Here's how to get more out of your smart devices—no scrolling necessary.

July 01, 2019

There's no denying the fact that most of us rely on our smart devices to help us with everyday tasks, entertain us, and help us stay connected with our relatives, friends, and the world at large. But what if you didn't need to physically click, tap, or scroll to digest new info and go about your day? Believe it or not, you don't have to thanks to voice commands. Some of today's technology, while not full C-3PO robot status, responds to verbal requests that you may have never thought to ask. So, whether you have an Alexa, Apple product, Google home, or the like, check out some of the voice commands that will help you navigate everything from your evening commute to your mindfulness quest. As it turns out, they can do a lot more than the majority of us realized.

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Alexa, reorder coffee.

Almost out of your favorite cup of Joe? Alexa will reorder items on Amazon based upon your order history and preferences. You can also sign up for notifications for Alexa to remind you when you're running low.

Alexa, let's meditate.

Finding the time to meditate can sometimes feel impossible, but it only takes a few minutes. With the help of Alexa, you can do it without lifting a single finger or opening any apps. Simply tell her you want to meditate, and she'll introduce you to the meditation of the day, reminding you to check in daily for guided breathing exercises.

Alexa, I'm leaving.

Did you know that Alexa can act as a sort of security for your home? Guard is an Alexa feature that helps keep your home safe by monitoring noises around the house. Once you tell Alexa that you're leaving, she will go into Away mode. If anything pops up while you're out-think: the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, or even glass breaking-Alexa will send your smartphone notifications. In the event of a noise, Alexa will record it and send you an audio clip to review. From there, you have the ability to "drop in" on your Echo remotely to investigate what's happening in your home, or, if you have Ring or ADT, you can directly forward the Smart Alert to your security provider.

Alexa, add milk to my shopping list.

Tired of writing down your grocery list in a million places, only to lose it and forget every item you need? With Alexa, you can build your list without pen and paper. Simply tell her what to add and then easily access your list in the Amazon app when you're ready to go shopping.

Alexa, add kale to my Whole Foods cart.

If you're an Amazon Prime member you can add items to your Whole Foods cart anytime, anywhere. And, if you live in a major metropolitan area like New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta, Los Angeles, or Seattle, when you're ready to check out you can look forward to free two-hour delivery with Prime Now. Bonus: If you basically live at Whole Foods, you'll be glad to know that you can even ask Alexa what the weekly deals are at your local store. Simply ask "Alexa, what are my Whole Foods deals?"

Alexa, tell one more bedtime story.

Reading stories at bedtime might be one of your favorite parts of the day, but if you're too tired to read "just one more" story (which we all know is never just one), you can choose a tale from Amazon Story Time for Alexa to recite for you.

Alexa, remember Billy's birthday is November 9.

Without Facebook's help, a birthday can be hard to remember. Luckily, Alexa is here to assist. Whenever you want to remember an important date, simply tell her and she'll remind you on the day of.

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Hey Siri, look up "enigma."

Curious what all the different meanings of a word are? Instead of flipping through a dictionary or manually searching online, ask Siri. She'll be able to tell you which part of speech it is, as well as synonyms, antonyms, and the full definition.

Hey Siri, where did I park my car?

Can't remember where you parked your car? No problem. Your iPhone can remember where you parked your car based on when and where your phone disconnected from your car's Bluetooth system. When you ask Siri, "Where did I park my car?" she'll give you the location on Apple Maps.

Hey Siri, how many ounces are there in a centiliter?

When you're testing out your skills in the kitchen you might find that you don't know all the measurements found in cookbooks and online recipes. No worries. With Siri, you can easily convert what the recipe says into something you better understand. Bonus: Speaking of conversions, Siri can also help with currency conversions, which comes in very handy when traveling abroad.

Hey Siri, find my bag.

If you have a Tile (and the Tile app), you can link it to Siri so that when you're traveling you never have to stress over where your checked baggage is.

Hey Siri, take note of my idea.

When a fantastic idea strikes, don't let the fact that your hands are full keep you from remembering it. Just ask Siri to take note of your idea and she'll record it in your notes app for easy review when you finally have a hand again.

Hey Siri, take a photo.

While taking a photo with your iPhone or iPad is pretty straightforward, if you want to take a group shot, you can ask Siri for help. Simply set up your device and cue Siri on your watch to act as the shutter button from afar. The result? A much clearer photo than old-school self-timer trial and errors.

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Hey Google, find my phone.

Can't keep track of your phone? If you're like most people, it's likely within five-feet of you without you even realizing. Nevertheless, you can ask Google Assistant to find your phone and it will call it so that you can feel it buzzing or hear it ringing.

OK Google, good morning.

Mornings can be rough, but when you set up your Google device to recognize it, your Assistant can flick on the lights, tell you the weather, play the news, turn on some tunes, and more. To set up your routine, simple launch the Google Assistant, tap settings, and click into routines.

OK Google, let's go home.

Another routine available from Google is the one that helps you get home at the end of the day. When you tell Google that you're ready to head home, your Assistant will tell you a traffic update, send and read texts, play a podcast, you name it.

OK Google, bedtime.

Just as your Assistant can turn the lights on for you in the morning, at night it can flick them off, play sleep sounds, set your alarms, and give you a brief on what you have coming up the next day.

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Hey Google, what should I make for dinner?

Not sure what you're hungry for tonight? Take a look at what's in your cabinets and ask Google what you can make with it. Additionally, you can ask Google for recipes based on specific dietary restrictions for delicious ideas without all the endless scrolling.

Hey Google, talk to Starbucks.

On those mornings where everything is going a million miles a minute and you don't have a single second to sit and think, let your Assistant take one thing off your plate with this handy trick. When you ask it to talk to Starbucks it will choose from your saved drinks and pre-order your favorite beverage so that it's ready for pick-up when you walk through the door of your local Starbucks shop.

Hey Google, be my Thai interpreter.

Whether you have house guests or are trying to assist someone with directions, Google can help you translate across 29 different languages.

Hey Google, tell me something good.

The world, while wonderful in many ways, can also be pretty grim. To add a little color to your day, ask your Assistant to tell you something good. In doing so, it will tell you short news summaries about people who are working to solve problems for our communities and our world.

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