What You Can (and Can’t) Do with Multiple Amazon Echos

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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 device into your house.

You might be curious as to whether or not the Amazon Echo is even capable of getting along with another Echo device in the same domain, but it’s actually nothing to worry about. In fact, in order to buy an Echo Dot, you had to have already owned an original Amazon Echo. Furthermore, you can have up to 12 Echo devices associated with your Amazon account.

What happens, though, when you have two or more Echo devices in your living space? Here are some things you should know about having multiple Amazon Echo devices.

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 transferred include your music settings, household profiles, Alexa Skills, smart home devices, Flash Briefing settings, and your Google Calendar.

Don’t Worry If Two Echos Can Hear You at the Same Time


Before the latest firmware update for the Amazon Echo rolled out, you would’ve needed to change the wake word on some of your units if they were close together so that you didn’t have more than one Echo wake up when you said “Alexa”.

However, Alexa is now smart enough that only one device will answer you if two or more of them happen to hear the wake word. 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 the device. Using that information, Alexa will determine which Echo you’re closest to and will use that device alone, shutting off the other Echo units that also heard your voice.

Timers and Alarms Don’t Work Over Multiple Echos

Nice Kitchen In Modern Home.

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, which means the timer or alarm will only go off from the Echo that you started the timer or alarm from.

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. While you have timers or alarms going on each Echo at the same time, they won’t interfere with each other.

Music Can’t Be Played Over Multiple Echos at the Same Time


While your music settings are synced across your multiple Echo devices, you can’t play music across multiple Echo devices at the same time, which is probably a feature that many users want.

Unfortunately, when you tell Alexa to play a song, it will only play on that one Echo device. However, if you have an Echo Dot, you can connect the audio out port to a whole-home Sonos system to get around this restriction.

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 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 or settings. We really wish Amazon would change this so Echos would work together with one another, but sadly, this is what we have to deal with for now.

Title image by Amazon.

Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.