- Routines allow you to control your smart home by setting up custom actions and reactions based on Alexa-compatible devices. You can create custom voice commands and control devices from different manufacturers.
- Creating Routines is easy using the Alexa app. You can set up triggers and actions, such as having Alexa give you information in the morning or having your smart lights turn on when your doorbell detects motion.
- You can share Routines with other Alexa users and even receive notifications from sensors or trigger actions on a schedule. Routines offer a wide range of possibilities to enhance your smart home experience.
One of the most powerful features that Alexa offers is Routines. Routines are the special sauce that make different devices work together, allowing you to custom control your smart home.
Routines will let you set up a whole range of actions and reactions based around anything you have that’s compatible with the Alexa ecosystem. Routines will let you set up custom voice commands, Routines can give custom responses to an action, Routines can let you control smart home devices from different manufacturers, exactly how you want them to.
That means you can have Alexa give you information when you say Good Morning, you can have your Hue lights turn on when your Ring Doorbell detects motion, the list is endless.
Controlled via the Alexa app, they are really easy to create, and you can also share them with other Alexa users if you want to.
Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen)
Can I create an Alexa Routine with my voice?
The short answer is no, not quite yet. Currently, the only way to create an Alexa routine is using the Alexa app on your smartphone. However, Amazon has developed a new upgraded version of Alexa that uses a large language model (LLM) in order to understand and process much more complex or conversational requests. When the new version of Alexa is released, Amazon says that you’ll be able to create a Routine just by saying something like “every morning at 8am, turn on the coffee machine, open the blinds, dim the lights in the study, and play my morning news”. The Routine will then automatically be created and saved in the Alexa app.
Until this upgraded version of Alexa is released, however, we’ll still have do things the old way by creating the Routines step-by-step in the Alexa app.
How to create an Alexa Routine
To create a Routine, follow these steps:
- Open the Alexa app.
- Go to the menu and select Routines.
- Select the + icon in the top right corner.
- Under When tap Add an event and then choose how to trigger the Routine.
- For smart home Routines, select Smart Home and then your installed device or sensor.
- Then select any options, for example “detects motion”.
- To start a routine with your voice, select Voice and enter the phrase you want to trigger your routine, such as “it’s time to party”.
- Tap Next at the top right of the screen.
- Under Alexa Will tap Add an action, and then choose which action it performs.
- To receive a notification from a motion or contact sensor, select Send push notification.
- To trigger another smart home device, got to smart home again and choose what you want, for example to turn on a light.
- If you want an Echo to do something you’ll get the option to select a device to perform the action.
- Tap Save.
Note: To change or delete a Routine, go to the Routines section in the Alexa app. Choose a Routine listed in the Your Routines section to make your changes.
How to share an Alexa Routine
To share a Routine, follow these steps:
- Go to Routines in the Alexa app.
- Select the Routine you want to share.
- Tap on the menu icon in the top right of the screen.
- Tap Share Routine.
- Send the Routine by text, messaging app, email, or social media.
How to set up a shared Alexa Routine
To use a shared Routine, follow these steps:
- Click the shared URL link on your mobile device.
- Follow the on-screen instructions in your Alexa app.
- Look for options in yellow text, which shows more fields to complete setup.
What can I do with Alexa Routines?
There are a huge number of use cases for Alexa Routines that are limited only by your imagination and the devices that you have in your home. Here are some common ways that Alexa Routines can be used.
Alexa Routines are a great way to group common actions together so that you don’t need to request each one in turn. When it’s movie night, you might want to turn on the TV, power up the sound bar, close the blinds, and dim the lights. You can add each of those actions to your Routine, and have them all happen at once just by saying “Alexa, it’s movie time”.
Protect your home
There are a lot of smart home products that can keep your home safer, from smart locks and security cameras to video doorbells. You can use a Routine to arm your security system, lock your door, and display the feed from your video doorbell with just a single command.
Be your ears when you’re away
One of the triggers you can use in Alexa Routines is Sound Detection. Your Echo device can recognise sounds such as running water, coughing, snoring, barking dogs, or a baby crying, and you can trigger actions when these sounds are detected. One of the most useful options is the ability to detect a beeping appliance. Using this trigger you can get Alexa to send a message to your phone if the smoke alarm is going off, even when you’re away from home.
Tired of calling everybody down for dinner? Set up a routine that triggers an announcement, and you can broadcast a message such as “Dinner’s ready!” from all of the Echo devices in your home. All you need to do is trigger it with a command such as “Alexa, call everyone for dinner” and the rest is done for you.
Run actions on a schedule
You can create Routines that run at specific times of day. For example, you can create a Routine that runs at 8.15 am every weekday that broadcasts an announcement across all Echo devices in your home that the taxi of mum and dad is leaving for school in ten minutes, with or without you.
Trigger Routines with your presence
If you have a compatible Echo device, you can trigger a Routine when your Echo device detects your presence. Using the device speakers, microphone, or camera, your Echo can tell when you’re in the room. You can set the detection to only work at specific times on specific days. So, for example, you could create a Routine where once your presence is detected between 7 and 8 on Tuesday mornings, Alexa will remind you that you need to put the bins out.
You can also create Routines that trigger when occupancy has not been detected for 30 minutes. For example, Alexa can turn off your lights or your music once it recognises that you’re no longer in the room.
Currently, occupancy detection is available on the following devices:
- Echo (4th gen or newer)
- Echo Dot (4th gen or newer)
- Echo Show 5 (2nd gen or newer)
- Echo Show 8 (2nd gen or newer)
- Echo Show 10 (3rd gen or newer)
- Echo Show 15
Want to know more?
Amazon has an Alexa Routine help page here. For even more about Alexa Routines, see our guides: