How to Easily Set Up Smart Home Devices with Amazon Alexa

Setting up a new smart home device that you plan to control with Amazon Echo can be a challenge. Typically, you need to turn on the device, connect it to your home network, and then get Echo to recognize it. If this sounds complicated and confusing, Amazon agrees and offers a solution called Certified for Humans.

If you purchase a device with the Certified for Humans or Works with Alexa label, you can ask Alexa to configure the product for you by discovering it on your wireless network. Here’s how the process works.

How to find certified devices

It can be difficult to find products with the Certified for Humans or Works with Alexa label. Amazon has a website that lists several compatible devices, but it is not exhaustive.

It’s best to search Amazon for “Certified for Humans” or “Works with Alexa” (with quotes) to get a list of supported products. Not all entries will actually be part of the program, so look for the Certified for Humans or Works with Alexa logo or program information in the product description.

Find certified devices

(Source: PCMag / Amazon)

When you find a product marked as Certified for Humans or Works with Alexa, make sure the simplified setup option is turned on. Under add to cart AND buy now the buttons on the product page are the option that says Connect to your Amazon account to simplify setup.

This should be enabled by default. You will want to leave this option checked before completing your order. This will allow you to turn on the device in question using your Amazon account.

Amazon product list

(Source: PCMag / Amazon)

Configure Wi-Fi settings

Before you can connect your device to your Echo device, several criteria must be met. The Echo device must be connected to the same Amazon account that was used to purchase the device. Both your Echo device and your smart home device should be on the same Wi-Fi network. You should also be using the latest version of the Alexa app for iOS or Android.

This process relies on a feature known as Amazon Wi-Fi Locker. This feature stores your Wi-Fi credentials in the cloud after you set up Amazon Echo and shares them with compatible smart home devices. These credentials are sent over a secure connection and stored in an encrypted file on Amazon’s server.

amazon manages content and devices

(Source: PCMag / Amazon)

To check this setting, go to Manage Content and Devices and sign in to your Amazon account. Go to Preferences > Saved network passwords and turn on No frustration Organize something. Now any new Alexa-compatible smart device you connect will automatically use your existing credentials for quick and easy setup.

If you are not comfortable with Amazon storing your credentials this way, click the button Delete button next to it Your saved Wi-Fi passwords. However, if you want to take advantage of easy setup, Frustration-Free Setup must remain enabled.

Connect to your Alexa device

Plug your Alexa device into a power source and make sure it’s in pairing mode. Wait a minute or two for Alexa to receive the device on your network. If no notification appears, say “Alexa, discover devices” to see if your device is detected. You should then receive a notification on any mobile device running the Alexa app that a new device has been found.

Tell Alexa to discover the device

(Source: PCMag / Apple)

Make sure Alexa is connected to your device by saying “Alexa, turn on (device name)” and then make sure your device is activated. When you say “Alexa, turn off (device name)”, the device should turn off.

Tell Alexa to turn your device on or off

(Source: PCMag / Amazon)

You can view and modify some device settings. Open the Alexa app and select Devices icon on the bottom toolbar. Tap the name of your newly discovered device, then select Settings gear icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

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On the Settings screen, tap Edit name link to change the device name. Here you can also turn off your device if you are no longer using it. You can then turn it back on if you want to use it again. Tap the trash icon to delete your device if you don’t plan to use it ever again.

Turn off or remove the device

(Source: PCMag / Amazon)

Manually connect your device

If Alexa doesn’t detect your new smart device, or you’ve deleted your saved Wi-Fi passwords for security reasons, you can still manually set up your smart device using the Alexa app. Connect your device and make sure Bluetooth is turned on on your phone or tablet. In the app, tap Devicesand later + in the upper right corner and select Add a device.

Manually add a device

(Source: PCMag / Amazon)

Select the type of device you want to configure from different categories such as Amazon Echo, Light, Plug, Switch, Camera, Lock, Thermostat, or Speaker. Select your device brand, then make sure it’s connected and turned on. Obtain Next to continue.

Select the type of device you want to configure

(Source: PCMag / Amazon)

In some cases, you will need to download an app to your device and use it to manually configure it. In other cases, you can simply scan the barcode from your device, product packaging, or manual. Follow the instructions for your specific device until it is connected to Wi-Fi and detected by the Alexa app.

Download the application to your device

(Source: PCMag / Amazon)

If prompted, tap Configure your device to continue setting up. Then you can tap Select a Group to add a device to a specific item group in the Alexa app. You can now turn your device on and off by talking to Alexa.

Add a device to a specific product group

(Source: PCMag / Amazon)

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