Yes, you can listen in on Alexa from your phone.
In addition to that, you can even send commands to Alexa through your phone, even if you are away from your house.
Doing this is simple, as Alexa has an app that you can use on Android and iOS devices.
Just open the app, select “Conversations,” and then talk.
You can tap the “Drop-in” option and then choose which among your Alexa speakers you want to listen in to.
How Does Alexa work?
Let us take some time to understand how the entire ecosystem of Alexa works.
This way, we have a better idea of how to use it and also understand what it can do.
Alexa is AI. The device that you have is Amazon Echo.
The Amazon Echo is a speaker and a microphone.
The brain or artificial intelligence is Alexa.
Here are some of the things that Alexa can do:
- Play songs
- Read a book on kindle
- Find restaurants
- Turn appliances on and off
- Read news and weather updates
- Read emails
- Track your Amazon packages
How does Alexa do all these? Alexa, being a form of artificial intelligence, is a program.
There are software engineers that work hard every day to add new features and then maintain the system.
Then, there are device manufacturers that create their products to be compatible with Alexa.
On top of that, Alexa uses machine-learning technology.
Yes, it can learn on its own, but still with the guidance of software engineers.
Alexa is not in your Amazon Echo but in the cloud.
So, in essence, Alexa was programmed to be able to listen to voice commands and understand them.
Once Alexa understands what you want to do, it will execute the task that you asked it to.
Again, Alexa does not reside in your phone or Echo.
Alexa is a complex system that lives in the Amazon warehouses of its servers.
The app you have on your phone, or your Echo device, are merely speakers and microphones—their function is to listen, carry out the order to the AI, and then execute actions.
How do I know if Alexa is listening to me?
By default, Alexa is listening to you. However, it does not record what you say.
The thing is that Alexa sends your voice command to the servers only if you use the wake word.
The entire Alexa system provides you with options on how you want to protect your data and privacy.
Below are some things you need to know.
- You need to wake up Alexa before it listens to you
- The microphone automatically disconnects its microphone
- You can also turn off the device manually even if you use the wake word
- You can access your history of requests you made and delete them; you can also ask Alexa to delete the recordings of your voice for you
- Alexa has many ways to protect its system from privacy issues and vulnerabilities
The reality, however, is that Alexa never stops listening to you if it is on after you say that wake word.
Alexa can hear everything you say.
Once you give it a command, it has to send that command to its servers.
You will know that Alexa is listening to you if the blue light is on. If it is off, then it must be asleep.
So, does this mean you have no privacy? No, not really.
Amazon, like other big technological companies, respects your privacy.
How can you tell if someone is listening on Alexa?
When somebody drops in, you will see that the Echo makes a green flash.
There is also a ringing noise. For as long as the green light is working, it means that someone is listening.
A drop-in means that a person who has access to your Alexa system, who is also away from your house, used the app to connect to the Echo device.
Since the person’s phone is now connected to the Echo device, the phone can relay what the Echo device can hear.
In essence, it is true that one can use Alexa as a spying device. But then, of course, it is unethical.
Now, if you are worried that someone may be listening to your conversations, pay attention closely to the Echo.
If there is a green flashing, then you must stop talking.
Better yet, you can turn off the Echo device.
There is a hard switch or power button that you can press to turn it off.
Once it is turned off, there is no way somebody can remotely turn it on.
Can I use Alexa as a baby monitor?
Yes, you can turn Alexa into a baby monitor, provided that you have a smart camera and an Echo in the baby’s room.
The thing is that sometimes, it is really better to just purchase a dedicated bay monitor system than making Alexa a baby monitor.
How do I turn my Alexa into a baby monitor?
To turn Alexa into a baby monitor, you must have an Amazon Echo or Dot in the baby’s room.
That speaker must be connected to your smart home ecosystem or your Alexa app.
The room must also provide internet service to the Echo.
Now, in your room, you can open the Alexa app to drop-in to the Echo in the baby’s room.
Once you have done this, you will hear all the sounds coming from your baby’s room and know if the baby is crying.
Alexa is a powerful system that uses a centralized brain—a brain that is in Amazon’s IT infrastructure.
For as long as there is WiFi, there is a way to communicate with the system.
Of course, with technology comes some danger.
As such, you must be careful when around an Amazon Alexa, as you will never know who is listening to you.
But then, it is alright if you are the person who set it up, and you are the only person with access.