The Amazon Echo lineup has some nifty features.
You can ask any question you want, play music, control your smart home, and make phone calls.
But do you need to have your smartphone with you to make calls with Alexa?
Alexa can make calls without a smartphone. You only need to use your smartphone to set up the Amazon Echo. After setup, Alexa makes calls to other Alexa devices, phones, or landline numbers using Wi-Fi.
Learn how to call friends and family using Alexa by reading the whole article.
You will also learn how to set up Alexa with a smartphone or tablet.
How To Use Alexa for Making Calls Without a Smartphone
If you already have Alexa set up on your phone, you can make direct Alexa to Alexa calls or call a cell phone or landline number.
You don’t need your smartphone with you for Alexa to make calls. Amazon Echo uses Wi-Fi rather than cellular connectivity.
Alexa to Alexa Calls
Calling a friend or family’s Alexa from your Amazon Echo is simple. You can see who has an Alexa set up by going into the Alexa app on your phone and opening the Contacts list.
Contacts that own an Alexa device will have an Echo icon next to their name.
To call another Alexa, you say, “Alexa, call Contact Name,” and Alexa will make the call for you. It will automatically go to the other person’s Alexa by default.
You can even use the Amazon Echo Auto (Available on Amazon.com) to call someone’s Alexa.
Phone or Landline Number Calls
You can call any other number using the same principle. You can say, “Alexa, call Contact Name,” or you can even call a specific number by saying, “Alexa, call Phone Number.“
You can use this to call anyone in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Amazon Echo can’t reach any international numbers, so don’t try contacting your relatives in Europe.
When calling a service that requires manual number input, PCMag explains that you should use a command like “Alexa, press number X on the dial pad.”
There are a few numbers that Alexa can’t call, though. You can read more about them below.
Editor’s pick: 10 Things Alexa Can Do Without a Smartphone (Best Features)
Alexa Call Limitations
There are a few numbers that Alexa won’t be able to reach. Keep this limitation in mind in the case of emergencies. Instead of telling Alexa to call 911, reach out for your phone instead.
Emergency Response Services
Alexa can’t call 911 or any other emergency response service.
Instead, Amazon wants you to rely on Alexa emergency contacts.
You can set up your emergency contact through the Alexa app.
Once that’s done, you can use a phrase such as, “Call my emergency contact,” and Alexa will make the call.
I strongly recommend that you choose the right person as your emergency contact. A good candidate is someone who picks the phone up as soon as it starts ringing and who lives near you.
So, asking your closest neighbor to be your emergency contact instead of an uncle, who lives 2 states away, is a good idea.
Premium-Rate, Three-Digit, and Dial-by-Letter Numbers
If you don’t know what premium-rate phone numbers are, those are telephone numbers that charge more than the standard rate.
They start with 1-900, which is where they got the nickname “900 number.” Alexa won’t allow you to call these numbers.
Furthermore, just like 911, you can’t call any other three-digit number from the Amazon Echo.
Here are a few examples of three-digit numbers:
- Municipal services (311)
- Directory assistance (411)
- Community services (211)
- Traffic information/non-emergency police services (511)
Dial-by-letter numbers, like 1-800-PAINTER, also don’t work on the Amazon Echo. Instead, say the actual numbers to make the call.
Alexa can call anyone in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico for free.
However, calling someone with an international number outside these 3 countries is not possible at the moment.
No Internet Access
As mentioned earlier, Alexa uses Wi-Fi rather than cellular connectivity to make calls.
If your Echo device isn’t connected to the Internet, you can’t make any calls from it.
The next time you want to make a call, but Alexa can’t do it, check your Wi-Fi first to make sure you have Internet.
Alexa’s Drop In Feature
Did you know that you can use multiple Echo devices around your home to talk to your family?
I didn’t know about this, and it’s fantastic when you want to check if the food is ready or if your kids have finished their chores.
Here is how to enable Drop In from your smartphone or tablet:
- Open the Alexa app on your phone.
- Go to Communicate.
- Click on your profile.
- Click on the slider next to Allow Drop In under Permissions.
- Tap on the Drop In icon that pops up in the top right corner.
Now you can use the voice command, “Alexa, drop in on Device Name,” and a call screen will appear. You can now talk to your wife using the Echo device.
Drop In gets even better if you have the Echo Show 5 on Amazon.com because it has video calling enabled.
You can hang up just like any other phone call using a voice command (“Alexa, hang up”) or by tapping on the End Call button from your phone.
How To Set Up Amazon Echo
Setting up the Amazon Echo is a straightforward process. Once you set it up, you can call anyone from it.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to set up the Amazon Echo:
- Download and install the Amazon Alexa app from the Google Play Store or App Store.
- Plug in and turn on your Echo device.
- Open the Alexa app and go to More.
- Tap on Add a device.
- Press Amazon Echo.
- Choose your Echo device.
- Follow the Wizard to finish installing.
- Enable Calling and Messaging in the Alexa app.
You can also watch this short YouTube video by Tech Steve that explains how to set up an Echo for phone calls:
Congratulations! You can now make calls using Alexa.
Is Alexa Safe To Use for Phone Calls?
Alexa is safe to use for phone calls, but you shouldn’t use it to make confidential phone calls. It’s unclear how the data is collected and stored on the Amazon Echo and, even when you delete it, traceable artifacts remain.
I’m sure that you’ve had some concerns about using Alexa for phone calls. You’re not alone because there are a lot of unanswered questions about data collection.
According to a paper that examines Amazon Alexa APIs, Amazon Echo Dot collects and stores user data. Even when you delete the data, a lot of information stays in the form of artifacts.
You probably won’t mind if your Echo stores a call about giraffes between you and your son.
However, if your boss calls you and has some business secrets to discuss, you better switch to your phone and go as far away from your nosy Alexa as possible.
Learn more: Can Alexa be hacked?
Alexa is a fantastic home assistant that can make calls even when your smartphone is not with you. Amazon Echo devices use Wi-Fi to make calls, which saves money.
However, you can only call numbers in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. You can’t call international numbers, premium-rate numbers, three-digit numbers, and several other numbers.
Also, you can’t make any calls without Wi-Fi, so make sure that you’re always connected.
You only need to use your smartphone or tablet when setting up an Amazon Echo device for the first time. After that, Alexa is independent of any other device.