Skip to main content

These are the 10 best new Alexa features to try in 2019

More and more people are integrating Alexa into their daily lives. We use the assistant to perform tasks ranging from setting our morning alarm to turning off our lights before bed. Amazon’s voice assistant comes out with new features pretty regularly, and the assistant has gone from a voice service that can perform a few tricks to a truly useful smart assistant. Newer features like whisper mode made it so we don’t have to wake up those around us to talk to Alexa, Alexa Blueprints made it possible for us to create our own custom skills, and the ability to create routines made it possible for us to control multiple smart devices with a single command.

In 2019, you can do even more with Alexa than ever before. We’ve created a guide on the best new Alexa features. Here are some new things to try with Alexa in 2019.

Enhance your entertainment

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Using a music service other than Amazon Music hasn’t always come easy with Alexa. But, you can now listen to your Apple Music playlist with Alexa if you link your account through the Alexa app. Of course, you can also use other services (like Spotify, Pandora, Vevo, and more), but the addition of Apple Music was truly exciting news for a lot of customers.

If you’re looking for something to watch, you can have Alexa help you find a movie or show by asking her questions like “Alexa, what movies are on TV tonight?” or “Alexa, what crime shows are playing right now?”

Stay up to date on the news and sports

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Many Alexa users take advantage of flash briefings to get tidbits of news from their favorite media outlets. Alexa can now provide longer, better flash briefings. So, if you want to catch up on the world of sports, you can simply say “Alexa, play news from ESPN,” and you’ll get long-form sports news. You can also ask Alexa to “play news from CNN,” and you’ll get a lengthy summary of what’s happening in the news.

Find out video game release dates and reviews

Image used with permission by copyright holder

“Alexa, when is the next Halo game coming out?” Alexa can tell you when video games are releasing, and she can even provide reviews. Ask Alexa “How good is Red Dead Redemption 2?” and she’ll let you know rankings and reviews. If you add the Xbox skill, you can pair your controller, find our the latest games in Xbox Game Pass, and stay up to date on what your friends are playing.

Upgrade your routines

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Routines have made it a lot easier to control your smart home without a hub. You can have all of the connected lights in your home turn off when you say, “Alexa, we are going to bed,” or you can turn on the coffee maker and the lights when you say, “Alexa, start my day.” Alexa will now recommend routines when you connect a smart device, which makes setting up routines even easier.

You can also set up kid-friendly routines on your free-time enabled Echo speakers. A goodnight routine can play a voice message and turn off the lights, for instance. You can set up a wait time between actions when creating routines now too. So, you can say “Alexa, good morning,” and have the assistant turn on the lights, wait 15 minutes, then start the coffee maker. Plus, since you can make announcements with routines, you can set up a dinner bell and announce dinnertime through all your Echo devices.

Take advantage of better phone and calling features

iPhone 6s
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The “call my phone” feature is incredibly helpful for those who lose their phone regularly. If you say, “Alexa, call my phone,” and Alexa will call your phone anytime you can’t locate your device. There are other “find my phone” skills for Alexa, but the “call my phone” feature is more reliable and easier to use.

In addition to finding your phone, you probably already know that Alexa can also make calls for you. However, Alexa can now look up local business listings and call those businesses, too.

Get more organized

Image used with permission by copyright holder

You can now connect Alexa to your email account and have the assistant help manage your email and calendar. You can have Alexa read your emails and even reply. Don’t want others in your home checking your email? You can set up a four-digit code that you have to recite each time you use the email feature. Since you can connect Alexa to your email account calendar, you can also have Alexa check your calendar and add events.

Alexa has also improved its reminders. You can set location-based reminders and have Alexa send them to your phone. You can say things like “Alexa, remind me to take out the roast when I get home,” or “Alexa, remind me to talk to my boss when I get to work.”

Get more privacy

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Privacy has been an ongoing concern for Alexa users. But, Amazon is rolling out new features to make your Alexa-enabled devices more secure. You can say, “Alexa, delete everything I said today,” and erase all of your Alexa queries for the day. You can also say “Alexa, delete what I just said,” if you want to erase specific questions or commands.

Enable Alexa Guard

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Alexa Guard is a newer feature that can help enhance your home security. When enabled, Alexa can send you a notification if she hears a sound like breaking glass or a fire alarm. While it’s not a substitute for a home security system, it can provide some extra peace of mind.

Get health tips

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Over the past few years, Alexa has gotten better and better at answering questions. Those “hmm, I don’t know that,” responses are becoming few and far between, and the assistant is answering quicker and providing better information.

You can now ask Alexa questions like, “What are the symptoms of the flu?” and she’ll provide you info from Mayo Clinic, the National Institutes of Health, or the Centers for Disease Control.

Check prices

Image used with permission by copyright holder

When Alexa first hit the scene, there were reports of people accidentally purchasing all sorts of items. But, when you want to make a purchase with Alexa, you can now have her check the price of just about anything. Just say “Alexa, how much is dish detergent?” and the assistant will provide you with the price and details for top result or Amazon’s choice item.

Editors' Recommendations

Erika Rawes
Smart Home Evergreen Coordinator
Erika became a professional writer in 2010, and her work is published all over the web on sites ranging from USA Today to…
Best Amazon Alexa accessories: lights, plugs, thermostats, cameras, and more
Amazon Echo 4th Gen smart speaker on a table.

When it comes to smart home ecosystems, Amazon Alexa is at the top of the class. Not only can you create incredible routines and automate hundreds of tasks, but the number of Alexa-compatible gadgets seems to grow larger by the day. Better yet, Amazon is committed to making many of its hubs (including just about everything in the Echo lineup) work seamlessly with the Matter standard -- which should only make things more exciting throughout 2023.

In this guide, we review some of the best interactive Alexa hardware in the way of speakers, displays, lights, wall plugs, thermostats, smart locks, cameras, and appliances. You can make your life easier with an Alexa-powered home, and we’ll show you where to begin.
The best Alexa smart speakers and displays

Read more
The best smart thermostats for Alexa
Nest Smart Thermostat on wall.

Smart thermostats are helpful in reducing your home's energy use, and keeping things comfortable all the time. By factoring in local whether, presence of inhabitants, and electrical rates, you'll barely need to touch the thermostat once it's set up. On the occasion you do need to make some tweaks, hands-free assistants are often tied in. For those with a few Echo devices in the house, you'll want a smart thermostat that plays nice with Alexa. Let's dig into the best smart thermostats that work with Alexa.
Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

Ecobee remains one of our top picks for smart thermostats across the board. What makes Ecobee particularly Alexa-friendly is a model which has a built-in speaker and microphone. This feature allows users to talk directly to the thermostat as if it were just another Echo device. Ecobee makes a particularly strong name for itself thanks to remote sensors for multiple rooms. This helps your smart thermostat develop a more robust model for your home's climate. The sensors also expand presence awareness, so important rooms stay at a comfortable temperature, while power isn't wasted on rooms with less traffic.
Nest Learning Thermostat

Read more
What to know before you enable Alexa Guard
Echo 4th Gen

While Amazon Alexa is best known for its ability to give you updates on the news or dish out commands to the rest of your smart home, Alexa also works as a basic security system. This is known as Alexa Guard, and it's a great feature that comes bundled free with most Alexa devices.

When enabled, Alexa Guard provides tons of cool features, such as the ability to automatically turn your lights on and off while you're away from home or alert you when a smoke detector is going off. But how exactly does Alexa Guard work? And how do you enable it on your Alexa devices? Here’s a closer look at everything you need to know.
What is Alexa Guard, and what can it do?

Read more