How to Set Up Alexa Calling for a Loved One

By:  Frank Engelman   |  Posted: June 12, 2020   |  Updated: April 27, 2023

When you buy something we recommend, we may get an affiliate commission — but it never affects your price or what we pickLearn more


Are you looking for a way to setup video chats with your loved one who lives independently or in a facility?

This article tells you how to do that, using the Echo Show, without requiring your loved one to do any of the “setting up”.


New to This Topic?

This is a Deep-dive “How To” article. If you are not yet sure if the Echo Show is the right product for your situation, you probably want to start with one of these related pieces of research.



Setting the Stage: Common Questions

Let’s listen on in a conversation between two seniors: Bob, whose mother just moved into a nursing home, and Frank, who just completed an Alexa Calling setup for his Mom.


Alexa Calling for Staying in Touch with Mom

Bob: I have been reading that Amazon Alexa Calling is the easiest way for me to have video chats with my Mom, but I have no idea how to get started for her.

Frank: Amazon Alexa Calling is a great way to do video chats with your Mom. You can have a video call with her even if she is unable to say the proper Alexa command to answer the call or unable to tap the icon on the Amazon Echo Show screen. That is accomplished using the “drop-in” feature. Here are the various Echo Show sizes (fig 1).

Figure 1: Different versions of the Amazon Echo Show.
L-R: Echo Show 5; Echo Show 8; Echo Show (Gen 2).


But I Can’t Visit Mom to Set It Up

Bob: Great. I actually setup an Echo Show in my own home and have done video chats with other family members, but they each setup their own Echo Show… How can I setup one for my Mom, especially since she doesn’t live nearby?

Frank: Amazon recently offered some advice (Reference 1) on how to do that remotely.

I suggest you follow their advice and configure your Mom’s Echo Show at YOUR home, using YOUR Wi-Fi, then the only thing that will have to change at her home is the Wi-Fi.


Can’t Mom Just Use My Amazon Account?

Bob: Ok, but as I read their setup procedure, I see she would need her own Amazon account. Can’t she just use mine?

Frank: I recommend getting her a free Amazon account. That way all her preferences such as music and contacts are separate. You will still be able to log into her account when you are home to later make any changes necessary. In fact, if you keep an Echo device, say an Echo Dot, at your home logged into her account, you can remotely help her troubleshoot problems. And… you will be able to remote “push” family photos to her Echo Show as a slide show.


But She Doesn’t Have a Cell Phone. It Says She Needs One.

Bob: Hmm, they also mention using “her cell phone” to complete the setup. She does not have or want a cell phone and I don’t want to buy a “burner” just for this setup.

Frank: Not to worry. There is a way to do this using her Amazon account and a free Google Voice account, which creates a free mobile number that Amazon needs to complete the Alexa Calling setup. You can log into her Amazon account with YOUR cell phone to complete the setup, including Contacts. I’ll give you details later on how to perform this step by step.


I Don’t Want All MY Contacts in HER Alexa

Bob: Ok, I get it, but I read that if I use MY cell phone, that all my contacts be in there!

Frank: No, you can add the contacts your Mom needs one by one.


The Retirement Home Might Not Let Me Connect to Their WiFi

Bob: Oh, I forgot to mention that she is now in a nursing home. I know an Echo Show device needs Wi-Fi to work. What if they won’t allow it on their network?

Frank: Aha, there is a way around that using a paid cell service with what the carriers call a mobile hotspot.


Her TV is So Loud. She Will Not Hear the Call.

Bob: Oh, one more thing. She plays her TV very loud and I’m afraid she won’t be able to hear me calling her.

Frank: I have a fix for that! You also install a Fire TV Cube for her TV. If she is watching TV when your call comes in, it will actually pause the TV! (Reference 2). She will also have other benefits using the Fire TV Cube such as voice control of her TV shows and family pictures.


Do My Siblings Also Need an Echo Show to Video Chat with Mom?

