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How to change Alexa’s voice

Alexa’s pleasant, feminine voice has filled the homes of millions over the past few years, but Amazon finally offered a viable choice last year when it released a masculine counterpart. Amazon was late to this. Apple and Google have offered different voices, both feminine and masculine, in their virtual assistants for years. But late or not, it’s now easy to switch up the dulcet tones of your virtual assistant.

In addition to the two main Alexa voices, Amazon also has celebrity voices. Right now, you can choose between Samuel L. Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Melissa McCarthy. Last year, during the holiday season, Amazon added Santa Claus as a more limited “celebrity voice.” (He only answers certain holiday-related queries.)

The celebrity voices are programmed to work with certain phrases and answer select questions — mostly alarms and timers, jokes, or weather reports. Each has specific content tailored to its persona. For example, you can ask Samuel what he thinks of snakes and have Melissa tell you about Bridesmaids.

Celebrity voices cost $2.99 each as a one-time purchase. (Santa is free.) Any query to an Echo device that’s not supported by the chosen celebrity voice will get a response from the native Alexa voice — which can be either masculine or feminine.

There are two ways you can change the voice of Alexa on your Echo devices: through the device itself or through the Alexa app. Doing it through the device is the easiest option and takes just a few seconds.

Changing the voice only applies to the Echo device you’re currently using or accessing through the app. If you want to switch to the masculine voice on multiple Echo speakers or displays in your home, you’ll have to do it one at a time.

It’s also not possible to change the Alexa voice used by the smartphone app itself; that remains the original, feminine voice. Hopefully, in the future, Amazon will add a way to change it globally for all of the Echo devices on an account.

Without further ado, here’s how to change Alexa’s voice on an Echo device:

On an Echo or Echo Show:

  • Say the command “Alexa, change your voice.”
  • The device will respond in the new voice (either the masculine or feminine voice, depending on which you used previously): “OK, you’re all set. I’ll be the voice you hear when you speak to this device.”
  • If it doesn’t work, Alexa will say something to the effect of “sorry, [name of your device] doesn’t support that.”

In the Alexa app for iOS or Android:

  • Tap on the Devices tab at the bottom.
  • Tap on the Echo & Alexa button in the top left.
  • Tap on the device you want to change Alexa’s voice on.
  • Tap the Settings cog wheel button in the upper right.
  • Scroll down to the option for Alexa’s Voice and tap on it.
  • Choose either Original (the feminine voice) or New (the masculine voice).
  • The Devices tab is the fourth one over from the left in the Alexa smartphone app. Screenshot: Dan Seifert / The Verge
  • Once you’ve selected the device you want, tap the settings button in the upper right. Screenshot: Dan Seifert / The Verge
  • Scroll down until you see Alexa’s Voice options, tap that. Screenshot: Dan Seifert / The Verge
  • Choose either the Original (feminine) voice or the New (masculine) voice. Screenshot: Dan Seifert / The Verge

How to purchase a celebrity voice:

  • Say “Alexa introduce me to [name of celebrity].”
  • Alexa will switch over to the celeb voice you’ve selected and explain the things you can do with it. If you want to purchase the voice, you will be asked to confirm the charge to your Amazon account.
  • Once enabled, you can say “hey [celeb name]” to wake the Echo device.
  • The voice will only be on the Echo you purchased it on. To enable it on additional Echo speakers, see the steps below.
  • The standard Alexa voice is still available if you use the Alexa wake word and will sometimes respond if the celeb voice can’t respond to your request. The celeb voice can’t help with Shopping, lists, reminders, or skills.

How to enable a celebrity voice on your Echo(s):

Once you have purchased the celebrity voice, you can activate it on any additional Echo speakers you own.

  • Open the Alexa app.
  • Tap on the Devices tab at the bottom.
  • Tap on the Echo & Alexa button in the top left.
  • Tap on the device you want to enable the celebrity voice on.
  • Tap the Settings cog wheel button in the upper right.
  • Scroll down to the option for Wake Word and tap on it.
  • Choose from any celebrity voice you have enabled.

If you want a new wake word but don’t want to pay for a celebrity voice, Alexa has several options to choose from for free (they use the standard Alexa voices). See this guide for how to change your Alexa wake word.