The Amazon Echo is an always-listening voice-controlled virtual assistant, but if there are times you’d rather not listen (or be listened to) by the Echo, here’s how to automatically mute it at certain times of the day.
Why Would I Want to Do This?
There are several reasons why you might want to mute your Amazon Echo, let alone do it automatically. First off, you might be someone who gets paranoid about Amazon listening in on your conversations at inopportune times, and with privacy being all the rage now, it’s a valid concern for some users.
Or maybe you just don’t want to accidentally activate Alexa. Granted, it’s likely rare when that happens, but it’s kind of annoying when it does.
You can manually mute and unmute the Amazon Echo using the mute button on the top of the unit. This will cut off the microphone and the device will no longer listen for the wake word “Alexa”. The Echo doesn’t have a way to automatically mute and unmute the microphone, but this is where we can get a little creative.
Automatically muting your Amazon Echo with a smart outlet like the Belkin WeMo (or a basic outlet timer) is a great way to turn off the device at different times–like when you’re sleeping and when you’re at work.
Automatically Muting Your Amazon Echo
In order to automatically mute your Echo, you’ll need to spend a little bit of cash in order to get what’s required, or you might already have what you need. You can use a smart outlet, like the ones in Belkin’s WeMo lineup, or just use a basic outlet timer for cheap that you can pick up at almost any store.
Simply plug in the outlet switch, then plug your Amazon Echo into the switch. Whenever the switch is turned off, your Echo will shut off, since the Echo simply powers on whenever it’s plugged in–there’s no on/off switch.
Since your really just shutting off the Echo entirely and powering it back up, it will take a minute or so for the device to fully boot up and be ready to receive voice commands. During that time, the Echo plays a brief soundscape and then says “Hello”, so you’ll hear this every time it powers on automatically using the outlet switch.
On a cheap basic timer, it depends what model it is, but it’s really just about pushing down the small buttons during the times that you want the Echo to be powered on. Sometimes timers will have little tabs that you move around to mark when you want the outlet to turn on and off.
While those basic timers are cheap and relatively easy to use, you have to adjust them manually on the timer itself if you ever want to make changes, whereas on a smart outlet switch you can adjust the times right from your phone quickly and easily without much hassle.