How to Change Amazon Alexa's Name (Wake Word), Voice, Accent, Sex - Everything You Need to Know

Amazon Alexa's Language | Voice | Sex | Wake Word | Hacks | Celebrity Voice | and More...
Change Amazon Alexa's Name - Lady with Alexa
Updated: 26th Oct 2019
Published: 5th Jul 2019
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By SHN Team

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Whether you are new to Amazon Alexa or have had her for some time, her role in your smart home cannot be overstated. She is always there for you, letting you know when your dinner is ready and answering your countless questions. But given the number of times you say "Alexa", you could begin to feel like a broken record after some time. Fortunately, there is something you can do to dispel the monotony – change her wake word.

Let’s learn a few things about this wake word, how to give your virtual assistant a new name and so much more.

 

 

What is Amazon Echo's (default) wake word?

The entire line of Amazon Echo products makes use of voice-controlled wake words. These words alert the devices that you are speaking to them and they should listen to your commands. Thanks to this feature, the devices do not listen to or respond to irrelevant information.

Though it might seem like Alexa is always listening out for her name, the AI assistant actually listens for a wake word. According to the way she is programmed, hearing this word is what prompts her to get up and listen for your questions and commands.

It also makes it easy for you to shout to the voice assistant from wherever you are and get her to execute your command.

 

Why did Amazon choose the name "Alexa"?

There are some pretty interesting theories surrounding the choice of Alexa as the name of Amazon’s AI assistant. Some of these include:

  1. It took inspiration from Star Trek. Remember the Library of Alexander which at one time was the “keeper of all knowledge?” Amazon’s Alexa was to live up to that idea, having an answer for virtually any question posed.
  2. The name Alexa consists entirely of soft vowels and the hard consonant “x.” This makes it reasonably easy for the virtual assistant to recognise the name with high precision.
  3. Another probable, but less exciting reason might be because Amazon bought an analytics company called Alexa. Alexa Internet, Inc. was acquired by Amazon in 1999 and is now one of its subsidiaries.

 

Can you change Alexa's name to something else?

By default, all Echo devices respond to the name “Alexa.” But as it turns out, she can listen out for, and reply to, several other names. No matter your reason for wanting to change her name, there are ways to make it happen, allowing you to take a break from the default Amazon Alexa settings.

Imagine your teenage daughter's name is Alexa:

 

Dad: "Hi Alexa, can you turn the heating off and remind me tomorrow to pick up some beers"

 

Daughter Alexa: "No, do it yourself dad!"

 

Why change Alexa’s wake word?

After you have had Amazon Alexa in your house for some time, you might want to shake things up a bit. Let’s face it. Calling her by the same name every day and giving the same default commands can get a little monotonous. And even though you know it can never really get personal, you might want to make the illusion a bit more real.

On the other hand, it might feel like humanising the little black box by your bedside is getting out of hand. Are you, for instance, developing feelings and wishing you could take things to the next level? Well, you could try to keep things formal to help you snap out of it.

A more serious reason for wanting to change the Alexa wake word has to do with security. Remember that every time you utter the wake word, whether deliberately or otherwise, your Echo device starts recording the conversation. If your wake word frequently comes up in discussions, you might find that your device records a lot more than you think. Therefore, you might want to choose a word that rarely comes up in everyday conversations. This will limit the possibility of having the device record confidential information.

 

How to change Amazon Alexa’s wake word (her name)

If you or someone in your house goes by the name Alexa, you have probably experienced a fair amount of confusion. Fortunately, you will not be stuck with that name for much longer. Follow these steps to change her name:

By Voice

The easiest way to change Alexa’s name or wake word is by merely by asking her.

  1. Say: “Alexa, can we change your name?”
  2. In response to this, Alexa will ask whether you want to call her Echo, Amazon or Computer
  3. Respond to this question with one of the three names
  4. If you happen to change your mind halfway through the process, just say “Cancel”

On the Alexa App

Alternatively, you can change Alexa’s name using the Alexa app on your phone or tablet.

To do this:

  1. Launch the Alexa app
  2. Tap the hamburger menu button (the button that has three horizontal lines)
  3. From the menu, select ‘Settings’
  4. Tap the specific Echo Device which you want to rename
  5. Scroll down and select ‘Wake Word’
  6. Assuming this is the first time you are changing the name, it should read ‘Alexa’
  7. When you tap the name, you will get three additional options
  8. Choose one of these and then tap the ‘Save’ button

When you successfully change the wake word, the light on the Echo device in question will temporarily flash orange, signalling the transition. Though it could take some time before Alexa begins to respond to the new name, this should not be more than 30 seconds.

