Like to go to sleep listening to your iPhone’s Music app and curious how to get it to “sleep” after a set period of time? One of the most annoying things is waking up a few hours later and it is still playing. Especially true if you are listening to an Audio Book and have to scrub back through hours of audio to find where you stopped listening.
Well there is a better way! You can set your iPod to stop playing after a set amount of time. It is really easy to do and we will show you how.
- Open up your Clock app on the home screen
- Select the Timer
- Set the amount of time you want the Music app to play for
- Click on the When Timer Ends button
- Scroll down to Sleep iPod
- Click on Set
- Start the Timer
- Fire up the Music app, lie back, relax and enjoy
- After the timer runs down, the Music app will stop
That is all there is to it, a simple but brilliant tip that I have just discovered myself!
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Whether you just bought your Amazon Echo device or you’ve had it for years, you’ll want to update these six settings. Trust us.
Katie is a Writer at CNET, covering all things how-to. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
You probably think you know all there is to know about your trusty Amazon smart home devices: the Amazon Echo Dot, the Echo Dot with Clock, the compact Echo Flex, the chunky Echo Studio and smart displays such as the Echo Show 10, Show 8, Show 5 and most recently, the Show 15. Sure, you probably know some of the basics like how to use your Echo to call someone , how to connect Alexa to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and more , and even how Alexa can help you in the kitchen . But have you really considered all the settings Alexa offers?
Whether you’ve unboxed your new Amazon Echo devices for the first time recently or you’ve had them for years, there are a slew of customizations to make Alexa behave exactly how you like. And these few small changes could make a big difference.
For example, you’ll be glad you made updates to your privacy settings, including automatically deleting recordings and turning off the setting that lets Amazon employees listen to the same recordings. Read on for the six Amazon Echo settings I’ve found to be most useful.
1. Update your Amazon Echo privacy settings
One of the first concerns with owning an Echo speaker is privacy. Fortunately, Amazon is unwrapping more privacy settings going forward , including updates to both Ring and Echo products that make incremental advances on user privacy.
Your Echo can automatically delete your recordings. To turn that setting on in the Alexa app More menu and go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data > and toggle the Automatically delete recordings switch on.
You can delete your entire voice recordings history, too. To do this, open the Alexa app and go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Review Voice History. Next, tap the downward-facing arrow next to Displaying and then the arrow next to Filter By Date. Then you will tap All History > Delete All My Recordings.
And you can also keep Amazon employees out of your conversations and from listening to your voice recordings. In the Alexa app, go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data. From here, select Choose How Long to Save Recordings > Don’t Save Recordings > Confirm. Next, scroll down to Help Improve Alexa, and switch the Use of Voice Recordings to off.
For more safety tips on any of your smart home devices read our privacy guide on how to keep Amazon, Google and Apple out of your conversations .
2. Enable Brief Mode on your Amazon Echo
When you ask Alexa to do something, like play a song or turn on the lights, Alexa will say something like “OK, turning on the lights.” This is to help you determine why Alexa did something if it didn’t perform what you asked. However, if you don’t want Alexa repeating what you just said, you can change that setting so that it only plays a short sound instead of a voice response.
To do so, open the Alexa app More menu and select Settings. Under the Alexa Preferences section, tap Voice Responses, then toggle the switch on for Brief Mode.
Turn on Brief Mode so your Echo will play a short sound instead of a voice response.
3. Set up your preferred music streaming service
When you set up your Amazon Echo, the music service automatically defaults to Amazon Music. However, if you’re a Spotify, Apple Music or another music service subscriber, you may want to link your Echo to that streaming service instead.
Go to Settings > Music & Podcasts > and link to a service. On the same page, tap Default Services and switch to your preferred music provider. Now the Echo will play from the music streaming service of your choice when you say “Alexa, play music.”
4. Change the wake word from Alexa
If TV commercials keep triggering your Amazon Echo when they say “Alexa,” you can change the wake word to something that’s less likely to wake the speaker. The other traditional options to call the voice assistant are Computer, Echo and Amazon, but there are several newer wake word additions you can use like Ziggy and Hey, Disney .
If you want to change the name, just say “Alexa, change the wake word” and make your selection. You can also open the Alexa app, go to Settings > Device Settings > select your device > tap Wake Word and make a choice. Unfortunately, you can’t come up with your own name for the speaker, like Tallulah or Digital Overlord.
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5. Enable voice purchasing on your Amazon Echo
You don’t always have time to perform an Amazon search and buy something you’re out of, like toilet paper. That’s why it can be helpful to set up voice purchasing on your Amazon Echo so Alexa can order products for you.
To get started, you’ll need to turn on voice ordering and 1-Click ordering. Open the Alexa app and navigate to Settings > Account Settings > Voice Purchasing and toggle Voice Purchasing on. Next, on the same screen, you should set up a voice code or profile so that only you can make purchases. Where it says Purchase Confirmation, tap Enable and select either Voice Profile (only your voice will activate purchasing) or Voice Code (a four-digit code).
6. Set up household profiles on your Amazon Echo
If you have multiple people in your house, you’ll want to set up voice profiles for each member who uses the Echo speaker. This will help Alexa learn your voice and distinguish you from others in the house. To create voice profiles, go to Settings > Account Settings > Recognized Voices > Create a voice profile and follow the onscreen prompts to set it up.
You can make sure your voice profile has been correctly set up by asking “Alexa, who am I?” The voice assistant will say “I’m talking to [your name].”
