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Dumb “Features” of Smart Speakers

Dumb Alexa
I am a recent convert from Wink Hub 2 to Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub. This required me to set up a lot of automations and controls for a second time. While doing so I found a quirk in my Amazon Echo and Amazon Alexa which in my opinion really makes our beloved Alexa kind of dumb. I learned about a “Feature” (read: bug or huge design flaw) in the Alexa app that does not let you remove Smart Home Devices only disable them. Furthermore, even disabling the associated Alexa Skill does not remove the devices. So, for anyone else who god forbid might have the need to remove a Smart Home Device from Alexa, let’s talk about what you will experience and how it is done.

You would think the first thing you would do is go into the Alexa App on your smartphone and you would be wrong. Going into your device list on the Alexa app will show you that all you can do is “Disable” devices which keeps them linked and moves them to the bottom of your device list. Okay after that you would probably that if you removed the devices from the parent app (in my case Wink), you would simply just rediscover devices and Alexa would no longer find them in your Wink Account and remove them, this would also be wrong and have no effect. Okay those didn’t work so obviously removing the associated Alexa Skill will remove the devise, right? Wrong this will also have no effect. This lead me to a Google search which yielded a lot of results even some to Amazon Help pages which were also of zero help and just plain wrong. Frustrated at this point I used my phone a friend life line and came up with the answer.

The first thing you must do is go to https://alexa.amazon.com which Amazon does not appear to link to anywhere (at least that I could find) and log into your Alexa Account. Then from there you can click on Smart Home on the left and you will see all your connected devices and allow you to “Forget” them which will in turn remove them from Alexa. In this list you can see how the device is connected making it easy to remove ones that may have the same name as ones added via another Skill. When you click Forget next to the device you will be prompted to Confirm this and finally you will see a success notification at the top of the list.

With all your device removed you can go back into your Alexa App and refresh your devices to see your updated list! Why Amazon would remove the ability to “Forget” devices from the native Alexa App is beyond me. It makes no sense and is something I can only hope they will add back in the future. It is also probably worth mentioning that Google Home makes this process very easy. You simply unlink the account and it removes all devices which is how it should work and how Amazon support pages say it works with Alexa even though it does not.

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Mike View All

I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.

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