Amazon has redesigned its Alexa mobile app with a focus on improving the software’s layout and reorganizing key sections.
The tech giant has been incrementally making changes to Alexa throughout 2023 like the time it added a new Home Shortcuts Bar. But instead of drip-feeding users, Amazon seemingly saw fit to roll out the rest of the update in one big push.
The first thing you’ll notice is the Home tab is more structured than before. As TheVerge points out, the old app had a random assortment of “Most Relevant” and “Recently Used” items on the Home tab. The layout is more compartmentalized with a Shortcuts carousel at the top, an Activity section in the middle, and Favorites at the bottom taking up a large amount of space.
According to Amazon, Shortcuts “organizes devices by category and” displays commonly-used features like Routines. If you don’t use certain features, users can customize the carousel to better suit their needs. That area will even show you the current status of your smart home gadgets. The availability of the status readouts is a bit strange, however. The announcement states it will first come to users who have “20 or fewer devices” before expanding to others in the coming months.
Activity cards will display “time-sensitive information” like reminders or upcoming alarms. Looking at the preview image, upcoming events are placed at the front. The rest will be hidden although you can tap See All to expand the menu.
Favorites offer quick access to frequently used devices, so you can control them with a single tap. At the time of this writing, eight device types are supported including smart lights, locks, and cameras just to name a few. Amazon says it has plans to expand this list later down the line.
The Devices page has been revamped too, effectively becoming the app’s new settings menu. Groups, located at the top of this page, pool all the connected hardware in a house’s room together for easier configuration. But if you prefer to tweak them individually, each gadget will appear in the list below. Amazon also took the time to upgrade the software’s search function. Now you can sort devices by alphabetical order, the date they were added, their name, or using certain keywords.
The updated Alexa app is making its way to Android and iOS, however, we should mention the latter will have an exclusive feature called Map View.
This tool creates a digital floor plan of your house and then pins all your connected smart home gadgets so you can see where everything is located. It will only be available to a select group as a preview in the United States. No word on when it’ll see a widespread release or if it’ll roll out to Android although we did ask Amazon for more details. This story will be updated at a later time.
Until we hear back, check out TechRadar’s list of the best smart speakers for 2023.