You’re already the owner of one Alexa device, perhaps an Amazon Echo. Now you’ve bought a second device, maybe another Echo or the smaller Echo Dot. How do you set up your second device? Or a third? And how best to configure and juggle them all?
To make this work, tap into the handy mobile Alexa app on iOS or Android phones or tablets. You can also access it from the web via alexa.amazon.com, but the setup is easiest on mobile. We’ll show you how to set up multiple devices here using an iPad.
Open the Alexa app. Tap the hamburger icon () and select Settings.
At the Settings screen, tap on the button to Set Up a New Device.
At the “Choose a device to set up” window, tap on the type of Alexa device you wish to set up. We’ll select an Echo Dot in this case, though the process is the same for other Alexa devices.
At the next screen, choose your language or make sure your language is selected. Tap Continue.
At the next screen, tap on the button to Connect to Wi-Fi.
Now, plug in your new Alexa device. A device such as an Echo or Echo Dot will display the familiar blue/green light ring at the top. Wait for your Echo’s light ring to change to orange, which indicates that it’s in setup mode. If you don’t see the orange light ring, hold down the Action button on your device for five seconds until the ring turns orange. Then tap Continue.
Now segue to your mobile device’s Wi-Fi settings screen. Among the available networks, you should see an entry for Amazon-XXX (the XXX standing for any combination of characters). Tap on that entry.
The entry should move to the list of connected networks.
Now return to your Alexa app. The screen should tell you you’re now connected to your new Alexa device. Tap Continue.
Now you need to connect your Alexa device to your home network. At the screen to “Select your Wi-Fi network,” tap on the name of your local Wi-Fi network.
The next screen tells you that the app is preparing your Alexa device.
You should then hear Alexa proclaim that your Echo device is ready. And the Alexa screen should tell you that the setup is complete. Tap on Continue.
Depending on the device you’re setting up, you may see another screen asking how you want to use the device. For example, when setting up an Echo Dot, the app asks whether you want to use it via Bluetooth, an Audio Cable, or No speakers. Tap on the option you wish to use.
Your device is now ready to go. Follow the same steps if you need to set up more Alexa devices. As you add more devices, Alexa gives them sequential names, such as Echo-1, Echo-2. But you can give a device a more descriptive name like Lance’s Echo Dot Bedroom; the simpler the name, the easier it is to do drop-in intercom calls between Echo devices in your home.
Return to the Settings screen in the Alexa app. In the Device section, tap on the entry for the device you want to rename.
At the General section of the settings screen for the device, tap on the Edit link next to the name of the device.
Type the new name for the device and then tap Save.
Your device is officially renamed.
If you’re setting up multiple Alexa devices throughout your home, make sure you put them far enough apart so the wrong device doesn’t respond when you say: “Alexa.” Bluetooth’s range is limited, but it can still communicate from one room to the next.
In my case, I have an Echo in our living room, an Echo Dot in our bedroom, and another Echo Dot in my office. Those rooms are far enough apart that I can utter “Alexa,” and the right device answers me.
Setting Up Multi-Room Music
Brand new to homes with multiple Echo devices is Alexa’s ability to play multi-room music. This means you can ask for tunes on one device, and have them play back on multiple Echo devices around the house, Sonos-style.
Note that this only works with the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and touch-screen Echo Show for now. It doesn’t work with the Echo Tap or Amazon Fire TV devices, but it’ll arrive on a few third-party Echo-supporting devices.
To set it up, go to Settings and under the list of multiple Echo devices you have installed, there’s a group called Audio Groups; tap Multi-Room Music.
On the Create Group Page, either type in the name of a group you’d like to create, or hold your finger on the field for a moment to get a drop-down menu full of suggestions. Most of them have to do with specific locations in the home. If you’re going to select all your eligible Echo devices, Everywhere is a good name.
Once you’ve picked the Group Name, select each eligible Echo. Note that each Echo device can currently only belong to one group. If they already belong to a different group, they will appear grayed out. Once you’ve selected, click Create Group.
The app will then check your devices, which may take a minute or two.
After it’s done, a notification (hopefully) tells you that the group was successfully saved. The example is given on how to play multi-room music: tell your nearest Alexa devices “Alexa, play music everywhere.” You can then close out of that notification.
You’ll be returned to the groups page then, where you’ll see your new group listed. You can click Create Group to make another (say, only the Echos downstairs), or click the existing group if you want to edit which devices are used for playing multi-room music under that name. Any time you make a change, streaming audio will pause.
As noted above, each Echo can only belong to one group for now; hopefully future upgrades will allow for multiple group combos, so you could have an “Everywhere,” and a “Downstairs” with several Echo devices available.
There’s also nothing stopping you from having Echo devices on your account but placed in other homes from being part of a group—but that might get annoying for your loved ones sharing the account who don’t live with you.
The multi-room listening also won’t work for playback over wireless Bluetooth speakers. If you want to use your Echo Dot with an external speaker, you’ll need to plug it into the 3.5mm audio jack. But Amazon says it’s working with leading names like Sonos, Bose, Samsung, and Sound Unlimited to enable Alexa on its audio systems in the future.