If you’ve got an Alexa device in your home, like an Echo smart speaker, anyone in your home can use it. But there are certain disadvantages to having it associated with only one account. Mainly, it means that everyone is pretty much sharing the same account.
You can create what Amazon calls an Alexa Household. That means that there can be two accounts on the device, and it can distinguish between to-do lists, music lists, and other types of content. Creating a household also permits one member of the household to make a purchase using the other’s account, which can be useful if one person has a Prime account. (You can add a code if you’d rather not allow the other household member to make purchases.)
It’s not difficult to share your Alexa device in this way with others in your household, but there are a few limitations.
First, you can only add one other adult (or teenager) to an Alexa Household account. You can add up to four children via the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited plan, which costs $4.99 a month (or $2.99 a month for Prime members) for a single child and $9.99 a month (or 6.99 a month for Prime members) for up to four children. Also, don’t confuse this with Amazon Household, the service attached to a general Amazon account, which allows two adults, up to four teens, and up to four child profiles to share an account.
Here’s how to add an adult to your Alexa Household:
- Open your Alexa app
- Tap the menu icon in the upper left corner (the three parallel lines), and select “Settings” from the slide-out menu
- Select “Account Settings” > “Amazon Household”
- You’ll get an explanation on what a member of the household can (and can’t) share. Tap “Start.”
At that point, you’ll be prompted to hand your phone to the new Alexa Household member so they can enter their Amazon account information. Once that’s done, both of you will be able to address the same Alexa device and use the same payment method. (You can use a confirmation code to prevent accidental purchases.)
To go from one account to another, you just have to say, “Alexa, switch accounts.” (If you’ve lost track of whose account you’re using, you can say, “Alexa, identify account.”)
Remove a second account
What if you no longer want the other adult on your account? (Breakups do happen.) You can easily remove them from your Alexa Household:
- Go to the same “Settings” > “Account Settings” > “Amazon Household” page. You’ll see a link named “Remove” to the right of the second name.
- Tap on “Remove”
- You’ll get a warning that any adult removed from a household won’t be able to join another for 180 days (in other words, six months)
- If you’re sure you don’t want that person in your household, tap “Remove”
That 180-day restriction could be a problem if, for example, you’re simply trying to transfer a household member to a different account or if you’ve accidentally removed somebody. In either case, it’s a good idea to contact Amazon customer support via chat or phone. According to a customer service rep I chatted with, Amazon can remove a household member without imposing the 180-day ban if requested.
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