Bob: Oh, one last thing. My brothers and sisters will also want to do video chats with Mom. Will they all need an Echo Show?

Frank: They can just use an Alexa app on their cell phone. They will be able to call Mom and she can even call them! If they have the Alexa app running when she calls, they will be asked to answer the call. If the Alexa app is not running at that time, they will get a regular cell phone call and can then call her right back in the Alexa app. One of the benefits of using an Echo Show is that it will show you when Mom is nearby her Echo Show and that might be a good time to call her.


OK. You Convinced Me. 🙂

Bob: Ok, OK… I’m convinced. Please give me all the step by step info you mentioned.

Frank: Of course. Here are some detailed setup instructions.



List of Equipment, Software, and Applications Required


Equipment needed:

Amazon Echo Show device for your home and your Mom’s home.

  • Be sure to order hers as a “gift” so that Amazon does not pre-configure it for your settings.
  • You could reset it to “Factory Default”, if you ordered it configured (see below).


Wi-Fi at both locations.

  • Add a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, if Wi-Fi is not available if at your Mom’s location.


You need a mobile phone other than your own.

  • If your Mom does not have one, see the Google Voice workaround below.


Software needed:

  • Separate Amazon accounts for you and your parent.
  • Alexa app on your mobile phone.
  • Setup a Google account and a free Google Voice for your Mom — if she has no mobile phone.



Setup Instructions: Step by Step


1. Set up YOUR Echo Device

  1. Plug it in and wait for the prompts. (If you have previously ordered Amazon Echo devices, it may already have the steps below performed.)
  2. Select a language by tapping the screen.
  3. Select your Wi-Fi network name.
  4. Enter your Wi-Fi password.
  5. Enter your Amazon account email and password.
  6. Sign in.
  7. Confirm the time zone.


2. Set Up your MOM’s Echo Device

  1. Plug it in and wait for the prompts.
  2. If it was delivered with your settings, you can perform a Factory Default Reset (see below).
  3. Select a language by tapping the screen.
  4. Select YOUR Wi-Fi network name (this will be changed later).
  5. Enter YOUR Wi-Fi password and Tap CONNECT.
  6. Enter your MOM’s Amazon account email and password and Tap DONE.
  7. Sign in with your MOM’s account, tap CONTINUE.
  8. Set the correct time zone & address, tap CONTINUE.
  9. Choose a room location or skip.
  10. Rename the device to your preference, e.g. Mom’s Echo Show.
  11. Choose some wallpaper, e.g. Nature.
  12. Watch the video tutorial that pops up during setup for some usage hints.
  13. Select which “Amazon offers” you want (if any). NOTE: Your MOM does NOT need a Prime account, nor a payment method for this to work. And in general we recommend keeping things simple to start.
  14. When you bring this Echo Show to your Mom’s house, you will need to change the Wi-Fi settings.
  15. This would be a good time to review all the messages that will be popping up on her screen… some people are annoyed by too many messages. See next section.


Review Her “Settings”

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen.
  2. Tap the “Settings” gear in the upper right.
  3. Scroll to “Home Content”.
  4. Choose which messages you think she will find appropriate. (Note: you can only set these messages up while at her Echo Show… they are not remotely changeable.).


Notes on “Settings”

  • Drop-in is useful, if your Mom has trouble speaking to Alexa or tapping the answer button on a call.
  • Weather is always useful.
  • Shared with You can give you a means to send her pictures to automatically display.


Adjust Her Accessibility Settings

  1. Scroll to “Accessibility”.
  2. Choose the settings you think might be helpful.


Notes on Accessibility Settings:

  • Closed caption may be helpful.
  • Alexa Captioning helps by displaying the text of Alexa’s speech on the screen.
  • Communication Without Speech is useful. It transcribes voice messages into text.
  • Tap to Alexa adds an icon on the screen that your Mom could touch to call up Alexa actions you determine. For example:
    1. Music
    2. News
    3. Call your Alexa devices


Factory Default Reset (needed only if the Echo Show comes with your settings and you want to reset them)

  1. Swipe down from top of the screen.
  2. Tap “Settings” gear.
  3. Scroll to “Device Options” and tap it.
  4. Scroll to “Reset to Factory Defaults” and tap it.