On the Amazon Echo

A third option is to change the name directly on the Echo device if it has a display.

  1. Go to the device directly and tap ‘Settings’
  2. Alternatively, you could swipe down from the top of your screen and tap ‘Settings’
  3. Select ‘Device Options’
  4. Select ‘Wake Word’ and then change it to one of the three options you get

 

How to Change Alexa wake word on Kindle/Fire tablet

It is possible to change the Alexa wake word on your Fire tablet?

To do this:

  1. Enable Alexa Hands-Free mode if it is not already enabled
  2. Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the gear icon to access ‘Settings’
  3. Select ‘Alexa’
  4. Select the wake word and choose one of the two available options

No matter what approach you decide to use, keep in mind that the Alexa device that you want to rename has to be connected to the internet for the change to take effect. Hence, if for some reason your device is disconnected or unplugged, plug it in and get it online.

 

Can I customise Amazon Alexa’s wake word to whatever I like?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could call Alexa by any custom name you like? Unfortunately, Amazon currently allows you to choose from a list of only four names. These are Alexa, Amazon, Echo and Computer. The last one was an instant hit for Star Trek fans, as it was obviously a call out to the voice-controlled Starship Enterprise. Remember that when the Amazon Echo initially launched, it was pitched as a “Star Trek computer for your home”.

So while you are still unable to customise Alexa’s name to whatever you like, you can try to contain your fantasy within the bounds of these four options.

 

Are there any hacks for changing Amazon Echo's wake word?

Yes! Users have wanted to be able to change the Amazon Echo wake word to a name of their choice for a long time. But the options are still limited and there seems to be no hope on the horizon. Consequently, some techies have taken it upon themselves to find a way to beat the system.

One such hack is known as Project Alias, by “creative technologist” Bjorn Karmann. It is a rather lengthy process, but you might consider it if you are desperate enough for a custom Alexa name. Alias is referred to as a teachable parasite that can be trained to respond to any wake word.

Basically, the process involves putting a tinfoil cap on your Echo device. But it is not just any ordinary cap. The cap in question is made of a Raspberry Pi, a 3D printed shell, a mic array and two speakers. It is designed to resemble and act like a parasitic fungus in the sense that once you place it on your device, it deafens your Echo device with inaudible static.

While this renders your Echo useless in listening out for the wake word, it lets you train Alias to recognise whatever name you want to call Alexa. Once Alias hears the wake word, it turns off the static and softly calls Alexa to wake her up. From this point, you can give your commands and ask questions as usual. When you finish talking to Alexa, Alias restarts the static.

Though it is not the most elegant solution, it is still a step forward and raises hopes of the possibility of a better solution in the future.

 

Can anyone change my Amazon Alexa’s wake word or just me?

As it stands, anyone can change your Amazon Alexa wake word. One of the ways they could do this is by using the voice command, “Alexa, change the wake word.” At the moment, there is no specific setting on the Amazon Echo that you can use to enable restricted access. However, there are things you can do to limit access.

For example, as a parent, you can disable specific features using parental control depending on what you want children to access.

 

Can I have different wake words for different Amazon Echos?

Yes, you can. When you use the same name for all your Amazon Echos, you usually get a response from the one nearest to you. But if you assign each one a distinct name, you can target a specific one for a given command. At the moment, there are only four wake words to choose from. This means that you can only call your different Echos by those four names. But it still holds its benefits.

To set different wake words for your different devices:

  • Open your Alexa app
  • Go to ‘Settings’
  • Select the device you want to change
  • Go to ‘Wake Word’ and rename the device
  • Follow the same procedure for the remaining devices, and note the choices you make

If you have more than four devices, you can employ a little creativity in the way you name them so as to avert confusion.

 

Can you change Alexa's accent and voice?

Yes! If you are getting bored of listening to the same old voice and tones, it is possible to switch things up and have some fun. Do you have a soft spot for a refined British accent? Or do you find the Indian accent irresistibly charming? No matter what tickles your fancy, you can get Alexa to bring your fantasy to life by changing both her voice and accent.

