The first thing I generally do on the home screen of the Alexa app is, well, go to some other part of the app, given that I already know what the weather is—and no, I’m not interested in some random third-party Alexa skill. Luckily, the Alexa app’s home screen will soon become more of a worthwhile destination.
Amazon says it’s rolling out a new version of the Alexa app for iOS and Android devices that will boast a “simplified” and “personalized” home screen, complete with shortcuts to features you’ll actually want to use, such as recent alarms, shopping lists, podcasts, and more.
The new Alexa app home screen, which will start rolling out this month and should be available to all users by late August, will finally take the Alexa button out of the bottom navigation bar and put it in prominently at the top of the screen, where it should have been all along.
The home screen weather report will disappear (after all, you probably already asked Alexa about the weather when you rolled out of bed), as will the large—and largely useless—feed of recommended Alexa skills from third parties.
In their places will be buttons for frequently used tasks as well as suggestions for new Alexa users, such as setting reminders, picking up an Audible book where you left off, or adjusting the volume of your Echo Buds. The personalized buttons will change depending on how you use the Alexa app over time, Amazon says.
Meanwhile, the More button, which gives you access to such crucial Alexa features as timers, reminders, routines, and settings, will slide down from the top-left corner of the screen and into the bottom navigation bar.
The Alexa app update will also boast the hands-free mode that Amazon unveiled earlier this month, although you’ll still need to have the Alexa app open on your phone to summon Alexa with just your voice.
Not bad, although I wish the new Alexa app home screen had a status bar for oft-used smart devices or shortcuts to routines and settings, rather than making me dig into the More menu.
Still, the updated Alexa app is a welcome step forward, and hopefully not the last.