3. Configure Alexa Communications for Your MOM’s Account

There are two different ways to create and configure your mother’s Alexa Account, depending on whether or not she has a mobile phone capable of running the Alexa App.


The basic issue here is that the Alexa App needs some type of phone number to use as a reference to your mother’s Alexa.

If she has a cellphone modern enough to run the Alexa App, then Alexa can use her cellphone number to remember her. However, if she does not have such a cell phone (or if you can’t get your hands on it because she is locked way), then you can create a separate Google voice number in your mother’s name, and give that to Alexa to use as a reference. In that case, she does not need a cellphone at all.

  • If she does have a mobile phone capable of running the Alexa Appp, and you can access that phone, then jump to “Scenario B“.
  • If she does NOT have a mobile phone, or if you cannot access it, then there is an extra step first, as explained in Scenario A below.



Step 3a: Create Your Mother’s Alexa Account

Scenario A: She does NOT have a mobile phone, or you cannot access her mobile phone.

You will need to perform these extra steps using YOUR cell phone by adding a Google Voice number. Google Voice will need to use your cell phone number to setup the new number.

NOTE: Alexa Communications really doesn’t “call” this number… it merely uses it as a reference to find your Mom’s Alexa Echo Show.

UPDATE: Since this was first published, reader Allynn made a great suggestion about using TextNow to receive the SMS text setup message. I tested it on a few systems and it works great as an alternative to Google Voice. However as of September 2021, TextNow requires you to use a paid version in order for the number to stay allocated to you for a period longer than a few months. You need this, so you need the paid version if you want to use this approach.

  1. Sign up for a Gmail account in her name (here is the link to signup for a Gmail account).
  2. Sign up for a Google Voice number in her name (here is the link to signup for Google Voice).
  3. Sign into the Alexa app on your phone, using your MOM’s Alexa account. (You will need to delete and re-install the Alexa app to do this). [Don’t worry. Your settings are stored in the cloud, so when you have reinstalled the App and logged in again as you, your old settings should still be there!]
  4. Proceed to Step 3b.

UPDATE: Since this was first published, reader Lonnie M. made a great suggestion that removes the need to delete a re-install the Alexa app in step 3 above. You can replace item #3 above by this:

  • Sign into the Alexa app on your phone, using your MOM’s Alexa account. (You will need to sign out of your Alexa app and later sign back in when you are finished). [Don’t worry. Your settings are stored in the cloud, so when you have signed out as your mom and signed in again as yourself, your old settings will still be there!]
  • The Alexa app sign out steps:
    • Tap “More”
    • Tap “Settings”
    • Tap “Sign Out”


Notes about setting up Google Voice:

  • Search a new number… do NOT use your phone number. Select any location & number.
  • Google will need to use YOUR mobile phone number to complete the setup with a text message.
  • Be sure to use your Mom’s Gmail account.
  • When you see the “Enter your phone number” prompt, enter YOUR cell phone number. (This will be used to receive a text code for confirmation of setup).
  • Enter the code you received.
  • Note: Your cell phone number can have only ONE Google Voice Number assigned.


Scenario B. If your Mom has a mobile phone capable of running the Alexa app:
  • Install the Alexa app on her phone.
  • Log into the Alexa app (as your mother).
  • Proceed to Step 3b.



Step 3b: Enter the Phone Number Alexa will Use to Identify your Mother’s Alexa

Once logged in (as your mother) you should see a screen that looks like this:

Figure 2: Screenshot showing “Communicate” Icon.


