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Alexa app gets more customization options in latest update

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Amazon is finally rolling out its long-awaited Alexa app update for iOS and Android devices. While some tweaks have been made to the app since the summer, the latest update enhances the app’s functionality to a whole new level. Controlling smart home devices is more straightforward via the app now, and users would find it much easier to work with it.

Amazon’s director of smart home, Charlie French, says their primary focus for revamping Alexa apps was to put smart home controls front and center. “We’ve seen great momentum with smart home. We now have millions of customers with over 20 devices connected. So, this is about making it as easy as possible to access their devices,” French added.

The Alexa app was revamped with a focus on easier smart home control

The most noticeable change to the new Alexa app is a new home tap that’s modernized and gives an overview of your smart homes at a glimpse. You can also customize smart home items to be shown in the app. The Alexa app doesn’t do it independently like the previous one. The old-fashioned “most relevant” and “recently used” items are also gone. The new app gives three customizable sections for smart home Alexa control.

Another great addition to the Alexa app is a sideways scrollable list at the top row of the Home tab that lets you choose between 17 different shortcut options. Some shortcut buttons like Music, Shopping Lists, and Drop In are already there, but you can customize the list according to your needs.

The bottom menu bar on the Home tap is now limited to Home, Devices, and More items. Tapping on More opens the Settings, Activity History, and other Alexa services. Additionally, the Home tab Alexa bubble allows you to interact with the assistant via text commands.

Add your favorite devices to the Alexa app home

The shortcuts list could include device types like lights, locks, and climate. There’s a device startup option that could tell you the temperature of the number of lights you currently have in the home. Charlie French noted the option is now available to users with less than 20 devices, but it will soon become available to all users.

Moreover, the Activity tab shows time-sensitive cards such as smart home alerts, timers, alarms, and reminders. If you dismiss the cards, the whole section moves away.

Amazon has brought the “Favorites” cards to the Home tab so you can quickly access your most-used smart home devices. For example, you can easily adjust the temperature card without wandering into multiple pages. Tapping on the camera card also gives you a quick live view. French says users can now add over 200 devices to their Favorites list. In 2024, the Favorites include snapshots from up to six Ring cameras.

A new design for the Devices section

The revamped Devices section has now become a place to provide more control over your smart home items. “It’s somewhere you go to do more involved things,” French says. The Groups also show a list of connected devices through a sideways scrolling line. Additionally, the Alexa app lets you search and sort devices based on various parameters.

Alexa replaces the list view with a new Map View feature

The Devices screen in the Alexa app previously had a list view. But it’s now replaced with a Map View feature that gives a map of your devices on the home’s plan. A map icon now appears in the top right that provides access to the feature. It’s worth noting that Map View is available only to iOS users. It also requires iPhone 12 Pro or Max iPhone or newer or a fourth-gen iPad Pro variant. Echo Hub is the next device to get the Map View feature.

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