| 7 min read



An Amazon Echo on a tiny stool
Michael Wapp/Shutterstock.com

Sometimes, you have no hands free to look up an answer to a burning question. Over 300 million households 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 don’t know about.

These productivity, entertainment, social, and health hidden features are a must to try next time you want something new from your favorite virtual assistant.

Productivity Features

An Amazon Echo next to a set of car keys

Alexa can keep you on track 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 things up when you have a virtual assistant—in fact, having an Echo device could help you wean yourself off checking it too frequently. But when you need your phone and can’t figure out where you left it, you can ask Alexa to call it, thus revealing its 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, you can spend time looking for your cellphone and still be sure your car will arrive on time. It’s handy if you need your hands free for other things.

Help You Plan Your Vacation

Using the Where to Vacation skill, Alexa can suggest hot tourist spots to you when planning a vacation. If you’ve never been in the area, you can ask Alexa what you should do once you arrive. Alexa can tell you all the great places to visit based on web search results.

Decide Your Outfit

Are you at a loss for what to wear? Alexa can help you decide. Ask “Alexa, what should I wear today?” and you’ll get an answer based on the forecasted weather at your current location.

You might find picking clothes in the morning is easier than ever if you don’t mind taking fashion advice from your smart assistant.

Entertainment Features

A man using an Amazon Echo next to a cat
Sharomka/Shutterstock.com

Alexa’s primary function 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 it can share with you—all you have to say is, “Alexa, tell me a joke.” The virtual assistant will also jam out if you tell it to “Sing me a song.” And a special guest will even pop up if you ask it to “Sing a duet with Ed Sheeran.”

See also  Samsung’s Wackiest Monitor Could Go On Sale This Summer time

Entertain Pets

Do you want to keep your pet preoccupied while working on something else? Alexa can do it for you. It can release a series of barks and meows to “communicate” with your pet if you ask her “Alexa, enable Meow” or “Alexa, enable Woof.”

If that isn’t good enough to entertain them, Alexa can also play music that can help them wind down by saying, “Alexa, open Calm My Pet.” There are also calming skills specific to either dogs or cats.

Provide Lottery and Sports (or Fantasy Sports) Play-by-Plays

You can call on Alexa to tell you 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 many 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 lotto numbers while you make your morning coffee? Alexa can do both, with several 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 lotto skill options.

Roll a Die or Flip a Coin

If you’re playing a game or need a tiebreaker, you can ask Alexa to roll a die or flip a coin, which is pretty handy considering you probably don’t carry around cash anymore, let alone a die. And with Alexa doing the work, nobody can accuse anyone of cheating.

Play Akinator

Akinator is a fun game where a web AI tries to guess what character or historical figure you’re thinking of. Alexa can channel Akinator’s questions so you can play the game 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 get started.

Social Features

A small girl speaking to an Amazon Echo

Alexa offers several fun features you can use with family members. It can start a conversation or help people wind down for the night. Alexa mimics things you can do with a bit of added flair.

Tell a Bedtime Story

If your kids don’t seem to be winding down for bedtime, you can always offer them a story narrated by Alexa. Alexa can search a trove of stories and pick one that seems perfect for your kids. It 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.

See also  Sony SRS-NB10 Review: Interesting, but Not Worthwhile

Track Santa’s Whereabouts

Many services can help you track Santa for your children on Christmas Eve. Knowing where he is can delight any child and make them feel more excited for the morning. Trackers tend to follow Santa’s journey for a full 24 hours or more, leaving plenty of time for you to ask Alexa where he’s currently flying over.

Just ask, “Alexa, where’s Santa?” after enabling the skill in the Alexa app.

Change the Conversation

Do you need to switch up the topic of conversation but can’t figure out what to say? Ask Alexa to change the subject. It can give you something new to discuss, keeping your household or guests entertained.

Features to Customize Alexa’s Functionality

Alexa has plenty of great features, but some are also functions that can improve the quality of its responses. Try out these fun features next time you want to change how Alexa talks to you.

Speak Faster

Some people don’t like how slowly virtual assistants talk. If you want Alexa to talk more like a human, all you have to do is tell it to speak faster. You should notice Alexa’s words speeding up shortly afterward.

Whisper

If you’re talking to Alexa late at night, you may not want it to wake up the household with its default volume. Whispering your question or command to Alexa will cause it to lower its voice, allowing you to speak to it in peace.

Health and Wellness Features

Though it’s no replacement for a doctor or caregiver, Alexa works as a personal health assistant during your daily activities. Using these features, you can check in on your loved ones’ progress and your fitness journey.

Be Your Personal Trainer

Alexa knows how to get you in shape and help you build muscle. Just ask it for a quick workout. Alexa can also track your progress over time, so you can always check back and see how much you have improved since the beginning.

Care for a Loved One

Alexa can look after elderly loved ones who need a lot of monitoring if you can’t always be with them.

The device can perform several tasks using the Alexa Together service, such as:

  • Send you notifications when your loved one interacts with it
  • Let you know when your loved one starts their day or if there’s no activity by a certain time
  • Detect falls
  • Access an Urgent Response professional emergency helpline

Teach Proper Hand-Washing

Kids learn best when they’re taught how to do something repeatedly. You may try to teach your kids about hand-washing with videos, but did you know Alexa can do the same thing? Get Alexa to help your children know how long they should wash their hands and lay the foundation for a better habit.

See also  Our Determination to Accessibility – Review Geek

Tell Alexa to “sing a hand-washing song” or “sing a song for 20 seconds” to activate the feature.

Security Features

Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) with security camera
Amazon

Alexa might be a virtual assistant, but it can protect your home, too. Alexa Guard is a specific feature you can subscribe to that will allow Alexa to protect your home. It can be pretty fearsome to intruders when paired with other services.

Bark at Intruders

Do you want the threat of a guard dog without actually having one? Alexa has you covered, whether your home is pet-free or your pups are too shy to bark at potential threats.

One Alexa Guard feature makes Alexa bark like a dog to scare off intruders. It’s an easy way to protect your home without much investment.

Listen for Broken Glass

When in Guard Mode, Alexa will listen out for several factors that could indicate a break-in at your home. You’ll get a notification on your app when it detects something like broken window glass. You can replay sounds to get a better idea of what’s up at your home and even listen through your Alexa in real-time to hear whatever is happening.

Be a Security Camera

Alexa Echo Show has a screen that can display the time, streaming apps, and more. You can easily use its features like a security camera to see what’s happening inside or outside your home. It’s a great way to feel at ease in your house when alone.

To begin 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 around the home using the “Drop In” feature. If you need to communicate with someone on a different floor, you can talk to them through another Alexa assistant—and if you’re unsure where they are, you can use the “Announce” feature to send a message to every Echo in the home. This way, it’s easy to keep your whole family on the same page.


Alexa Wears Many Hats

Alexa is essential in many ways and can make any household’s life and daily tasks easier. Using Alexa should be stress-free, and you can ease into its many features and tools by having fun with everything the virtual assistant offers. Try out some of these features whenever you’re bored or stumped. You’ll be more grateful than ever to have Alexa in your home.