Alexa Echo

Does Alexa Need To Be Plugged In All The Time?

When growing your Smart Home with various Alexa-enabled devices, it can get confusing as to which ones, if any, are battery-powered, and therefore don’t need to be plugged in to work. Especially as your outlet capacity lessens with each new plugged-in Echo device, you may be wondering do you really need to leave Alexa plugged in all of the time?

Let’s go through this question and others like it related to power and internet access to better understand all requirements for Alexa devices.

Can Alexa Run Without Being Plugged In? 

The Voice Assistant Alexa is accessible on Amazon’s line of Smart Home devices known as Echo devices. If you’re reading this article, then you likely have an Echo device on-hand, like an Echo Dot. 

Does Amazon’s Echo Dot need to be plugged in to work with Alexa? Yes. This is true for the vast majority of Amazon’s Echo devices, including: Echo Show, Echo Plug, Echo Studio, and Echo Flex.

Echo Dot needs to be plugged into the wall at all times. Without power, you won’t be able to summon Alexa through voice commands. The device also needs to be near your WiFi network to make sure it has access to the internet.

Why Is Power Needed?

Without a constant power supply and a stable connection to your WiFi network, your Echo Dot won’t be able to understand when you try to access Alexa through voice commands. Your Echo Dot also won’t be able to talk to Amazon without the internet, which is where Alexa really lives. 

Without the internet, your Echo device is basically a fancy paper weight. Not much better than a rock, sadly. And not even one of those rocks you can use to hide your home key. More like one of these:

Your Echo Dot… without power

To put it simply: your Echo device isn’t much without the power of Amazon’s cloud to bring it to life.

What Happens When Echo Loses Power?

When your Echo Dot loses power, it turns off. All Connection to Amazon’s cloud is severed, meaning your Echo device can’t have Alexa listen to or respond to your voice commands anymore.

One the plus side, unplugging your Echo Dot ensures the device cannot trigger Alexa to hear you. Without power, Echo’s microphones aren’t turned on. So you don’t need to be concerned about Alexa overhearing your conversations or waking up when you haven’t summoned her with a voice command.

What happens When Echo Can’t Connect To The Internet?

Without a connection to the internet, your Echo device can’t do what you ask. Even if it has power, it’s still useless. Your Alexa-enabled device by itself can’t do much without both power and an internet connection. 

To break it down, the Echo Dot is really good at a few things only: recording your voice command, sending that recording to Amazon in the cloud, and waiting for Amazon’s cloud to do the real work of what you asked.

Alexa lives in the cloud, not in an Echo Dot

Without an internet connection, your Alexa-enabled device can’t connect to Amazon’s cloud. Instead, your Echo device will wait a few moments, and then show a red ring. Alexa will then say something like this: “I am having trouble connecting to the internet. Take a look at the help section in your Alexa App.”

When this happens, your Echo device can’t connect to the internet. Either your WiFi or your internet connection is down. In either case, try these trouble shooting steps from Amazon.

Can You Make An Echo Portable?

Sort of. Here’s some good news: there is a way to get power to your Echo without plugging it in. This trick can work with some Alexa devices, but not all. If you’re talking about an Echo Dot, you’re in luck. Head over to Amazon and search for “portable power echo dot.” You will find accessories that will let you carry your Echo Dot around with you in your home. Watch out, though, this doesn’t mean you’re free to take your Echo just about anywhere. You’ll still need an internet connection in order to use Alexa.

Are Any Alexa Devices Truly Portable?

No, not currently. Although you can find portal power options for some Alexa devices, getting a connection to the internet via WiFi is a bit tricker to make portable. Amazon did have a device called Amazon Tap. This device would use your phone to connect to Amazon’s servers instead of your home WiFi. But sadly, the device has been phased out by Amazon, and it’s no longer possible to buy anymore. 

For now, your best bet is to take a look at the Amazon Loop, which is Alexa on a ring (although too strange for my tastes) or Amazon Frames, which is Alexa on glasses (even more odd than a ring). If you’re planning on using Alexa in your car, take a look at Echo Auto which uses the internet connection from your phone to work instead of your WiFi network at home.

Want to get the most out of your Echo Dot and other Alexa-enabled devices? Check out the weekly newsletter of new Alexa voice commands.  

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