Here’s how to turn that dream into reality:

  1. Launch your Alexa app
  2. Select ‘Alexa Devices’
  3. Choose the device on which you want to change Alexa’s accent
  4. Scroll down and tap ‘Language’
  5. A drop-down box will appear with a list of accents to choose from
  6. You might want to play around with the available options until you find the one that rocks your boat
  7. After selecting your favourite accent, tap ‘Save Changes’

Keep in mind, though, that once you change Alexa’s accent, she might have a difficult time understanding your commands unless you speak in that accent too. Therefore, it might be best to stick to an accent you can get away with.

 

Can you change Alexa’s language?

Changing Alexa’s accent is a big step in the right direction if you want to spice things up. But if you want to take it a notch higher, you could also consider changing her language entirely. This might come in handy if you are learning a new language and want a constant practising companion.

At the moment, you can choose from nine language and accent options. These include English, Japanese, German, Spanish, and French. Making this change will mean that Alexa will always respond in that language. It also means that the language on your Alexa app will change. If you are comfortable with these changes, here is what you have to do to get the ball rolling:

  1. Open the Alexa app
  2. Tap on ‘Settings’
  3. Scroll down on the list of available devices and select the one on which you want to change the language
  4. After doing this, click on the drop-down menu and select the language you want to change to
  5. Save changes and you are good to go

Note that if you choose a language that is different from the one registered to your Amazon app, you will get a warning prompt stating, “The selected language does not match your Amazon Account and is not fully supported in your country. If you make this change, some Alexa capabilities, skills, music and content may be unavailable.”

To make the most of your Alexa experience, you might consider changing only to languages registered on your Amazon app. Alternatively, you could switch languages in your Amazon app.

 

First real celebrity voice on Alexa – Samuel L. Jackson

Amazon has announced its intention to introduce Samuel L. Jackson as its very first celebrity voice later this year. Users will only need to pay 99 cents to have the famous actor give weather updates, read the news and even tell jokes.

In order to make the experience credible, the new feature goes beyond voice to capture his persona as well. If you love him for his explicit language, you have the option of selecting explicit content from the Alexa app Settings menu. And when you have kids or company around, you can switch back to clean content.

Try the following commands when the feature launches:

  • “Alexa, ask Sam Jackson to wake me up at 6 a.m. tomorrow.”
  • “Alexa, ask Sam where he is from.”

 

How to get other celebrities voice's to talk to you on Amazon Echo

As you might have realised by now, there is no end to tricks you can use to break away from Alexa’s default settings. One of these that could come in really handy in keeping your celebrity infatuation alive is changing her voice to your favourite celebrity’s.

For instance, if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you might be a fan of the foul-mouthed Gordon Ramsay, the highly famed TV chef. With the right Alexa skills, you can have him speaking to you through Alexa.

However, having this function enabled will not mean that the celebrity’s voice will become Alexa’s default voice. Rather, you will have some predetermined phrases from the celebrity, reflecting their personality and speech patterns. Amazon explains that they make use of professional voice actors for this entertaining function and they can impersonate a wide range of famous people.

Use the following steps to enable the skill:

  1. Launch the Alexa app
  2. Tap ‘Menu’
  3. Select the ‘Skills’ button
  4. Type in the name of the celebrity you want and search for their voice
  5. Have fun listening to your favourite celebrity talking to you from the comfort of your home

To make the most of this option, keep in mind that you need to know exactly what you want, so you can search for it. For most skills, you can simply enable them by asking Alexa to do so via voice command.

 

If I change Alexa’s wake word, can I change it back to “Alexa” in the future?

Yes. You can change your Alexa wake word as many times as you wish. There is no limit to the frequency of doing so or the choice of name that you get with every change.

 

Can I change Alexa to a man’s voice?

No. At the moment, though there are multiple ways to change Alexa’s voice, she still remains primarily female. It would be great to have the opportunity to get responses from a deep iconic male voice. Unfortunately, that might have to remain on your wish list for some time.

Any more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. 

 

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Comments

user
Bilbo
The 'Project Alias hack' sounds crazy, but I can see how it would work!
user
technoheist
Can I change Alexa to a man’s voice = NO! Sexist! 😂😂😂😂
user
yeti-out-and-about
loool
user
Cherylmsemail
I would also FAR more prefer the echo dot being a man's voice. After speaking with many people personally I've come to realize most people I know prefer this. I'm a woman and would just prefer speaking to a man, my house and my terms!