How to Change the Amazon Echo’s “Wake Word”

By Jason Fitzpatrick on April 8th, 2016

By default, “Alexa” is the wake word that triggers the Amazon Echo to listen to your commands. You’re not stuck with that trigger, however, and can change it to suit your preference–or to cut to down on cross-Echo confusion.

Why You Would Want to Change The Watch Word

There’s a variety of reasons you might want to change the wake word trigger for your Echo devices. Perhaps you liked the name Alexa so much, you gave it to your daughter, and now your Echo unit responds to commands directed at your child. If you’re sick of Alexa-the-Digital-Assistant saying “I don’t understand” in response to commands, like “Alexa, take the trash out”, directed at Alexa-your-Daughter, then it’s definitely time to change.

Alternatively, perhaps you really dislike the name Alexa and would prefer not to say it multiple times a day–if you still hold a grudge against Alexa-the-Girlfriend who stole your favorite Fleetwood Mac band shirt and thus jinxed the band to a horrible breakup, we’re completely sympathetic to your desire for a new wake word.

Finally, for people with multiple Echo units, there’s an argument to be made for multiple wake words. The microphone array on the Echo and Echo Dot units is very sensitive. If you have an Echo in your living room and a Dot upstairs in your bedroom, there’s a good chance that issuing a command to Alexa while standing in the foyer will trigger both units. In such instances, it’s really handy to have one wake word for the downstairs unit and one wake word for the upstairs unit.

If you think that solution sounds clunky or difficult to remember (which wake word for which unit?) we assure you it isn’t. It’s surprisingly simple to adapt to. We changed the wake word on our upstairs device to “Echo” and left the wake word on our downstairs unit as “Alexa”. It’s already easy to anthropomorphize Alexa, and it proved really easy to simply think of Alexa as the downstairs help, if you will, and Echo as the upstairs help.

How to Change The Watch Word

Before we proceed, we need to let you down easy: you can change the wake word but you can’t change it to anything you want. While truly custom wake words might be a future Echo feature, you can’t currently set the wake word to “Scuba Steve”, “Megatron”, “A Personal Voice Assistant Named Quest”, or whatever other entertaining term you want.

That caveat aside, however, you can easily change the watch word between one of the currently available options: “Alexa”, “Amazon”, “Echo”, and the recently added “Computer”. To do so simply open up the Alexa app on your mobile device or navigate to echo.amazon.com to access your Echo’s control panel. There, select “Settings” from the left-hand navigation menu.

Within the settings menu, select the Echo device whose wake word you wish to change. Note that there is no wake word on the the Fire TV, since it requires you to press a button to trigger the Alexa system and thus has no wake word.

After selecting the device you wish to edit, scroll down in the settings until you see the entry for “Wake Word”. Select the wake word.

Select a new wake word from the drop down menu.

Once you’ve made your selection, click “Save”. Be aware, as the warning above the selection menu indicates, that it will take a few minutes for the change to take effect and that during this time you will be unable to use your device.

If you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, repeat these steps for each device as wake words are set on an individual basis.


That’s all there is to it! With a simple configuration tweak you can switch the wake word on all your devices or split up the wake word between different areas of your home.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/8/16
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