Now You Can Text Amazon Alexa From Your iPhone to Check the Weather, Buy Stuff and More — Here's How

Todd Haselton | CNBC
  • Amazon now lets you type to Alexa on your iPhone.
  • It's part of a public preview, but you can type to ask Alexa to call someone, to shop for things on Amazon, to ask the weather and more.

Amazon recently began testing a new feature on the iPhone that lets you text Alexa instead of speaking to it. You can use it to ask questions, order products from Amazon, call people and more.

It's useful if you're unable to speak or simply don't want to — like when you're in bed next to a sleeping partner but still want to use Alexa to look something up.

You can already interact with Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant this way. But if you prefer Alexa, this is a new way of interacting with it.

Here's how to text with Alexa on your iPhone:

  • Download the Amazon Alexa app from the App Store.
  • Open the Amazon Alexa app on your iPhone.
  • Tap the keyboard icon on the top left of the screen.
  • Type in your question and tap send.

Alexa will respond, and you can hold a conversation.

You can ask simple questions, such as "How tall is the Empire State Building?" or ask Alexa to call people by typing "Call Steve," for example. You can also add things to your to-do list and control smart gadgets in your home.

You may notice a message that says, "By the way, typing with me is part of a public preview, so I'm still getting the hang of it!" That means there may be new features added later.

I'd like to see more visual content, such as images of the weather forecast when I ask the weather or different items I can buy when I ask to shop for something. Those are features already available on other screens with Alexa, such as Amazon's Echo Show products.

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