How to Call and Message on Alexa

Want to make hand-free calls and messages in Alexa but don’t know how? Our article will show you how to take advantage of the feature.
How to Call and Message on Alexa
Published: 27th Mar 2021
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By SHN Team

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Amazon’s popular smart home software, Alexa, can do more than connect various smart devices together. This virtual assistant AI can actually make hands-free calls using any Alexa capable device to anyone in your contact list.

So, how does Amazon Alexa make phone calls, and what are the other important aspects of this handy feature? In this article, we’ll show you how to call and message on Alexa, so you can take advantage of the option.

How Does Amazon Alexa Make Phone Calls?

Amazon Alexa calling and messaging depends on what is commonly known as voice over internet protocol or VOIP. This is the same technology that applications like Skype and Viber work on. As long as your Alexa capable smart device is connected to the internet, it can connect to other Alexa devices, mobile phones, and other applications that can send or receive messages.

To utilize the Amazon Alexa calling and messaging feature you’ll need an Amazon account, a mobile device running at least Android 5.0 or iOS 9.0, or an Android Fire tablet. Alternatively, you can use Amazon Echo devices which already have Alexa built in. Do note though that Echo Frames, Echo Buds, and Echo auto use your mobile device to make calls rather than the Alexa app, so these devices aren’t compatible.

It's also good to remember that some numbers aren’t supported, like designated emergency numbers, 1-900 numbers, dial-by-letter numbers, and the majority of international numbers. Other than these restrictions, you can call anyone as long as you’re connected online.

The service itself is free, but it does require a working internet connection which comes with separate billings. In addition, if you have limited data caps, you may want to stick to voice-only calls rather than video calls as it uses less than a third of the data of a video call. Amazon Alexa conference calls use a lot more data than a regular one-on-one video call.

How to Call and Message on Alexa?

If you want to use Amazon Alexa calling and messaging, you’ll have to sign up for the feature. First and foremost, make sure that you have the Alexa app downloaded on a smartphone to set it up. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and the Apple App store. Once installed, the process itself is very simple:

  1. Open the Amazon Alexa app on your mobile.
  2. On the home screen, tap on the Communicate button. This is the speech bubble icon at the bottom of the screen.
  3. You’ll be asked to enter and verify your phone number. Once done, tap on Continue. Note that you can choose to skip this process by tapping Skip on the upper right side, but doing so won’t enable Amazon Alexa calling and messaging features.
  4. Wait for the verification message to be sent to your phone. Once it arrives, the verification code should be automatically inputted. If not, input the verification code manually then tap on Continue.
  5. Your currently connected Alexa device should give a sound notification to alert you that the feature has been enabled. In addition, the app will ask you if you wish to enable Drop in for your Household. This basically functions as an intercom for multiple Alexa devices in your home. If you have more than one connected Alexa device you might find this feature handy, otherwise tap on Later.
  6. Tap on Settings to allow Alexa to access your contacts.
  7. Tap on OK.
  8. Your contacts should now be loaded on Alexa.

To make a call or send a message, all you need to do is speak to your Alexa device. For example, to send a text message to someone, all you need to do is say, “Alexa, send a message,” and Alexa will automatically turn on messaging. When Alexa asks, “To who?”, you can give the name of a person in your contacts list. Once you do so, an SMS will be sent to the indicated contact. To make a call, just say, “Alexa, make a call,” and Amazon Alexa will make calls to a specified person in your contacts.

How to Call and Message on Alexa

How to Make Video Calls on Alexa

To make Amazon Alexa video calls, you’ll need a device that’s capable of taking and showing video. A good example would be the Echo Show which is an Amazon device with a display that can integrate well with any smart home network. You don’t specifically need an Echo for this feature to work. All you need is a video call capable device with Amazon Alexa compatibility.

Amazon Alexa video calls operate similarly to the Amazon Alexa calling and messaging feature. Set up the device using the given instructions above, then say, “Alexa, make a video call,” or “Alexa, video call ‘contact name’”. The device will then try to connect to your contact. All you need to do is wait for the person to answer.

