Alexa is one of the most popular ways to control smart home devices in your home. Hundreds of thousands of smart devices are compatible with Alexa, which means you can control your devices with just your voice using an Echo smart speaker.
You can also control connected devices through the Alexa app if you don’t want to speak out loud. This hasn’t always been easy. Finding the right device in the app can sometimes be more luck than judgment.
However, all that is about to change. Amazon is introducing a new way to control your smart home devices from a digital floor plan of your home called Alexa Map View. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Alexa Map View?
Alexa Map View is a new way to monitor and control the smart home devices in your home. Imagine you want to turn off the lights in your bedroom, close the smart blinds, and power off the smart plug. Currently, you have to navigate through the Alexa app to access the lights, find your way back to the section where you can control your blinds, and then fiddle around a bit more to find the section where you can turn off your smart plug. Somewhere during that whole process, things start to feel a little less smart.
Alexa Map View can change that. It provides you with a top-down view of the floor plan of your home, with icons representing the location of each smart device. If you want to turn off the lights, close the blinds, and power off the smart plug in your bedroom, tap the three relevant icons in the Bedroom section of your Map View, and you’re done. It’s a much more intuitive way to control the devices in your home.
Map View also allows you to see the status of your smart home devices with just a glance. If you’re ready to go to bed, a quick glance at Map View will show you that the light is still on in the kitchen. A quick tap, and you can turn it off remotely.
How Does Alexa Map View work?
Alexa Map View works by using the LiDAR tech built into some smartphones to map out the rooms in your home. You point your phone camera at your room and slowly move around it to map that room and add it to your map view. Repeat the process for all of your rooms, and you create a digital floor plan of your entire property, which is broken down into floors if your home has more than one.
Scanning your rooms doesn’t just locate the walls, either; it will also scan items of furniture, such as desks and tables, which can also appear in Map View. You don’t have to add every room to your floor plan; you only need to add the rooms where you have smart home devices that you want to add. You can also choose to delete your floor plan at any time.
Once the floor plan is created, you can then pin your smart home devices to it where they’re located. You can add your Echo Dot to the desk in your office, for example. Once a smart device has been added to the Map View, you can control it with just a tap. The icons will also indicate the status of your smart devices, with different icons for a light that’s on or off, for example.
How can I get Alexa Map View?
Amazon says that Alexa Map View will be available in the US later this year “for customers with select phones,” and this is the rub. It turns out that “select phones” are only iPhones. And not all iPhones, either; you need to have an iPhone that includes a LiDAR scanner, which is currently only found in the Pro iPhones. This limits the phones that you can use to create your Map View to the following:
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 14 Pro
- iPhone 14 Pro Max
- iPhone 15 Pro
- iPhone 15 Pro Max
From what Amazon has said so far, it appears that the ability to create a Map View floor plan of your home is unlikely to come to other iPhone or Android phones for the foreseeable future. However, it may be possible to sign into your Amazon account on a compatible phone, create your Map View floor plan, and then sign back in on your phone to use it. So now might be the time to befriend someone with an iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Will Alexa Map View work with the new Echo Hub?
The Echo Hub is a touchscreen smart home control panel that you can use to control the devices in your home. It’s ideally suited to displaying the Alexa Map View, and the good news is that the Echo Hub will be gaining support for Map View at some point next year via an over-the-air update.