  • Tap the “Communicate” icon on the bottom left (fig 2). Then:
Scenario A:
  • Enter the Google Voice number, then grant permissions for calling and messaging.
  • Your phone’s Google Voice app will receive a verification code.
Scenario B:
  • Enter your Mom’s mobile phone information, then grant permissions for calling and messaging
  • Your Mom’s mobile phone will receive a verification code via text.



Step 3c: Add Your Contact Info So She Can Call You.

In figure 3 below you see the “Person Silhouette” in the upper right.

Figure 3: Screenshot showing “Person Sillhouette”

  • Tap the “Person outline” in upper right (fig 3) A different screen will appear showing a “Contact List” as in figure 4 below.


Figure 4: Screenshot showing Contact List

  • Tap the 3 vertical dots in the upper right (Fig 4).
  • Add YOUR contact info so that Alexa Communications can reach you


Step 3d: Avoid “Importing your contacts”

Alexa will suggest you “import your contacts” but we don’t recommend that.

Figure 5: Decide whether to “Import Contacts”

  • Do NOT import all contacts (fig 5)



Step 3e: Set up “Drop-in Feature”

  • If your Mom approves, you could also enable Drop-in for your contact. (This can be enabled later, by signing into her Alexa account if conditions change).
  • Save and close the Alexa app.



4. Configure Alexa Communications for YOUR account

  • Log back into your Alexa app. (If you had to use your phone to complete your Mom’s setup, you will need to delete & re-install the Alexa app).
  • Tap the “Communicate” icon on the bottom left (Fig 2).
  • Tap the “Person silhouette” in upper right (Fig 3).
  • Tap the 3 vertical dots in the upper right (Fig 4). Then Add your Mom’s contact info so that Alexa Communications can reach her from YOUR Alexa App.
  • Don’t import all contacts (Fig 5).
  • Save.



5. Test the Installation

You can test this even before delivering to your Mom’s house.

  • Move your Mom’s Echo Show to another room to reduce audio feedback. This also enables you to talk to one of the Alexas without the other one responding to your voice.
  • On your Echo Show say “Alexa, call Mom” (or whatever name or nickname you put in your Alexa Contacts). (Note: the first time Alexa may ask if you want her mobile phone or Alexa devices… choose Alexa devices.)
  • Your Mom’s Echo Show should offer her the option to answer.
  • After hanging up, try calling your Echo Show from her Echo show.


Final steps

If everything worked, bring the Echo Show to your Mom’s home and change the Wi-Fi settings when it boots up.



Please leave any questions in the comments below, and I will try and respond.

In addition, we are collecting common questions and answers people have sent us on the page: “Alexa Questions & Answers” (also here on Tech-enhanced Life).




(1) Amazon advice post on setting up Alexa “for your loved one”.

(2) See my DIY Solution: FireTV Cube to pause TV when Alexa calls.


Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the author. This article was NOT sponsored by Amazon or any other corporation.


*Disclosure: The research and opinions in this article are those of the author, and may or may not reflect the official views of Tech-enhanced Life.

If you use the links on this website when you buy products we write about, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate or other affiliate program participant. This does not affect the price you pay. We use the (modest) income to help fund our research.

In some cases, when we evaluate products and services, we ask the vendor to loan us the products we review (so we don’t need to buy them). Beyond the above, Tech-enhanced Life has no financial interest in any products or services discussed here, and this article is not sponsored by the vendor or any third party. See How we Fund our Work.


145 thoughts on “How to Set Up Alexa Calling for a Loved One”

  1. Frank, Thank you for your
    Frank, Thank you for your personal expertise and plainly laid out instructions! I’ve been trying to set up a new Echo Show 8 for my 90 year-old mother-in-law twice now, but both times I started out wrong and simply got to dead ends with no good guidance from YouTube. Your instructions were the 1st to recommend using Google Voice as a “mobile phone number” (my mother-in-law has failed repeatedly to appreciate the necessities of recharging devices, hence no more cell phones for her), so I was finally able to set up the Echo Show in her actual dedicated account! I’ve been testing it with video calling and dropping in, and it seems to be working the way I had originally hoped it would! Thanks again!!

