Forget Siri, put Alexa on your iPhone’s home screen

echo point with clock

You talk to Alexa on your Amazon Echo devices, and now your digital assistant is just a click away on your iPhone or iPad thanks to Amazon’s Alexa iOS widget.

Dale Smith / CNET

Yes, you can talk to Alexa on all files Echo devices And the your iPhone. Siri is fine (and Apple Added two updates to the virtual assistant at iOS 15.4), but if you’d rather talk With Amazon’s voice assistant, you can just add the iOS Alexa app widget to the home screen of your iPhone or iPad. Once it’s set up, one click shows which assistant you’d prefer to talk to.

It’s not a big secret – just about everything smart home device on the planet with Alexa — but for Siri and HomeKit, the and options More limited. Not to mention, Siri sometimes throttles and stops responding to basic requests (at least, it happens on my iPhone). You’ve completely given up on Siri, and you might as well have it.

On the other hand, Alexa is always available, punctual, and friendly. Even Amazon’s voice assistant has an extension Different name and voice option. If you love setting Alexa timers and reminders, turn on the lights and answer questions when you’re at home, and wait, you’ll start talking to Alexa on your iPhone when you’re out and about.

I’ll briefly explain how to set up and use the Alexa iOS widget to take Siri’s place on your iPhone or iPad. But first, a word of caution.

siri

Siri is fine and all, but wouldn’t you rather talk to Alexa?

Shot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Alexa can’t completely replace Siri, but who cares?

There are some functions that only Siri can do: change the iPhone screen brightness, turn on Do Not Disturb, and so on. Essentially, anything that changes settings on your iPhone or iPad itself is blocked by a third-party assistant.

However, there are a lot of Alexa maybe do and walk I can not Especially if you’re not concerned about whether the smart home device you’ve purchased is HomeKit compatible. My house is positively filled with smart plugs, doorbell cameras, and all kinds of devices that Siri can’t talk to — but Alexa can.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, because you’re not replacing Siri with Alexa. In fact, if you already have the Alexa app (and you probably do), you don’t add Alexa to your iPhone – it’s in the app. Every addition of an Alexa widget to your home screen actually puts Alexa within one short tap — but that’s enough to make adding an Alexa widget to your iOS home screen worthwhile.

Amazon Alexa

Alexa can’t change settings on the iPhone itself, but Amazon’s voice assistant can do everything else.

Amazon

How to add Alexa widget to your iOS home screen

Gadgets debuted with iOS 14 in 2020, but if you haven’t used them before, all I can say is be careful. It tends to ruin your home screen’s arrangement if you’re not careful with how you move it around.

This is basically a two-part process. First, create the widget, then move it to where you want it on your home screen. If you’re totally happy to set it aside with all the other tools, you don’t have to do the second part.

Alexa Tool for iOS

You can either leave the Alexa widget along with others or move it directly to your iPhone home screen.

Shot by Dale Smith/CNET

1. On your iPhone or iPad, swipe left past the first page of your Home screen, then press and hold a widget until a menu appears. handle Edit the home screen.

2. Click on + in the upper left corner or scroll until you see Amazon Alexa or write Alexa in the search box, then tap Amazon Alexa.

3. handle add widget At the bottom of the screen (there is only one option for size).

This is the first part. If you’re happy with the Alexa gadget where it’s at, tap accomplishment in the upper right corner. If not, while the widgets are still shaking, tap and hold the Alexa gadget until it “picks up,” drag it out to your home screen and drop it where you want to live, then tap accomplishment.

Again, a word of caution: moving the widget may rearrange your home screen icons, so you’ll have to go back and clean up the mess when you’re done.

This is it! You can now click on the Alexa widget, and your Alexa app will open – with Alexa already listening for the command.