Amazon’s Alexa-enabled video screens, an Echo Show, can make video phone calls directly to other Echo Show devices. Call a single friend or talk to your family or tribe with group video calling.
Knowing how to set up video calling on an Amazon Echo Show before making a call is essential. Once you’ve followed the steps, group video calls are easy. We’ll show you how.
What Is An Amazon Echo Show?
The Echo Show comes in various sizes, but all the different versions have a camera and microphone for video calling. If you’re in the market, take a look at our primer to help you decide which Amazon Echo Show to buy.
To get started with group video calling, ensure your Echo Show has been set up, and you’ve downloaded and signed in to the Alexa app for iOS or Android. Before you can call anyone, you’ll need to set up your contacts. This will be done on the Alexa smartphone app and on the Echo Show.
Set Up Calling, Messaging, and Enhanced Features
Before making or accepting video or voice calls, you must enable communications.
Here’s how to turn on calling, messaging, and more in the Alexa app.
- Tap Devices at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap Echo & Alexa at the top of the screen.
- Choose your Echo Show from the list.
- Tap on the Settings gear icon in the upper right corner.
- Scroll down to the General section and choose Communications.
- Slide the Communications switch to enable it.
- Go down to Drop-in and switch it on to enable Drop-in.
Turn on Enhanced Features in the Alexa App:
- Tap More at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap Settings.
- In the Alexa Preferences section, tap Communications.
- Under Additional Settings, tap Enhanced Features.
- Slide the Enabled switch to the right.
It’s important to note that others in your video calling group must also enable Communications and Enhanced Features in their Alexa app as well
If you have already added your contacts to the Alexa app, and the people you want in the group are in your contacts, check that you have Drop-In enabled for those you want in your group. You can skip ahead to the section on how to create a calling group.
To Import All Contacts From Your Phone or Device
In the Alexa app, go to Settings> Communication> Manage Contacts> Import Contacts.
Slide the switch to enable Import Contacts. This will automatically import and upload all your contacts on your smartphone to the Amazon service.
To Import Single Contacts
If the person or people you want to call isn’t in your Amazon contact list — or you don’t want to upload your entire list — add them individually. This can be done in the Alexa app or on the Amazon Echo Show.
In the Alexa app:
- Tap the Communicate icon at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap the People (contact icon) in the top right corner.
- Select the three dots (menu) in the top right corner and choose Add Contact. Or, you can tap Add New below your name in the contact list. Tap Add Contact.
- Fill out the contact’s name, a nickname if you want, and a relationship if you want (that will allow you to say, “Call my mother,” or “Call my girlfriend.”)
- Fill out their mobile phone number.
- Tap Save.
- Find the contact name in your contact list and tap on it.
- Under the Permissions section, be sure that Allow Drop-In is enabled.
The contact will now be available for video calling, voice calling, or messaging.
On the Echo Show:
- Swipe down from the top to show the settings icons.
- Tap the Communicate icon.
- Tap Show Contacts.
- Tap your name in the Whose Contacts? screen.
- Tap Add New
- Fill out the form and tap Save.
If you add the contact on the Echo Show, you will still need to check that Drop-in is enabled for their contact card in your smartphone Alexa app.
Next, choose the people you want in your group, and create a group.
How to Create a Group for Echo Show Video Calling
To create a group, open the Alexa app.
Follow steps 1, 2, and 3 above to get to your contacts screen and bring up the Add New. This time choose Add Group.
Next, tap to put a checkmark in the box next to the names of the people you want to be on the group call. Tap Continue.
Give the group a name and tap Create Group.
How to Make a Group Video Call on an Echo Show
The easiest way to initiate a group video call on an Echo Show is to ask, “Alexa, call [group name]. ”
During the call, icons appear on Echo Show’s screen. It’s important to note that what it says on the screen is not your status. That is, if it says “Video On,” you need to tap the icon to turn the video on. It doesn’t mean your video is already turned on. Likewise, if there is a microphone icon, you are muted on the call and need to tap the microphone to un-mute.
Enhanced Features Only Available on Individual Calls
Similar to other chatting apps, other Enhanced Features for video calling include some fun stickers and effects can be added to a call, including effects like a fishtank, google eyes, flowers and butterflies and more.
Take note that these enhanced features, as well as real-time, live call captioning, are only available for one-on-one calls and cannot be used with group calls at this time.
Tips for Better Video Calls on an Echo Show
Now that you know how to make video calls, be sure it’s a great experience. Don’t stand in front of a window or lamp, or you will be backlit and in the shadows. Instead, try to have light fall across your face, but voice direct bright sunlight that can overexpose you.
Also, ensure all participants have reliable internet that is not too slow so that the video doesn’t lag.
Fast Calling to Your Tribe Using an Echo Show
Setting up a group might require a few steps, but once you do, calling your whole family is as easy as saying, “Alexa, call my family group.” Everyone will appear on screen for each other, making it easy to catch up on news, see far-away family, or coordinate plans for your next family event.
Then when you’re done with the call, simply say, “Alexa, hang up.”
Enjoy the simplicity of talking with friends and family.