Video: How to use your iPhone to issue Alexa voice commands from anywhere
On Friday, we first reported that Amazon had added the ability for users to give voice commands to Alexa via the Alexa app on Android phones. While the Alexa app has been around since the devices were first released, it's previously been used for setting up Alexa, not talking to her.
iOS users, on the other hand, were seemingly left behind. TechCrunch reported that a similar update for the iPhone app is on the way, but appears to be delayed due to Apple's App Store vetting process.
Across the world, iPhone users howled in frustration. How could it be that Android could get a feature first? How could it be that, suddenly, they were the second-class citizens? When, they cried, would they get their Alexa voice command capabilities?
If, in fact, TechCrunch is correct and the modded Alexa app is in App Store review, the answer is that iOS users will probably get these capabilities within the next few days. But if that's not good enough, you can control Alexa (and even your smart home devices) right now, via voice, on iOS.
Most people don't realize it, but Alexa voice control has been available to iOS users for some time now. What's weird is that the capability isn't in the Alexa app, but instead in the Amazon shopping app.
If you launch your Amazon Shopping app on your iPhone, you'll notice the little Alexa icon on the right side of the screen.
The first time you press it, you'll have to accept Amazon's slightly creepy "Alexa Helps You Shop" warning that "Amazon processes and retains audio, interactions, and other data in the cloud." But, hey, I have six Alexas in my house. What's one more listening in, right? Click Continue and you now have Alexa support.
You have to hit the little button and then use the Alexa wake word to give commands.
Once you do, you'll have complete Alexa access. What's incredibly cool is that you can do this over LTE and not just Wi-Fi. That means you can issue smart home commands while out and about. I tested it by telling Alexa to turn on and off lights and it worked perfectly.
See, iOS users don't have to feel left behind, even if just for a few days. Alexa's here for you, even now.
Previous and related coverage
Has Apple given Amazon, Google, and others too much of a head-start in the smart speaker market?
Amazon's Alexa app can now do more than just control your Echo. An iOS app update is also planned.