The Amazon Echo is a device that can quickly become the center point of your smarthome setup, but what if you live in a larger home where one Echo just won’t cut it? Here’s what you should know about bringing in a second, or even a third, Amazon Echo into your house.
You might be curious as to whether or not the Amazon Echo is even capable of getting along with another Echo in the same location, but it’s actually nothing to worry about—they’re made to work with each other. There are still some things that don’t work across multiple Echos, though, so we’re here to rest any confusion.
Your Second Echo Will Already Come Pre-Configured
When you order a second Amazon Echo and activate it with your Amazon account, many of your settings from your first Echo will automatically transfer over to your new Echo device. Thanks, Amazon!
Settings that can be transferred include your music settings, household profiles, Alexa Skills, smart home devices, Flash Briefing settings, and your calendar.
Don’t Worry If Two Echos Can Hear You at the Same Time
In the past, you would’ve needed to change the wake word on some of your Echo units if they were too close together so that you didn’t have more than one Echo wake up when you said “Alexa”, but that’s no longer needed.
Alexa is now smart enough that if two or more of them happen to hear the wake word, only one device will answer you. Your Echos now have the technology to not only hear your voice and the direction it’s coming from, but also to gauge how far away you are from your various Echos. Using that information, Alexa determines which Echo you’re closest to and uses just that device, shutting off the other Echo units that also heard your voice.
Timers and Alarms Don’t Work Over Multiple Echos
Unfortunately, if you tell Alexa to set a timer or alarm on one Echo, it won’t sync to all of the other Echo devices in your house. That means any timer or alarm you set will only go off on the Echo you used to start it.
This is so that you can set a timer or alarm on one Echo, and if you need to, set another timer or alarm on another Echo (you can also set multiple timers or alarms on a single Echo). While you have timers or alarms going on each Echo at the same time, they won’t interfere with each other.
Music Can Be Played Over Multiple Echos
If you love listening to music while doing chores around the house or you’re hosting a party and want the music playing in different rooms, you can have music play on multiple Echos at the same time. This is a relatively new feature to the Echo, but it’s one that has been on the wishlist for a while.
Unfortunately, it’s something that you have to manually set up in order to get it to work. The good news is that it’s fairly customizable, allowing you to create “groups” and only have music playing on specific Echos in your house.
Bluetooth Configurations Are Independent
Speaking of music, if you prefer playing music from your phone and using your Echo as a Bluetooth speaker, it’s important to know that Bluetooth settings and configurations don’t sync across multiple Echos.
Instead, if you connect your phone to one Echo in your house, but also want to later connect to another Echo, you’ll have to perform the connection process again on the second Echo. You also can only connect your phone to one Echo at a time.
You Can Use Them as Intercoms
A new-ish feature for the Echo is Drop In, which basically lets you call one Echo from another—whether they’re in the same house or not. It’s a great feature for in-home use with your multiple Echos, because you can use them as intercoms of sorts.
This allows you to communicate with a family member if you’re all the way across the house from each other—you can tell your kids that dinner is ready if they’re in their rooms, or even just tell your spouse a quick message if they’re busy in the garage. The possibilities are endless.
Shopping & To-Do Lists Are Synced Between Echos
On top of the small handful of things that sync across multiple Echos, your shopping and to-do lists are also spread across your Echo devices.
This means that if you tell Alexa to add an item to your shopping list or a task to your to-do list, it will automatically sync to your Amazon account where you can then access it from any of your Echos. You can even view your shopping list in the web browser on Amazon’s website, as well as within the Alexa app (pictured above).
As you can see, for the most part, your Echos operate independently from one another, except for the stuff it actually stores in the cloud, like your shopping list, household profiles, and various other settings. We still wish there were some things that would sync across Echos, like timers or alarms, but I’m sure Amazon will be broadening its Echo features more and more over the next couple of years—there will likely be much to look forward to.