. To disconnect, say "Alexa, hang up."
You can also drop in on someone via the Alexa app. From the Conversations screen, tap on the Contacts icon. Tap on the name of the person you wish to drop in on. At the person's profile screen, tap on the Drop in icon. If necessary, select the device you wish to use. You're then connected and can start talking. Tap the End button to stop the drop in.
If you receive a drop in from a contact, you'll hear a chime, and you can then start talking. Again, say: "Alexa, hang up" to end the drop in.
Finally, you can prevent a regular call or a drop in from bothering you at a particular Echo device. To do this, say: "Alexa, turn on Do Not Disturb." To allow calls and other notifications through, say: "Alexa, turn off Do Not Disturb."
9Call Someone's Phone With Your Amazon Echo
Echo-to-phone calling supports most mobile and landline numbers in the US, Canada, and Mexico. You can make voice calls with the Echo lineup but not with the Amazon Tap. After you've set up Alexa-to-Alexa Calling, your mobile phone number is associated with your account and is the number that appears to people you call through your Echo.
To place a call to someone in your mobile phone's contact list, say: "Alexa, call [name of contact]. If the contact has more than one number, for instance, a mobile phone and a landline, or one for home and another for work, you can specify the number to dial. Say: "Alexa, call [name of contact] mobile," or "Alexa, call [name of contact] work." Alexa dials the number and the call goes through. When done, simply say: "Alexa, hang up," and the call is disconnected.
If you're calling someone not in your contact list, just give the number. Say: "Alexa, call [phone number]." Alexa places the call. Again, tell Alexa to hang up when you're done.
There are certain types of numbers you can't call through your Echo. Those include premium-rate numbers or toll numbers (such as 1-900 numbers), emergency services numbers (such as 911), abbreviated dial codes (such as 211 or 411), and international numbers outside of the US, Canada, and Mexico. Also, keep in mind that if you call a business that requires you to punch in numbers for different options or to reach a specific department or person, you won't be able to do that with your Echo unless you can use your voice to choose an option. But if you're calling an individual, especially someone in your contact list, then using your Echo is a handy yet hands-free way to do it.
10Other Echo and Alexa Tutorials
For more, find out how to:
- Buy Things on Amazon by Asking Alexa
- Set Up Reminders, Timers, and Lists With Alexa
- Voice Train Your Amazon Echo Device
- Connect Amazon Echo Dot to an External Speaker
- Manage Amazon Echo With the Alexa App, Website
- Let Multiple People Use the Same Amazon Echo
- Listen to Podcasts on Your Amazon Echo
- Listen to Music on Your Amazon Echo
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