If you’re allowed to tether Wi-Fi devices to your phone and share its mobile data connection then you can set up any Amazon Echo by connecting it to your phone’s Wi-Fi hotspot.
Obviously you will need mains power for most Echos, but some - notably Echo Dot 1 & 2 models - can run from a USB power bank, which means it can be truly mobile.
Although we’ll explain how to get your Echo to connect to your phone’s Wi-Fi, you can use the instructions below to connect an Echo to any Wi-Fi network which is either open or has a password. Note that you cannot connect an Echo speaker to any Wi-Fi that requires you to enter an email address or click a button on a web page to connect. This is the type of login method used on a lot of open public Wi-Fi, including in hotels, public transport, airports and other places.
How to change Wi-Fi on an Echo with a screen
If you have an Echo with a screen, then the process of picking a new Wi-Fi network is much easier, and it might even be possible to connect to the kind of Wi-Fi that requires you to tap a ‘Connect’ button on a web page. Echo Show or Spot owners can simply swipe down from the top of the screen, tap Settings and then Wi-Fi. Now browse the list of available networks, tap on the one you want to connect to and enter the password. That’s it.
For those with a speaker, read on but remember that you can use Alexa in the Alexa app on your phone, so you may not need an Echo device at all. And if you simply want to use your Echo as a Bluetooth speaker in your hotel room, you can do this as long as you’ve paired your phone with the Echo previously (when it had a working Wi-Fi connection. Simply turn it on, then go to the Bluetooth settings on your phone and tap the Echo when it appears in the list of Bluetooth devices. It should connect and be ready to play music from your phone even without a Wi-Fi connection.
Can I tether Alexa to my phone?
Yes you can. In the past, you’d have needed two phones to achieve this because your phone can’t run a Wi-Fi hotspot at the same time as being connected to the Echo’s hotspot, as it has to be to change Wi-Fi networks.
Fortunately Amazon realised that customers wanted to do this and added a feature which allows an Echo to connect to a mobile hotspot. Here’s how it works.
First, turn on your Echo. Wait for it to power up and then press and hold the action button (the one with a dot on it) until it goes into setup mode. This is indicated by a revolving (or pulsing) orange light. Alexa should also announce “Now in setup mode. Please follow the instructions in your Alexa app”.
Open the Alexa app on your phone, it might detect an Echo in setup mode and you can tap Continue.
If not, tap the three horizontal lines at the top left to bring up the menu and tap Add Device. (Don’t worry if your Echo is already set up… this is just a way to force the app to find the Echo and connect to its Wi-Fi hotspot.)
Tap on Amazon Echo and then choose your model from the list. We are setting up a second-gen Echo, but the process is the same for all.
You should see a prompt asking if you can see the orange light. Tap Yes and the app will try to connect to the Echo. If it fails, go to your phone’s Wi-Fi settings and tap the Amazon-XXX network and tap Connect. Some Android phones may ask if you really want to connect since there is no internet connection. Be sure to approve this request.
Once connected it will show a list of the available Wi-Fi networks. At the bottom is the option to ‘Use this device as a Wi-Fi hotspot’. Tap this and you’ll be asked to get the network name and password for your phone’s hotspot.
Next, type these in exactly as they appear: they are case sensitive. (Ignore the wrongly-typed details in the screenshot below. This is how we know that they're case-sensitive!)
The next screen will ask you to turn on the Wi-Fi hotspot on your phone and the Echo will attempt to connect to it. When you hear a tone and the orange light has gone out it has successfully connected to your phone and you can use Alexa as usual.
In the app, tap Continue and you can then skip the screen which asks which room your Echo is in, since this isn’t relevant.
The final screen might ask for location, since weather forecasts and other skills require this for accurate reporting. You can enter a new address at this point if you’re not at home and want Alexa to be able to give you local weather information.