How to make voice and video calls using Alexa and your Amazon Echo

If you have an Amazon Echo in your home you already know how useful it can be. In addition to turning on your lights, playing music, and checking the weather, you can also use your Echo devices to make phone calls and video calls—even if the people you’re calling don’t have an Echo device of their own.

Here’s how it all works:

Which devices are capable?

  • Echo
  • Echo Dot
  • Echo Show
  • Echo Spot
  • Echo Plus
  • Fire tablets (fourth generation and later) with the Alexa app
  • Compatible iPhones, iPads, and Android phones and tablets with the Alexa app

How do I make a call using Alexa?

The first thing you need to do is give Alexa access to your contacts. Head over the the Alexa app on your iPhone or Android phone and tap the Calling & Messaging tab on the bar at the bottom of the screen (the icon second from the left that looks like a chat bubble). If you haven’t already enabled it, the app will ask permission to access your contacts and register your phone number. (That’s for caller ID purposes. If you opt-out, your calls will show up as “Unknown.”)

alexa app contactsIDG

Alexa needs access to your contacts before you can start making calls.

Once you finish, you’ll instantly be able to call and message your friends and family who have Echo devices. Then, placing a call is as simple as asking Alexa to call someone. For example, if you want to call your mom, just say, “Alexa, call mom.”

What if the person I want to call doesn’t have an Echo?

If you try to call someone who has an Echo, Alexa will automatically ring it (assuming they’ve also signed up for calling and messaging in their Alexa app).

If your recipient doesn’t have an Echo device (or it isn’t enabled), Alexa will do one of two things: call the Alexa app on their phone (if it’s been set up to receive calls), or dial the number associated with the contact. If there are multiple numbers attached to a contact, it will ask which one you want to call. Then say, “mobile” or “home phone,” and Alexa will dial the appropriate number.

Can I call a number that’s not in my contacts?

Yes, you can call a number that’s not in your contacts by speaking the number to Alexa (e.g. “Alexa, call 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-0”).

Can I make international calls?

You can call Echos in any country that supports Alexa-to-Alexa Calling & Messaging, but non-Echo landline and mobile calls are limited to the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.