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5 hidden features to test on your Echo

Amazon Echo devices can perform a pretty incredible number of actions. Here are five little-known, but very handy features.

Amazon just recently unveiled new products like the Kindle Scribe for note-taking and the Halo Rise sleep tracker. The American giant also announced new Alexa commands for better support for Disney and BMW vehicles, but your device Echo is already ready to respond to a number of voice commands, allowing you to control your connected objects and even make calls.

You might be surprised to learn all that Alexa can do. For example, did you know that the Assistant can stream your music from one Echo to another? You can also quickly donate to charity and let Alexa keep an eye on your home when you’re away.

Below, five more or less hidden uses to test with an Amazon Echo.

Alexa, stream to other devices

When you love the song playing on your Echo, but have to go to another room, it can be frustrating to pause the music. Luckily, if you have multiple Echos, you can use the Alexa Cast feature to send that music to another device.

From the Amazon Music app on your smartphone, select the playlist of your choice. Bring up the playback controls, tap the button at the bottom right of the screen and select which Echo you want to play music on.

You can do this from the Alexa app. Tap on the playlist and select the desired device. For example, all devices or just one.

Guard your home with Alexa

If you’ve ever worried about leaving your house when you’re on the go, you can turn on Alexa Guard before you leave. Just say “Alexa, I’m leaving” and the Assistant will start listening for any intruding noises, like breaking glass. If the assistant hears anything suspicious, it will send you an alert, it’s up to you to decide what to do next.

When you get home, say “Alexa, I’m home” and the Assistant will end its monitoring.

Donate to charities with Alexa

If you’d like to donate to a charity that’s on Amazon’s list of supported organizations โ€” currently over 400 are listed โ€” you can use your Amazon Echo to make your donation. When you say โ€œAlexa, I would like to donateโ€, the voice assistant will ask you which charity you want to donate to. Then Alexa will ask you for the amount. Note, you must have configured Amazon Pay to be able to take advantage of it.

When you run out of this or that, like toilet paper or toothpaste, you can ask Alexa to recommend some for you through Prime Now. You will first need to have activated voice purchases in the Alexa app.

To do this, open the app and go to More > Settings > Account Settings > Voice Purchasing > Purchase Controls and select who can make purchases. When you’re ready to buy something, say “Alexa, I’d like to buy some toothpaste.” The product will be added to your cart and Alexa will ask you to confirm that you want to buy it now.

You can add a PIN code in the settings to secure the operation.

Find your misplaced smartphone with Alexa

Losing your phone around the house can happen more often than you’d like to admit. And when you don’t have anyone available to call your device, it can be frustrating to search the whole house. You can use Amazon Alexa to find it. You can ask Alexa to call your phone, but if the device is on silent, that won’t do much. Another option is to use the Find My Phone skill in the Alexa app.

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