How to Make Amazon Alexa Conference Calls

Amazon Alexa conference call features are readily available to people in your contacts list. As long as those you’re calling have devices that are capable of making video calls, then you can do so. First, you’ll need to create the video call group on the Alexa app.

  1. Open the Amazon Alexa app on your device.
  2. Tap on the Communicate button on the bottom. This is the speech bubble icon.
  3. Tap on Contacts.
  4. Tap on Add New.
  5. Tap on Add Group.
  6. Tap on the name of the people that you wish to add to this particular video call group. Once you’ve selected all the people you wish, tap on Continue.
  7. Give the group a name, remember that this name will be the contact used when trying to make video calls via voice commands. Once you’ve decided on a name, tap on Create Group.

With the group set up, all you need to do is to tell Alexa to contact the group. An Amazon Alexa conference call can be made by simply saying, “Alexa, video call ‘group name’,” and your Alexa device will dial all contacts in the group. All that’s needed is to wait for them to pick up.

How to Make Amazon Alexa Conference Calls

How to Make Calls Between Amazon Alexa Devices

If you’re trying to call someone on your contact list who uses an Alexa device, simply do the same voice commands as making an ordinary call. Say, “Alexa call, ‘contact name’,” and Alexa will then dial the number from your contacts. Amazon Alexa can call another Alexa device just as if it was dialing a phone.

For multiple devices in your home, Alexa has a function called Drop In which turns all Alexa devices into intercoms. To set up a household Alexa group for drop in purposes, you can do the following:

  1. Open the Amazon Alexa App.
  2. On the home screen, tap on the Devices icon on the bottom menu.
  3. Tap on Echo & Alexa.
  4. From the list, choose a device connected to your smart home network.
  5. Tap on Communications.
  6. Tap on Drop In.
  7. You’ll be given a list of specific features that you can enable or disable. Once done, the particular device is now part of the Drop In network.

To use the Drop In feature, you’ll need to know the name of the device you want to connect to. For example, if you want to connect to a device called Living Room Speaker, all you need to do is say, “Alexa, drop in on Living Room Speaker”. You can now use it as a two way speaker. When a device gets a drop in request, it will pulse green to notify you.

With the Drop In feature, you can do the following:

  1. Engage in two-way communication between two devices.
  2. Engage in group communications with the entire group in your household as long as they’re not set to “Do not disturb”. This can be done by saying, “Alexa, drop in everywhere”.
  3. Drop in on a contact which has given you drop in permission.
  4. Receive drop ins from those that you’ve given permission to.

How to View Amazon Alexa Call History

IF you wish to view your Amazon Alexa call history, you can do so via the app or through a web browser.

  1. On the mobile app
  2. Open the Alexa app.
  3. Tap on the More button. This is the three lines icon.
  4. On the menu, tap on Settings.
  5. Tap on Alexa Privacy.
  6. From the list, tap on a particular entry, or alternatively, you can set a specific date range.
  7. On your web browser
  8. Open the Alexa Privacy information page on your web browser.
  9. Select the particular device you want to review, then click on it.
  10. Browse the entries or choose a specific date range.

How to View Amazon Alexa Call History

Amazon Alexa FAQ

Here are some common questions regarding Amazon Alexa:

