How to change the ‘Alexa’ command word

Say goodbye to the “Alexa” wake word and make your Echo smart speaker your own.

Fed up with shouting “Alexa” at your Echo smart speaker? Then shout no more, as with just a few simple steps you can change the wake word to something else. 

The command word – also known as the wake word – is used to get your Echo smart speaker to listen to you. Once it hears the wake word, your smart speaker begins listening to what you ask it to do. 

An Amazon Echo Dot sat on the kitchen counter next to some ingredients to illustrate how to change the alexa wake wordCredit: Amazon
It’s fairly straightforward if you want to ditch the Alexa command word for something else

Why change your Echo’s wake word?

Make your speaker unique to you

Changing your Echo’s wake word can make it feel more personalised and unique to you. Then again, most people change it because they have multiple Echo devices in the home.

Changing the command word can help differentiate between devices, making it easier to control the one you want to use.  

It can also help to prevent accidental activations by other people. If you’ve ever been listening to the radio or watching the TV when someone says “Alexa”, you’ll know what happens. 

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What name can I choose?

You have five options

Unfortunately, you can’t choose any old name for your Echo’s wake word. Unlike the Google Assistant though where you have no way of changing the wake word, on the Echo you’re at least given the choice of five pre-chosen words: Alexa, Amazon, Computer, Echo and Ziggy – the last of these launched in 2022 as a tribute to the late David Bowie.

Close up of the David Bowie Album Ziggy StardustCredit: Saga Exceptional/Ralf Liebhold
Ask Ziggy to play Ziggy and your smart speaker will begin playing the eponymous album.

There are also seasonal variations such as “Hey Santa”, but to access this you must enable it via the app. Alas, Santa can’t help with every command, so Alexa will jump in on occasion.  

Before you choose one of the five, bear in mind that if any of them sound like family members, pet names or even just words you use regularly, it could all get confusing. Go for something reasonably different to avoid triggering accidental activations. 

How to change it on the app

Just a few taps is all it takes

The app is an easy way to change your Echo command word – here’s how to do it. 

Screenshots showing steps in how to change the alexa command wordCredit: Saga Exceptional
It just takes a few taps in the Alexa app to change the command word
  1. Once you’ve opened the Alexa app, tap on “Devices”.
  2. Select “Echo & Alexa” and then select your device.
  3. From here, select “Settings”. This is a little cog located at the top right-hand corner of the screen.
  4. Scroll down to the ‘General’ section and select ‘Wake Word’.
  5. Select a wake word from the list, and then select OK from the pop-up screen. Updating your wake word may take a couple of minutes. It’s a good idea to test it out after this time to make sure it worked. 
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Have more than one device?

When you change the wake word, it only applies to one device. If you have more than one device and want to change the wake word for any of your other smart speakers, then you’ll have to follow the same process for each one. 

Can I ask Alexa to change it?

Alexa’s not very helpful on this one

The answer to this is kind of. You can ask but you’ll basically be redirected to the app! 

A phone showing the Alexa appCredit: Shutterstock/Diego Thomazini
The Alexa app is the only way to change the wake word

Troubleshooting

What to try if it’s not working

You’ve got to love technology – sometimes it just doesn’t want to play ball. If you’re having trouble with changing the wake word, there are a few things you can try.  

  1. Restart your smart speaker. Unplug the power adapter from your device and wait for 10 seconds. Plug it back in to restart it.
  2. Check for any software updates on your Alexa application. You can do this by going to the Play Store on android phones or the App store for Apple phones.
  3. Check for software updates on the Echo smart speaker. For software updates on your Echo Dot device, just ask Alexa. Say “Alexa, check for software updates”. If there are any updates found, the device will install them.
  4. If this doesn’t help, you can try a device reset. To do this, press and hold the “Action” button for 20 seconds (the Action button is the little dot on the controls). Wait for the light ring to turn off and on again and then your device will enter set-up mode. You’ll then have to follow the instructions from Amazon on how to set up you Echo Dot.
  5. If all else fails, you can try a factory reset but bear in mind that this erases all your personal information and any connections you might have to other devices and smart home applications.

Full factory reset

To do a full factory reset, press and hold the “Volume down” and “Microphone off” buttons at the same time for 20 seconds. Then wait for the light ring to turn off and on again. You’ll then be in set-up mode and can follow the instructions above.  

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Jayne Cherrington-Cook

Written by Jayne Cherrington-Cook she/her

Updated:

Jayne is the Senior Editor at Saga Exceptional. She cut her online journalism teeth 24 years ago in an era when a dialling tone and slow page load were standard. During this time, she’s written about a variety of subjects and is just at home road-testing TVs as she is interviewing TV stars. A diverse career has seen Jayne launch websites for popular magazines, collaborate with top brands, write regularly for major publications including Woman&Home, Yahoo! and The Daily Telegraph, create a podcast, and also write a tech column for Women’s Own.

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