Echo Dots through the yearsSource: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central

Alexa is the beating heart of the Amazon Echo and the platform upon which all of its abilities — called Skills — live. Skills are what let your Echo do all kinds of things like turn on your lights, control your WiFi and tell you what's happening in the world today, but for most Skills, you need to enable them before they will work.

Products used in this guide

How to enable a new Alexa Skill in app

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Swipe in from the left edge of the screen to open the menu.
  3. Select Skills & Games from the sidebar menu.

    Alexa skills enable 1Alexa Skills enable 2Alexa Skills enable 3Source: Clinton Bowman / Android Central

  4. Select your desired skill.
  5. Tap on Enable to Use.

    Alexa Skills enable 4Alexa Skills enable 5Alexa Skills Enable 6Source: Clinton Bowman / Android Central

Finding skills for Alexa is as easy as just searching for them. If you know specifically what you're trying to find type its name in the search box and it should come up in the results.

The Alexa app does a decent job of highlighting interesting skills you might want to try, too. When it comes to connecting your smart home devices you'll have specific requirements, but there's a lot out there that isn't related to home automation. For example, did you know you can play a version of Skyrim on your Amazon Echo?!

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How to turn off an Alexa Skill in app

If you enable a Skill but don't end up liking it, you can turn it off so it doesn't interfere with any other Skills on your Echo device.

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Swipe in from the left edge of the screen to open the menu.
  3. Select Skills & Games from the sidebar menu.
  4. Tap Your Skills.

    Alexa Skills enable 2Alexa Skills enable 3Alexa Skills enable 4Source: Clinton Bowman / Android Central

  5. Tap the Skill you wish to disable.
  6. Tap on Disable Skill to remove the Skill.
  7. Tap Disable and your Skill will be removed.

    Alexa Skill disable 5Alexa Skills disable 6Alexa Skills disable 7Source: Clinton Bowman / Android Central

How to enable a new Alexa Skill on web

  1. Visit the Alexa Skills page on your web browser of choice.

    Alexa skill web 1Source: Amazon

  2. Find a Skill you are interested and click on it.
  3. Click on Enable to Use.

    Alexa skills web 2Source: Amazon

Sometimes it can be easier to search for Skills when you have a bigger screen like your laptop, tablet, or desktop monitor, but otherwise the process is the same. Once you have a Skill enabled, it will work on your Echo devices just as if you searched for it in the app.

How to turn off an Alexa Skill on web

If you enable a Skill but don't end up liking it, you can turn it off directly from the web.

  1. Visit the Alexa Skills page in your web browser of choice.

    Alexa skill web 1Source: Amazon

  2. Click on the Your Skills tab in the lower toolbar.

    Alexa Skills web 3Source: Amazon

  3. Find the Skill you want to Disable.
  4. Click on Disable Skill.

    Alexa web skills 4Source: Amazon

That's it! Now you know how to manage your Alexa Skills whether you're on your smartphone or your computer.

Showcase your Alexa Skills

Skills work on all Amazon Echo and Alexa-enabled smart speakers and smart displays, but they can also work with a wide variety of peripherals, too, such as Alexa Skills for Ring cameras, Philips Hue lights, and more.

The Star

Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)

The brawn of this set up.

The Amazon Echo is the key to utilizing the Skills that you set up in the Amazon Alexa application. Beyond the Skills, it's capable of streaming music and managing your smart home.

At $100, the Amazon Echo is an solid option for families looking to ease into the smart speaker space. It's got a bigger sound than the compact Echo Dot while being less expensive and showy than the Echo Show and Echo Plus.

Alternative Options

The regular Echo isn't the only Alexa speaker to choose from anymore, and in fact Alexa isn't limited to speakers alone anymore! Here are some other options if you want to go deeper into the Alexa ecosystem.

Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) ($150 at Amazon)

The Echo Plus integrates a Zigbee smart device hub into the device, allowing for a single product solution for all your smart home devices.

Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen) ($230 at Amazon)

If you want an Echo with a screen, the Echo Show is the choice for you.

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