I had just purchased an Alexa Echo for my home. I was excited to start using it to control my smart home devices.
I had heard that many of the best Alexa features were only available to Amazon Prime members. While I didn’t want to pay for a membership just to use Alexa, I also didn’t want to miss out on all the great features of Alexa.
Feeling unsure, I decided to do some research on my own.
I scoured the internet for information on Alexa and Amazon Prime, and it confirmed what I already suspected.
You do not need Amazon Prime for Alexa. While there are certain features exclusive to Prime members, you can use Alexa to perform a variety of other tasks without an Amazon Prime membership.
Which Devices are Compatible with Alexa?
Alexa is essentially a virtual assistant developed by Amazon that can be used on Amazon Echo and other smart devices.
Capable of understanding and responding to human commands, Alexa can be used for streaming music, voice interaction, getting information, and a variety of other tasks.
Alexa is available on different devices:
- Amazon Echo devices (Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Plus, etc.).
- Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube.
- Some smart TVs.
- Some soundbars and home theater systems.
- Some cars and trucks.
- Some smart home devices, such as smart light bulbs, thermostats, and security cameras.
- Some third-party speakers and headphones that are Alexa-enabled.
Additionally, you can also access Alexa using the Amazon Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet.
Note: You will need to sign up for an Amazon account (free or paid) to use Alexa. If you already have an Amazon account, you can use your existing credentials to set up Alexa.
Does Alexa Work Without Amazon Prime?
Yes, you can use Alexa without an Amazon Prime membership.
There are certain features of Alexa like ordering food items or accessing Prime Music and Video which are exclusive to Amazon Prime members. Additionally, some Alexa-enabled devices may offer exclusive deals and discounts to Prime members.
However, you can still use Alexa to perform a variety of other tasks and access many other features without an Amazon Prime membership.
Which Alexa Features are Available for Free?
Many Alexa features that are available without an Amazon Prime membership. All you need to do is log in with your free Amazon account to access these features.
- Basic voice commands: You can use Alexa to perform a variety of basic tasks, such as setting timers, asking for the weather forecast, and getting news updates.
- Music streaming services: You can use Alexa to stream music from a variety of non-Amazon services, such as Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio.
- Smart home control: You can use Alexa to control smart home devices, such as smart lights, thermostats, and door locks.
- Calling and messaging: You can use Alexa to make and receive calls and messages to other Alexa users, even if they don’t have a Prime membership.
- Shopping: You can use Alexa to add items to your Amazon shopping list or order products from Amazon, but non-Prime members may need to pay for shipping.
- Skills: Thousands of Alexa skills that are available for free, ranging from educational games to recipes to meditation guides.
It’s worth noting that the majority of Alexa’s core functionality can be used by anyone with an Alexa-enabled device, regardless of whether they have a Prime membership.
Which Alexa Features are Exclusive for Prime Members?
Having an Amazon Prime membership with Alexa provides a more integrated and seamless experience, with access to a wider range of features and benefits.
Some Alexa features that are exclusive to Prime members are:
- Prime Music: Prime members can access over two million songs and playlists through Prime Music using Alexa-enabled devices.
- Prime Reading: Prime members can use Alexa to access a rotating selection of ebooks and magazines through Prime Reading.
- Prime Video: With a Prime membership, you can access thousands of movies and TV shows through Prime Video, which can be streamed on your Alexa-enabled device.
- Alexa personal shopper service: Prime members can use Alexa to receive personalized fashion recommendations and make purchases through the Alexa personal shopper service.
- Early access to select Alexa features: Amazon occasionally rolls out new Alexa features to Prime members before making them available to non-Prime members.
- Access to exclusive Alexa skills: Amazon Prime members can access a range of exclusive Alexa skills, such as meditation and workout routines, recipe guides, and interactive storytelling.
Overall, getting an Amazon Prime membership can enhance your Alexa experience by providing access to exclusive content, music, and video streaming, as well as exclusive deals and discounts.
Additionally, an Amazon Prime membership also gives you access to other benefits like free two-day shipping on millions of eligible items from Amazon.
Can Alexa Control Your TV?
Yes, Alexa can control your TV if it is compatible with Alexa.
To do so, you’ll need a compatible smart TV or a streaming device, such as a Fire TV stick, that is connected to your TV.
Here’s how to set up Alexa to control your TV:
- Make sure your TV or streaming device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Alexa device.
- Open the Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet.
- Tap on the Devices icon at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap on the + icon to add a new device.
- Follow the prompts to select your TV or streaming device from the list of available devices.
Once your TV or streaming device is added, you can use Alexa’s voice commands to control your TV. For example, you can say “Alexa, turn on the TV” or “Alexa, play Netflix on the TV”.
How to Protect Your Privacy While Using Alexa
Using any device that connects to the internet, including Alexa, always comes with some level of privacy risk.
Alexa collects and stores voice recordings and other data to improve its functionality and accuracy. However, you can access and delete your voice recordings at any time, and you can also adjust your privacy settings to limit the amount of data that is collected and shared.
Here are some ways to protect your privacy when using Alexa:
Review and delete your voice recordings
Alexa records and stores your voice commands, so it’s a good idea to review and delete them regularly.
To do this,
- Open the Alexa app.
- Tap More and then Settings.
- Scroll down and tap Alexa Privacy.
- Select Review Voice History to see a list of your voice recordings.
- Tap Delete all recordings from today. You can change the date using the “Displaying” drop down menu and delete the records for those days as well.
You can either delete individual recordings or delete all recordings from a certain date range.
Mute the microphone
Alexa has a microphone on/off button that you can use to mute the device’s microphone. This will prevent Alexa from listening and responding to voice commands until you turn the microphone back on.
Set up a voice code
You can set up a voice code that will prevent anyone else from using your Alexa device.
To do this,
- Open the Amazon Alexa app on your mobile device.
- Select Settings.
- Click on Alexa Account.
- Select Voice Purchasing.
- Turn on the Voice Code feature.
Once done, follow the on-screen prompts to set up your voice code.
Use two-factor authentication
You can enable two-factor authentication on your Amazon account, which will require a code in addition to your password to log in. This will add an extra layer of security to your account and prevent unauthorized access to your Alexa device.
Alexa, Turn On the Lights
As soon as I found out that I didn’t need an Amazon Prime membership to use Alexa, I decided to give Alexa a try.
I started using Alexa to control my smart lights, set reminders, and play podcasts. I found that Alexa was incredibly easy to use, even without a Prime membership.
I was thrilled to discover that I can even use Alexa to make purchases on Amazon without being a Prime member.
Over time, I’ve continued to explore all the different ways I can use Alexa. I have started using it to order groceries, listen to audiobooks, and even play games with my friends.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get started with Alexa?
To get started with Alexa, you will need to purchase an Alexa-enabled device and download the Alexa app. You can then follow the setup instructions in the app to connect your device to your home Wi-Fi network and start using Alexa.
Is Alexa always listening?
Alexa is designed to only listen when triggered by a wake word, such as “Alexa” or “Echo.” However, you can also manually mute the microphone on your Alexa device.
Is Alexa safe for kids?
Alexa can be used safely by kids with parental supervision. There are several parental controls available in the Alexa app, such as setting time limits and filtering explicit content.