(Pocket-lint) - If you own an iPhone, you now have access to Alexa voice commands.
No, that doesn't mean you can replace Siri with Alexa. In order to access Amazon's voice assistant, you have to go inside the company's main shopping app. Here's everything you need to know about Alexa on iOS, including how it works and what it can do.
How does Alexa work on iOS devices?
Inside of the Amazon app for iOS, you will see a microphone icon near the top of the screen. Simply press it to activate Alexa. You can then ask the assistant almost anything you’d normally ask Alexa via an Amazon Echo device, including asking her to make purchases for you and look up facts. Unfortunately, you have to open Amazon's app to use Alexa, and there is no "Alexa" hotword voice activation.
What can Alexa do on iOS devices?
Because Alexa is inside the Amazon shopping app, of course you can use her to shop. Just say "Search for paper towels" or "Reorder batteries" or "Add shampoo to my cart". You can also track your orders by saying "Track my last order".
Alexa can stream books from your Kindle library or music from Amazon Music Unlimited, Prime Music, or purchased music. Amazon Prime members also get access to music included in their subscriptions. Just say "Play the Beatles" or "Play my Kindle book". When you ask Alexa to play media, player controls will appear on the screen.
Alexa can answer all the same questions you'd normally ask her in via an Amazon Echo device. Amazon said you can ask about people, geography, dates, music, sports, and more. She can also define words, complete conversions, make calculations, and provide updates on the news, weather, and traffic. But to check weather and traffic, you need add your address and destination, respectively, in the main Alexa app.
Alexa in the Amazon app supports voice-driven skills already set up in the the Alexa app or on alexa.amazon.com.
What can't Alexa do on iOS devices?
This is not a full-featured version of Alexa. It can’t be used as a replacement for Siri, since Apple’s assistant is built into the operating system. Still, you can now use Alexa on the iOS platform, and it lets you leverage skills and smart home capabilities. But you do need the main Alexa app installed to continue managing Alexa on all your devices.
When will Alexa arrive for iOS devices?
The feature is now rolling out and should be available to all US users by late March 2017.
Want to know more?
Check out Pocket-lint's Amazon Alexa guides:
- 12 best Amazon Echo compatible devices you can buy today
- Amazon Echo: First 7 things you should do to get Alexa started
- Amazon Echo tips and tricks: Getting a grip on Alexa
- Amazon Echo: What can Alexa do and what services are compatible?