  1. Can Amazon Alexa Call 911?
    No. Although Amazon Alexa has an emergency feature that allows you to set emergency contacts, the app itself won’t call 911. Emergency numbers are one of the restrictions that Amazon Alexa can’t dial.
    When you tell Alexa to “Call for Help” it will automatically call your set emergency contact. From there, you can then ask them to call 911 for you. Although this may be a roundabout way from doing things, it minimizes prank calls, and mistakenly dialing emergency numbers. This feature may seem unnecessary, but it’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
  2. Can Amazon Alexa Auto Make Phone Calls?
    Yes. As long as the person you want to call is in your contacts list, Alexa can be used hands-free to dial that person. Just say, “Alexa, call ‘contact name’,” and the number will be dialed automatically. If you wish to add a new person to your contacts, do the following:
    1. Open the Alexa app.
    2. Tap on the Communicate button. This is the speech bubble icon.
    3. Tap on Contacts.
    4. Tap on the Menu button on the upper right corner of the screen. This is the three dots icon.
    5. Tap on Add Contact.
    6. Type in a name and contact number then tap on Save.
      Once entered, the new contact can be called automatically via voice commands.

Can Amazon Alexa auto make phone calls

  1. Can Amazon Alexa Make Auto Phone Calls to Cellphones?
    Yes. As long as the number you are calling isn’t an emergency number, a premium number, an international number, or dial by letters, then Alexa can connect hands-free. This includes cellphone numbers on your contacts list.
  2. Can Amazon Alexa Answer Phone Calls?
    Yes. If someone is contacting you through your Alexa device, then you can use Alexa’s voice command feature to answer the phone. If you’re being contacted through a landline or cellphone, however, you’ll still have to answer manually. You’ll need a device like Echo connect to turn your landlines and mobile phones to speaker phones.

Can Amazon Alexa answer phone calls

  1. Why Is Amazon Echo Called Alexa?
    Amazon Echo is a smart home device that comes with the Alexa AI built in. Because of this, people got so used to saying “Alexa” to an Amazon Echo, that the name stuck. It’s still called an Echo, at least by brand, but if someone says use Alexa, an Amazon Echo usually comes to mind. It’s like calling photocopies Xeroxes or taking pictures a Kodak moment.
  2. Why Is Amazon Alexa called Alexa?
    Alexa was chosen by the developers of the technology because the sound the X makes is easily vocally identifiable. This makes it easier for the device to detect if a voice command is being issued. The developers said in an interview that they were looking for an uncommon word that used soft vowels, and a hard consonant. Also, the name reminds them of the Great Library of Alexandria, one of the largest and most important repositories of knowledge in ancient times.
  3. Are All Amazon Speakers Called Alexa?
    Not really. Truth be told, no Amazon speaker is named that way. The majority of Amazon’s speakers are called Echo, but will respond to the Alexa command. This is because all speakers built by Amazon come with the Alexa AI built in.
  4. Can Amazon Echo Call People Without Alexa?
    The Alexa app is built in to every Amazon speaker and can’t operate without it. Although you only need the Alexa app for the initial setup of an Echo, the speaker itself uses Alexa software to make its smart features work.
    On the other hand, you don’t actually need an Echo to use the Alexa app to make calls. By tapping on the Calling & Messaging tab on your mobile app, you can call anyone on your contacts list.
  5. Can Amazon Fire 7 With Alexa Make Calls?
    Yes. The Amazon Fire 7 can be used to make hands-free calls, video calls, or even drop in calls. The tablet can be used as a phone by opening the Alexa app and then following the same instructions given above. The Amazon Fire 7, in this regard, operates like any Alexa enabled device.

Can Amazon Fire 7 with Alexa make calls

  1. Can Amazon Alexa Call Out of Country for Free?
    This depends. If you’re trying to contact another Alexa device, then international boundaries don’t really matter. You can contact them for free via VOIP. For international numbers, however, you can only contact others within the US, UK, Canada, or Mexico, and those contacts must have signed up for the Amazon Alexa calling and messaging service.

Virtual Meeting Oriented Times

With Amazon’s Alexa compatible devices becoming increasingly popular, it’s easier to keep in contact with lots of people through the internet. With hands-free calling, and voice-activated group conferences, it’s a handy device for our “virtual meeting” oriented times.

Knowing how to activate and use Amazon Alexa’s call and messaging features is certainly useful information to have.

Do you know of other ways on how to call and message on Alexa that wasn’t mentioned here? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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