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15 Unexpected Ways to Use Alexa

You know her as "Alexa," Amazon's virtual assistant which is built into devices such as the Amazon Echo. But beyond playing music and greeting you when you arrive home, what else is she good for? Once you set up Alexa with certain skills, she can help you in many ways. Here are 14 unexpected ways you can use Alexa.

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Help with Math

The last thing you need when trying to cook a new recipe is having to convert grams into ounces. Just ask Alexa to help you with these conversions. She can also help with simple math equations if your kids are struggling with homework.

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Set an Alarm

Just tell Alexa what time you want to wake up in the morning and she’ll set an alarm. Her timer feature also comes in handy when you’re cooking or when you have to tell your kids that they have just 15 more minutes of video game time.

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Send Messages

Have your hands full but need to send a message before you forget? You can make calls and send messages to other Alexa users!

Or, if you’d like your voice assistants to have a little less access, here’s how to turn them off.

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Drop In

Do you have an aging loved one living alone? Alexa allows you to “drop in” so you can check on them if they also have an Alexa and approve you for this feature. It’s like a phone call, except the other person doesn’t have to answer.

In the mood for a good laugh? This is a Saturday Night Live sketch about Alexa for seniors.

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Set the Mood with Music

You probably already ask Alexa to stream music, but did you know she will play the right song at the right time? Ask her to sing Happy Birthday or play your partner’s favorite song during your anniversary dinner.

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A Night Light

Need a night light but don’t have an outlet available? Just use Alexa. Once you enable the skill, her ring will pulse for 45 minutes to add a light glow to the room.

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If you have a larger home and add some Echo speakers in various rooms, you can tell Alexa to communicate to other parts of the house. She can tell the kids to get downstairs for breakfast in the morning!

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Order Items From Your Shopping List

Since Alexa is connected to Amazon, just tell her you need her to order items from Amazon Prime. Running low on toilet paper or need to order a last-minute gift? No problem! Have her help you with your shopping list.

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Track Packages

Once your order those items from Amazon, you can ask her to track your packages. Just say, “Alexa: Track my order.”

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Find Easter Eggs

No, not that kind of Easter egg! These Easter eggs are little surprises programmers put in software. To find some of these eggs, ask her to tell you a joke or ask her, “Alexa: What is your quest?” Be creative with your questions and she might surprise you with her answers.

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Feed the Dog

You can connect Alexa to a dog feeder app like Furbo or Petnet so food will automatically disperse for your dog while you’re out in case you forget or can’t make supper on time. Catch a whiff of these outstanding tech toys you can give your doggie.

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Order Food and Find a Complementary Wine

There are a number of delivery restaurants that connect to Alexa, which means you can tell Alexa to order your favorite dish. If you add the MySomm skill you can ask Alexa for the right kind of wine to pair with the dish. Alexa can do all that for you but it’s not going to help you open a bottle of wine if you don’t have a corkscrew. We’ve got 10 solutions to open a wine bottle when you don’t have a corkscrew.

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Tell a Story

If you read to your child before bed every night, Alexa can give you a break if you ask. Alexa will even personalize the story to use your child’s name. But Alexa can’t build one of these totally awesome bunk beds and kids’ beds.

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Book a Flight

Use the Kayak skill with Alexa to book your next trip from your couch. No more hours spent scouring the web for the best possible deals.

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Order a Ride

Alexa connects to Lyft so you can call for a ride just by asking her versus reaching for your phone. Make sure you add these apps to help you with home improvement work. 

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.