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How to enable and disable Alexa Skills

Echo Dot 4th Gen 1
Echo Dot 4th Gen 1 (Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Alexa is the beating heart of the Amazon Echo and the platform where its app-like abilities — called Skills — live. Alexa Skills are what allows your Echo device to do all kinds of things such as turn on your lights, control your Wi-Fi, and tell you what's happening in the world today. But for most Skills, you need to enable them before they work. We'll show you how to enable new Alexa Skills and disable ones that you no longer wish to have connected to or associated with your Alexa account.

Products used in this guide

How to enable a new Alexa Skill in app

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Often, the Alexa app will showcase skills on the main page, from which you can immediately enable new Skills or jump to the search page.
  3. Tap on Skills & Games from the sidebar menu.Source: Android Central

  1. Tap the magnifying glass to search for a new Skill, or scroll through the options in the Discover and Categories tabs.
  2. Note that some third-party Skills will require you to log in and authenticate before proceeding.
  3. Select which Echo device you want to launch the Skill on, or dismiss the prompt and ask Alexa to open the Skill later from one of your speakers or the app.Source: 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?!

How to enable a new Alexa Skill on the web

  1. Visit the Alexa Skills (opens in new tab) page on your web browser of choice.

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)
  1. Find a Skill you are interested and click on it.
  2. Click on Enable to Use.

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: 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.

You may decide that you don't like or no longer use an Alexa Skill, and if that's the case, it's easy to disable it and remove it from the Amazon Alexa app or the web. It is a good idea, in general, to audit your Alexa Skills every so often and just get rid of the ones you're not using.

How to disable an Alexa Skill in the 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. Often, the Alexa app will showcase skills on the main page, from which you can immediately enable new Skills or jump to the search page.
  3. Tap on Skills & Games from the sidebar menu.Source: Android Central

  1. Tap on the Your Skills tab.
  2. Scroll through and tap on the Skill you wish to diable.
  3. Tap on the Settings button.Source: Android Central

  1. Tap on Disable Skill.
  2. Tap Disable.Source: Android Central

How to disable an Alexa Skill on the web

  1. Visit the Alexa Skills (opens in new tab) page in your web browser of choice.

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)
  1. Click on the Your Skills tab in the lower toolbar.

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)
  1. Find the Skill you want to Disable.
  2. Click on Disable Skill.

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: 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 the best Alexa speakers and smart displays, but they can also work with a wide variety of peripherals, such as Alexa Skills for Ring cameras, Philips Hue lights, and more.

At $80, the Amazon Echo (4th Gen) is a solid option for families looking to ease into the smart speaker space. It's got a bigger sound than the compact Echo Dot (4th Gen) while being less expensive and showy than the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) and Echo Studio.

Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.