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Here's how to change Alexa's name and voice

You don't need to stick with Alexa's stock sound!
By
January 24, 2023

Amazon Alexa is meant to be a personal voice assistant and smart home platform. Alexa’s default identity can occasionally cause problems however, especially if you have a family member with the same name, or even casually mention the assistant in conversation. You might also tire of the same voice day in and day out. If so, here’s how to change Alexa’s name and voice.

QUICK ANSWER

Using the Alexa app on your Android or iOS device, go to the Devices tab, then Echo & Alexa. Choose the speaker you want to change. Tap the Settings gear icon. Tap on Wake Word to pick one of Alexa's alternate names, Language to pick an alternate language or dialect, or Alexa's Voice (where available) to switch between male and female, or sometimes different accents.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to change Alexa’s name

Changing Alexa’s name is simple, but at the moment, you only have a few Amazon-sanctioned alternatives: Computer, Echo, Amazon, or sometimes Ziggy. Ziggy is probably the least likely to cause accidental triggers, although Computer is no doubt tempting for Star Trek fans. 

Here are the steps to switch names:

  • Open the Alexa app on your Android or iOS device.
  • Select the Devices tab.
  • Go to Echo & Alexa.
  • Choose the device you want to change the name of.
  • Tap on the Settings gear icon.
  • Tap on Wake Word.
  • Select your new name.

Remember that you can only change names on a speaker-by-speaker basis. This can be time-consuming if you have several devices and want to make changes across the board, but you can also exploit the arrangement to trigger specific speakers, or let family members use names they prefer.


How to change Alexa’s voice

If you’re tired of the same voice answering commands, it’s time to give Alexa a new one. You can tap into several different languages and regional dialects. Depending on your country, you may also be able swap a voice from female to male, or choose alternate accents.

Here are the steps for switching built-in voice options:

  • Open the Alexa app and select the Devices tab.
  • Go to Echo & Alexa.
  • Choose the device you want to change the name of.
  • Tap on the Settings gear icon.
  • Tap Language.
  • Choose your new language or languages (Alexa can sometimes be bilingual!). This includes different dialects and accents. Changing to “English (United Kingdom),” for example, will give Alexa a British accent.
  • Hit Sync if you want changes applied across several or all Alexa devices.
  • To flip between male and female voices, or in some cases accents, go back to the gear icon menu, and tap on Alexa’s Voice. Unfortunately, you’ll have to control this on a per-device basis. Adjust the Speaking rate slider if you find Alexa is talking too slowly or quickly.

Note that only some languages are fully supported in each region, so features may be lost if you go outside those boundaries.


How to add a celebrity voice for Alexa

Melissa McCarthy for Alexa

Want to have some fun? Celebrity voices are occasionally available for Alexa, although you’re pretty limited in terms of options. The voice du jour is actor Melissa McCarthy, best known for movies like Bridesmaids and her many TV roles. Her voice is only available in the US, and costs $4.99 to enable. Be aware that her voice won’t work with shopping, lists, reminders, or skills.

Free third-party voices out there include the likes of Gordon Ramsay and R2-D2. As with McCarthy, you can enable them as skills, but these others are even more limited — they’re meant as self-contained entertainment. Still, it’s a way of eking a little more personality out of your smart home tech.

Read more: How to use Amazon Alexa


Frequently asked questions

It’s probably a function of how Alexa works. Amazon servers need to match your speech against a linguistic database, and there might be too much potential for confusion if Alexa was trying to detect all possible languages at once. English alone is a hodge-podge of languages such as French and German.

Analyzing for all languages would also be computationally demanding, and Alexa features are sometimes regionally restricted anyway (see below).

Honestly, this doesn’t make sense to us in many cases, but presumably it’s because Amazon tailors features to each region and has to build out linguistic databases accordingly. Globalization may require resources Amazon would rather spend elsewhere.

Cost. To cover all features, Amazon would need to record more extensive voice samples and keep them updated, which would become prohibitively expensive with famous talent.