Seven Useful Alexa Features for Your Amazon Echo

In case you do not already know, you can control Alexa’s various features right from your desktop, iPhone, or Android smartphone.

RAYMOND OGLESBY @RaymondOglesby2
November 3, 2022

This is for the desktop, iPhone, and Android. Screenshots are from iPhone XR

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Manage Alexa

In case you do not already know, you can control Alexa’s various features right from your desktop, iPhone, or Android smartphone. This allows you to tweak various setting options for your Echo without needing physical access to your device. You can manage everything from reminders and alarms to connected smart home devices. Refer to the below image:

Echo 1
Accessing Alexa Settings

On your desktop, you can use the Amazon Alexa website to do that, though it’s worth noting that the web implementation is not as robust as it used to be. You will have a better experience using the official Alexa mobile app on iPhone and Android.

Alexa Voice Tempo

If you find Alexa’s speech too fast or too slow, you can ask her to adjust her speaking speed. Simply say “Alexa, speak slower” or “Alexa, speak faster” and she will obey your command.

That will allow you to listen to certain words carefully, or go through everything quickly if you like to get your information fast.

Alexa Brief Mode

Sometimes, Alexa’s answers are too verbose. She might keep saying little things that you will eventually find annoying. Fortunately, there’s a way around it.

Enter Brief Mode, an Alexa feature that makes the virtual assistant keep her responses shorter. When this mode is enabled, Alexa will not speak as many words as she normally does. You can enable the mode by accessing the Alexa website, heading into:

Settings > Alexa Voice Responses

and enabling Brief Mode. See the below image:

Echo 2
Enabling Brief Mode

On the same page, you can make Alexa whisper her responses by enabling the Whisper Mode option.

Alexa Commute

Alexa can let you know what kind of traffic you will meet on your way to your office. As long as you have specified your To and From addresses in Alexa, you can get your commute’s traffic details. See the following image:

Echo 3
Commute info

If you have not already, you can configure your To and From addresses in the

Settings > Traffic

menu on the Alexa website.

Alexa Reminder App

It’s easy to forget your important tasks in this busy life. Setting up a reminder for each of your tasks in a mobile reminder app is also cumbersome.

Fortunately, you can use your Alexa assistant as a reminder tool. Simply ask Alexa when you would like to be reminded and about what or type in a reminder, and she will make sure to send you a notification at the specified time. Refer to the below image:

Echo 4
Enter and Save your reminder

Alexa Security Updates

Alexa offers a security feature called Guard to help you keep a check on your home when you are away. This feature listens to certain sounds, like those of breaking glass and smoke alarms going off.

When Alexa detects those sounds, you get a notification as well as a short audio clip of the sound, letting you know something’s not right at your home.

You can activate Alexa’s Guard feature from the

More > Settings > Guard

menu in the Alexa mobile app. You can purchase the Guard Plus feature for a fee if you would like emergency authorities to be notified when those sounds play at your home. See the below image:

Echo 5
Accessing Guard

Alexa Echo as a Bluetooth Speaker

Last but not least, you can use your Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo as a Bluetooth speaker. This way, you can connect any of your Bluetooth-enabled devices to your Echo and play your favorite music.

You may want to use this feature when your favorite music app is not supported by Alexa, or when you prefer to play music from your phone or your desktop. You can pair your phone or desktop with your Amazon Echo by simply asking “Alexa, pair.”

Those are some of the Alexa features you can use to make your Amazon Echo device even more useful.

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The author’s Vietnam eBook on the Battle for Tra Bong Vietnam: Events and Aftermath

How to Listen to Podcasts on Your Amazon Echo

Yes, you can now hear Podcasts on your Amazon Echo device. Apple Podcasts and others, like Spotify and iHeartRadio, are now options to choose from for your favorite podcasts.

We are going to link your Echo device to one of these podcast services. Our example is linking Apple Podcasts to the Amazon Echo. The ways this is done is somewhat clumsy. The Echo seems to be hard to program; it’s not straightforward. But follow along, it’s not time consuming and is worth it.

This is for iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) and the Amazon Echo

Starting Alexa

  • Open the Alexa app on your smart device. If you have yet to download the app, head to the Apple Store to download and install.
  • Tap the hamburger icon, the one with 3 dots in upper right hand corner or tap on the menu icon in upper left hand corner
  • Select Settings. You will see the following screen:
Apple Podcasts 1
The Settings image
  • Select Music & Podcasts. Refer to following image:
Apple Podcasts 2
The Music & Podcasts screen

Setting up the Link

  • Select Link New Service.
  • Select Apple Podcasts. Refer to following image:
Apple Podcasts 3
Enabling the Apple Podcasts image
  • Tap ENABLE TO USE.

You will be asked to enter your Apple ID, Password and Passcode depending on your login procedure

  • Tap SETTINGS. See following screen:
Apple Podcasts 4
The Apple Podcasts settings screen.

Linking the Service to Echo

  • On the Skill Settings screen, tap on the Link Account link. See below image:
Apple Podcasts 5
The link screen for Apple Podcasts

Allowing Access for the Link

  • Tap Allow on the Access Request screen. You may see a different screen depending on what service you are linking. Refer to below image for Apple Podcasts:
Apple Podcasts 6
Allowing the link to Apple Podcasts image

Linkage for the Podcast Service Completed

You will see that Apple Podcasts has been successfully linked. See following image:

Apple Podcasts 7
Apple Podcasts now linked to Amazon Echo screen
  • Click Done

Now you can listen to your favorite Apple Podcasts. Just repeat the above steps to add other podcast service(s).

I Would Like to Hear from You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

The author’s Vietnam eBook on the Battle for Tra Bong: Events and Aftermath
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