What the Tech? How to Change the Name of Your Alexa

Changing one’s name has mostly been for celebrities. Norma Jean Mortenson is known as Marilyn Monroe, Caryn Elaine Johnson is now Whoopi Goldberg and Sir Elton John was once Reginald Kenneth Dwight.

Now another household name can be changed as well.

Amazon’s latest update to its Echo devices, called by most people “Alexa”, gives owners the option to change its name, or wake-word to Ziggy.

Yep, Ziggy as in the cartoon character, Ziggy Marley or David Bowie’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”.

You’ll see it in the device settings using the Alexa app. The benefits are clear for anyone with a human named Alexa in the house and maybe for those who don’t.

Until now, if you had an Alexa living in the house you could only change the wake-word to Amazon, Computer or Echo. Even if you don’t have someone named Alexa in your house, it’s still a good idea to change it to “Ziggy”. Because anytime someone says anything remotely close to Alexa, the device starts recording.

To see how often that happens on your devices, open settings in the Alexa app and look for “Activity” and “Voice Recordings”. Just one of my Echo devices had dozens and dozens of instances my devices recorded something it thought was “Alexa”.

Many of them were recorded when an Amazon commercial for Alexa came on the TV. It recorded any sounds in the room
until it realized you weren’t actually asking Alexa for help with something.

To change the wake word to “Ziggy”, you’ll need to go into settings for each device you own within the Alexa app. You’ll have to change the wake word on one device at a time.

An easier way to do this is to walk up to each Echo device and ask her to change her name. Each device will only respond to the name you gave it.

Of course, you won’t want to change her name if there’s someone in the house with a name that rhymes with Ziggy.

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