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How to Use Alexa’s Whisper Mode

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For when you don’t want to wake the whole house turning on the lights.

Once you get over the initial learning curve of issuing commands, living with a bunch of Alexa-integrated gadgets in your house can be pretty nifty. You can control your devices, set timers, turn the lights on and off, and other neat junk. However, the only problem with Alexa (or at least the only problem we’re talking about today) is that you need to speak in a clear, concise, and somewhat loud voice in order for her to properly understand you. This is a problem if it’s late at night and you’re trying to be subtle or your voice is otherwise impaired. Luckily, newer Echo devices feature a special mode that can remedy this.

Alexa’s Whisper Mode increases the sensitivity of your Echo’s sensors, allowing Alexa to detect your commands even if they’re being whispered. When she receives a command, she’ll also respond in a low whisper herself, since if she shouted your commands back at you, it’d kind of defeat the purpose. You can use Whisper Mode on gen 4 or later Echo devices, as well as the Echo Show 5 and Show 8 smart displays or later.

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To activate Whisper Mode, you have two options: your first choice is to simply issue a verbal command to Alexa herself. Just say “Alexa, turn on Whisper Mode,” and she’ll start keeping things low-key. If you’re not within easy speaking distance of your Echo, you can also activate Whisper Mode through the Alexa app on a paired smartphone. Just go to Settings and Voice Responses, and you’ll see a little Whisper Mode toggle. Whisper Mode can also be disabled using the same two methods. A good companion to Whisper Mode is Brief Mode, which limits Alexa’s responses to short and sweet bites and sound effects. You can activate Brief Mode from the Alexa app; there’s a toggle for it right next to the Whisper Mode toggle.