Welcome to T3's guide to Alexa easter eggs, tips and tricks. Amazon Alexa is a brilliant AI assistant, but we do wonder quite how many people have an Echo speaker in their homes without knowing how to get the best from Alexa.
It's not just a way to get your tunes playing or set timers, y'know. The best smart speakers with Alexa – including the Amazon Echo, Dot, Input, Flex, Studio, Show, Spot, Auto (deep breath) or third-party Alexa devices have a whole lot of tricks up their sleeves.
If you're looking to grab a new Alexa speaker, be sure to check our best Amazon Echo deals guide, which is always updated with the latest prices. We've also got review of the latest Alexa speakers, including our Echo Studio review, our Echo Show 5 review, and our Echo Dot with Clock review.
- Got Echo problems? Try our Alexa troubleshooting guide
- The best Alexa Skills to expand what your Echo can do
- Google Assistant vs Alexa: Which is right for you?
It's time to learn more about Alexa. Even if you don't have a smart speaker, you can try this stuff out with your phone: just speak into the Alexa app to try out these cool features and hidden functions.
Funny Alexa easter eggs
We're not here to tell you what's funny. You might find the response to "Alexa, up up down down left right left right B A start" amusing; it got more of an 'oh, heh' from us. But there's a curious collection of little Alexa easter eggs programmed into the system.
There is a long, long list of canned responses to a host of different phrases built into Alexa, which varies slightly depending on your region. We've listed a few highlights listed below; we'll spare you the entire list, but asking "Alexa, tell me an Easter Egg" will, while not revealing the actual phrasing, offer up a clue as to a new one you can try – if anything, that's a little more fun than a straight list of possible questions.
Anyway, feel free to try the following; there are loads more to find besides.
- Alexa, how are babies made?
- Alexa, can you pass the Turing test?
- Alexa, are you Sky Net?
- Alexa, I'll be back.
- Alexa, beam me up.
- Alexa, do you know HAL?
- Alexa, what's the first rule of Fight Club?
- Alexa, what's the second rule of Fight Club?
- Alexa, why did the chicken cross the road?
- Alexa, what is your Hogwarts house?
- Alexa, I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
- Alexa, what's your favourite video game?
- Alexa, sudo make me a sandwich.
- Alexa, I am your father.
- Alexa, who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
- Alexa, high five.
- Alexa, is your refrigerator running?
- Alexa, who shot first?
- Alexa, tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
- Alexa, who you gonna call?
- Alexa, who’s your celebrity crush?
- Alexa, do you want to build a snowman?
- Alexa, what are the laws of robotics?
- Alexa, winter is coming.
- Alexa, how do I get rid of a dead body?
- Alexa, talk like a pirate.
- Alexa, you talkin' to me?
- Alexa, set phasers to kill.
- Alexa, which came first, the chicken or the egg?
- Alexa, what's the answer to life, the universe and everything?
Customise your Flash Briefing
Alexa's Flash Briefing will bring you an on-demand slice of the day's news and sport, perfect for listening over your morning cuppa or just catching up without spending an hour watching the news. Start it up with "Alexa, play my flash briefing", but be warned: if Alexa doesn't know much about you, it'll likely play you some rather irrelevant news.
You can create your own custom Alexa Flash Briefing in the Alexa app. Head to Settings > Flash Briefing, select 'Get More Flash Briefing content', and select the sources you'd like it to draw from, be it The Guardian, BBC World Service, a daily joke, or anything else besides.
Toggle on and off the sources you want to hear from. Some update more frequently than others; you can expect the larger news sources to be more up to date, so if you're played a briefing you've heard before a simple "Alexa, next" will skip over it.
If the leagues are running, Alexa can also deliver sporting news with "Alexa, what's my sports update". Again, this starts off pretty irrelevant (unless you're a die-hard fan of the Yankees, Knicks, Lakers, Patriots and Seahawks all at once) but you can use Settings > Sports to clue Alexa in to your favourite teams.
Alexa features for kids
Got kids? You don't need a brightly-coloured Echo Dot Kids Edition to entertain them. Any Alexa device can keep them interested for literally minutes: you're probably already aware that Amazon's AI can tell you a rubbish joke or two (you can specify a knock-knock joke, if you're so inclined, or try feed lines like "Alexa, why was six afraid of seven?") but it's also able to let out some truly foul audible emissions if you ask it to fart. There's a surprisingly long and disgusting list of different trump types to choose from, and burps too if that's more your thing.
Alexa is also adept at distracting younger members of the household, be it through a robotic rendition of a popular tune ("Alexa, sing Baby Shark") or a little soothing sound ("Alexa, white noise" or "Alexa, rain sounds").
Alexa can also sing with "Alexa, sing auto tune", "Alexa, daisy daisy", or "Alexa, sing me a song". It can chuck out some robotic beats ("Alexa, beat box for me") and has a (bad) rap prepared, too, if you ask for it.
Alexa is even able to pull off a few impressions ("Alexa, talk like Yoda" is a decent one) and it can also play rock, paper, scissors or its five-sided upgrade from The Big Bang Theory: rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.
Useful Alexa easter eggs
A few of Alexa's hidden features might even have some practical usefulness. "Alexa, pick a card" selects a card from a deck at random, perfect for practicing your magic tricks. You can also ask Alexa to roll a virtual die with as many sides as you wish (even usually impossible options such as three or five) or flip a coin.
If that's not specific enough, try asking for a random number between two values, or requesting a certain digit of Pi.
You can learn something ("Alexa, tell me something interesting") or basically ask any question pertaining to anything you might want to know. If Alexa doesn't have it to hand in the database, it'll go off and find it online – this is obviously more hit and miss than things it's programmed with definitive knowledge of, but often works well.
There are other things it can do that fall more under the category of 'features' rather than easter eggs: Alexa can set reminders and alarms for you, it can keep a handy shopping list, and even directly purchase from Amazon, a feature you're best switching off and leaving off.
Essential Alexa functions
An Echo device is more than a conduit to Alexa. Every Amazon speaker bar the Echo Dot can have Bluetooth audio piped into it, for example, and all Echo devices can act as an in-home intercom using the drop-in, calling and announcement features.
Note that this doesn't apply to non-Amazon speakers; third party kit which supports Alexa does not yet have access to the more advanced features of Amazon's AI. There's talk that these second-class speakers may get drop-in support (and all the rest) at some point in the future, but such rumours have been rife for years now so don't hold your breath. Third-party speakers are often a little hamstrung when it comes to Alexa-powered multi-room audio, too.
All Alexa-supporting speakers can use Routines, which help tie functions of supported technology such as like lights, thermostats and smart sockets to your own custom voice commands. You'll find the relevant controls in the Routines section of the app menu.