If you have your favorite customizations and settings, share them in the comments. Now that you’ve updated these six Echo settings, here are five creative uses for your Amazon Echo device , five essential tips for your new Echo device and CNET’s roundup of every Alexa command you can give right now .
Excerpt from my pandemic diary, day 132: “The kids asked Alexa to play ‘Roar’ 53 times today. I can feel my sanity slipping. I fear what I may do if I cannot make the Katy Perry stop.”
If this situation sounds all too familiar to you—or if you’re just sick of asking Alexa to skip a particularly annoying song on your favorite playlist—you’re in luck: There are a few different methods you can employ to keep your Amazon smart speaker from playing a song—or even an artist—you hate ever again, including voice commands and Alexa’s “Routines” functionality.
To block a song using voice commands
Before we jump in, a caveat: while you can ask Alexa to refrain from playing a song you don’t want to hear, this functionality as described below only works with Amazon Music, which is Alexa’s preferred music service by default (obviously). If you prefer Spotify, YouTube Music or another service, you’ll have to explore their own service-specific song-skipping settings.
If you do use Amazon Music, and you’re trying to block a song from playing when it comes up on a playlist you’re listening to (or a broad selection of similar playlists), you can do so simply by telling Alexa you don’t want to hear that song again. When the song comes on, simply say something like “Alexa, never play this song” or “Alexa, I don’t like this song.” Alexa will register your distaste and should, in theory, skip over it next time it encounters it on a playlist.
This is an imperfect solution, however: You may find you have to voice your displeasure a few times if the song is on multiple playlists you listen to and said playlists are different enough that Alexa doesn’t classify them as similar. Also, it doesn’t seem to work consistently if you’ve asked Alexa to play songs by a particular artist; Alexa will seem to comply with your request, but in my experience the song might still come up next time your kid yells “ALEXA PLAY PERRY GRIPP!” at the smart speaker (to use a totally random example). If you want a more surefire way to block a song, try.
To block a song using routines
If you’ve never before explored Alexa’s rather robust “Routines” functionality, you should check it out . You can use it to pre-program a whole host of actions you want Alexa to perform—including preventing it from taking song requests you’d rather she reject. If you want to stop Alexa from playing a particular song (or even a particular artist) you can create a routine that will trigger a different action when someone asks to hear a song on your “no no” list. You can even use the same basic steps to perma-ban all songs by a particular artist; it’s all about managing your Routines.
While the new ability to synchronize music playback across multiple Echo devices is getting most of the attention today, Alexa has also gained another very powerful new feature that is going mostly unnoticed. You can now remotely control music playback on Echo devices using any Alexa device. Without having to do any kind of setup, you can ask Alexa on any device to start, stop, or change the music being played on specific Amazon Echos, Echo Dots, and Echo Shows that you own.
By simply adding “…on [ECHO NAME]” to the end of any music request made through an Alexa-enabled device, you can remotely control music playback on a specific Echo device. The name used is the name you’ve configured for the Echo device through the Alexa app. So if you have an Echo in your kitchen called “Kitchen Echo,” for example, you can say “Alexa, play rock music on Kitchen Echo” to any Alexa-enabled device and music will begin playing in the kitchen.
The Alexa device you speak to does not need to be one of Amazon’s Echo speakers. It can be any Alexa-enabled device, including the Amazon Fire TV voice remote, Dash Wand, and Amazon Shopping app on a mobile phone. While the device you make the request through does not need to be an Echo device, the one where music will be playing does, so you cannot ask to remotely control music playing on the Fire TV or Fire TV Stick.
In addition to starting music, you can also control its playback. Issuing a command like “Alexa, stop music on Kitchen Echo” is supported. You can also ask to skip tracks remotely or repeat a song.
The feature also works with other music services and is not limited to Amazon Music. Commands like “Alexa, play my pop station from Pandora on Kitchen Echo” is supported. You can even remotely thumbs up/down tracks by saying “Alexa, thumbs up on Kitchen Echo.”
This features actually does work with the Amazon Tap as well, so you can use any Alexa device to remotely begin playing music on a Tap.
Amazon today is launching a new feature called “Song ID” that aims to help users discover music they like by using Alexa. When enabled, Alexa will announce the title and the artist name before playing each song while you’re listening to a radio station, playlist or new release on Amazon Music over your smart speaker.
The optional feature for Echo devices can be enabled or disabled by voice at any time by asking Alexa to “turn on Song ID” or “turn off Song ID.”
When listening to music through mobile or desktop apps, it’s easy to give a quick glance at your streaming app to note an artist’s name or song’s title. But when you’re streaming music over a smart speaker, your device may be put away and not as easily accessible. And unlike on terrestrial radio, there’s no DJ to announce what’s coming up next as the music streams over an Amazon Echo.
The new feature aims to make Alexa that DJ, albeit one with less personality in this case — the assistant today only announces the title and name, but doesn’t interject any other information or commentary about the music. (That could be an interesting expansion of Song ID in the future, however, if Amazon chose to go that route. It could serve as an Alexa-based counterpart to Spotify’s Genius-powered “Behind the Lyrics” feature, which gives you the inside scoop on songs.)
Amazon says it was inspired to build the feature based on users’ requests to Alexa about music.
Every day, customers were asking the assistant “hundreds of thousands” of questions about the music that was playing, like “Alexa, what song is this?,” “Alexa, who sings this song?” and more.
The company also notes that Song ID could be useful when you’re checking out music from up-and-comers whose names and song titles you may not know — like Amazon Music’s own 2019 Artists to Watch playlist or its Weekly One program featuring developing artists.