Alexa-powered devices can do a vast number of things, driven by app-like abilities called “skills.” They can enable you to play games, listen to soothing sounds, enjoy an audio book, follow exercise routines, and get daily reminders to follow those routines. If you have the right tech, they can also turn on the lights in your house, start your car, close your garage door, and arm your security system.
In the same way that you’d download apps for your phone, you can download skills for your Alexa device. And they’re very easy to install.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re having trouble sleeping, and want to try to relax with some soothing ocean sounds.
On your desktop, the process is pretty similar.
You can also install a skill by voice. Say, “Alexa, enable” and add the name of the skill you want to add. If you don’t know what to install, you can ask Alexa to recommend some skills. But be warned: it’s much faster and more convenient to search through the thousands of available skills on your phone or desktop.
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.