Whether it's a birthday or Christmas present, the Amazon Echo always makes an excellent gift – even if you're just treating yourself to one.
And it doesn't take a smart home expert to figure out why. The Echo is endlessly fun to play around with and thanks to you learning more about what it does and Alexa learning more with the latest updates, it gets much more useful over time.
But as with all new tech, smart speakers can be a pain to set up. We've found it's especially annoying when you want to show off your new present to your friends and family but everything from WiFi issues to a lack of skills are stopping you from turning them green with envy.
But fear not, if you have a new Amazon Echo you don't have to struggle alone. This simple guide will help you get your new smart speaker up and running in no time at all.
Step 1: Check you've got everything you need
To get started you’ll obviously need an Amazon Echo, as well as its included power adapter. It doesn't run on batteries, and you will need the right power cable as we're not dealing with a generic USB power supply here.
Then you'll need a phone or tablet in order to complete the software side of the setup. Luckily, both Android and iOS devices are supported across both phones and tablets, or, since this is an Amazon device after all, you can also use an Amazon Fire phone or tablet.
Step 2: Get the Alexa app
When your Echo is up and running it feels almost like a standalone device, but to get started we need to use a phone or tablet to tell it what to do before we literally start telling it what to do.
Head on over to the app store on your device of choice – on an iPhone this is the App Store, on Android it's the Google Play Store, and on Fire devices it’s the Amazon Appstore.
Once in the store, find and download the official Amazon Alexa app.
Step 3: Plug in the Echo
Now we've got the required software, it's time to get the hardware itself set up. Take the Amazon Echo speaker and turn it over to find the power jack, then take the Echo’s power adapter and plug it into the power jack on the Echo speaker.
Finally, take the power adapter's other end and plug it into the wall. Great work! Your Echo now has power.
Step 4: Wait for the device to initialize
Nearly there! Once the Echo is plugged in, you'll have to wait a couple of seconds for it to initialise. Its light ring will turn blue for a couple of moments, and will then switch to orange along with playing a short greeting. This is how you can tell your Echo is ready for the final setup step.
Step 5: Open up the app
Open the Alexa app you downloaded earlier on your phone or tablet. Once the app is open, tap the cog-shaped icon in the bottom-right of the screen to get to the Settings menu.
Select 'Set up a new device' to start the Wi-Fi connection process. What we're going to do here is teach the Echo our home Wi-Fi login, so it can get online on its own in the future.
Step 6: Select your device
Next, select which Echo device you want to set up. For the purposes of this guide we've been assuming that you’re setting up a full-size Amazon Echo, but these instructions will also work just as well if you’re setting up the mini Echo Dot, the Echo Plus or the battery-powered Amazon Tap (the four are all controlled through the same app). Select the right device, and then pick the correct language from the next page.
Step 7: Connecting to Wi-Fi
Select 'Connect to Wi-Fi' from the next page to begin the connection process. The instructions will ask you to check that the device is currently displaying an orange ring. If not, you'll have to hold the 'action button' for five seconds first to put the device into setup mode. Now you'll need to hop out of the Alexa app and into your phone's own settings menu.
Go to Wi-Fi settings. Turn on Wi-Fi if it's not on already, and then select the Amazon Echo device from the list of access points – the Echo's name should start with the word 'Amazon'. Once connected, go back into the Alexa app (if you're using an Android, the recent apps soft key to the bottom right is usually the quickest way).
The Alexa app should now say it is connected to the Echo. Tap 'Continue'.
Now you’ll need to connect to you home's Wi-Fi. Select yours from the list presented to you, and enter your Wi-Fi password.
Don't remember it? Your access password is most likely printed on a sticker on your router.
Tap 'Connect' in the app once the password is typed in. Depending on your home's Wi-Fi speed, it might take a few moments for the device to connect, but once it's done so you should be taken back to the settings menu with your Amazon Echo listed as being 'Online'. On the device itself the light ring should turn off.
Step 8: Don't want to say 'Alexa'? You can change it
By default your Amazon Echo will be set to activate when it hears the word 'Alexa', but there are a few reasons why you might want to change this. Maybe one of your family members is called Alexa and you don’t want your smart speaker to activate whenever you're talking to them?
Thankfully, it's a fairly simple process to change your wake word to something that's more convenient.
In order to change this wake word you'll need to jump into your Echo's settings, which you can do from the app's main settings menu. Tap on your Echo, and then scroll down to where it says 'Wake Word'. Tap this and you’ll have four options: Alexa (the default), Amazon, Echo, and Computer. Unfortunately none are completely unique words, but hopefully one should work for you.
Congratulations, your Amazon Echo is now connected to your Wi-Fi and is ready to start running your daily life for you. If you want a test to make sure that it's working, you can try out a simple commands: try saying your wake word, followed by "hello". If everything’s working as expected then your Amazon Echo should say "hello" back. Simple, really.
Having problems? If your Echo simply won't hook up, try giving it a factory reset: while the device is switched on, press and hold the microphone off and volume down buttons simultaneously for 20 seconds to do this.
Some Alexa devices also have pinhole reset slots, which just need to be pushed in with a paperclip or SIM removal tool until the LED light color changes (check the supplied instructions if you're not sure).