    Drew F
    Honolulu, HI

    • Frank & Drew,
      Frank & Drew,

      Thanks for this, I’m still working through the instructions, but our situation is further hampered by having father in law half way around the world. It sounds like we need to setup alexa app on his cell phone there, configure the show to his account (or I can add it to my account and he can drop in anytime). I’m trying to decipher how to do drop in on my sis in law show so that my wife, sis in law and dad in law can do group drop in vid calls.

      When I look at the Alexa app on my phone, I’m not clear how I setup the others so Show can try to drop in on their devices (vs calling internationally)? Father in law is overseas, sis in law has a US line and an international line when she’s visiting there.


      • Hello Andi,

        Hello Andi,

        The simplest way is to add an Echo Show for your father-in-law to your Amazon account.

        You can do this at your home using your Wi-Fi and then have someone change it to his Wi-Fi when he receives it. If there is no one there capable of doing that, and you know his Wi-Fi network name and password, you could set your phone’s hotspot to those settings and prepare his Echo Show before shipping

        However, there are downsides to this approach. For one, since he is on your account, any commands he misspeaks could affect your devices, such as lighting or reminders. He may also get Alexa notifications meant for you, which can be confusing. You will be able to use Drop In by just saying “Alexa, drop in on his-name’s echo show”, but other family members would have to reach him by saying "Alexa, drop in on your-account-name” and his Echo Show would need to be the only one with Drop In enabled.

        The better way to do this is to set your father-in-law up on his own Amazon account so that everyone can just drop in on him by using his Alexa Contact name. Given the distance involved and the complexity of setting up his Alexa account and family Alexa Contacts and Drop in permissions, I suggest it would be best for you to do that for him remotely.

        If you have an old phone or tablet, you could use it under his account name. That can come in handy later if you need to make changes in the future on his account. If you don’t want to take that approach, you could log out of the Alexa account on your mobile device and log in as him to complete his account setup. Don’t forget to log out as him later and back in as yourself.

        If he is capable of sending you the Alexa setup code, then you can use his phone number. If not, you can use an Internet phone number such as to satisfy the Alexa Calling requirements. I suggest using their Number Lock in services for $5/year so that the phone number doesn’t expire.

        That way, you could receive the setup code in the TextNow app on your mobile phone instead of asking him to send you the setup code that would be sent to his phone.

        You don’t have to worry about international calling as the phone number is only used as a reference point between Alexa calls; it’s not used actually to make phone calls

        Please note that you need to enable Drop In on your father-in-law’s Alexa account for Echo Show as well as EACH CONTACT that is permitted to Drop In on him.

        “How Does Drop In Work?”

        Here is some information on doing Group Calls “Solution: How to Use Alexa for Group Calls”

        Be sure to enable Group Calling in everyone’s Alexa app

        Tap "More"

        Tap "Settings"

        Tap "Communications"

        Tap "Enhanced Features"

        Turn on "Enabled"

        You mentioned doing “Drop In” group calls.

        I know Amazon says that you can do that, BUT I think that only works within the same account.

        “Have a group conversation with all supported Alexa-enabled devices under your Amazon household, which are not set to do not disturb. To start a group conversation, ask Alexa to…”

         If you need a way for your father-in-law to participate in a group call where he has difficulty accepting the call, there is a way to do it with a button to accept the call.

  2. Hello Drew F.

    Hello Drew F.

    I'm glad the article helped.

    I'm working on another article on the Amazon  Fire TV Cube that would allow easy TV control



  3. Hello, Frank,

    Hello, Frank,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful and detailed procedures for doing this. I care for my elderly mom who is now in a long-term memory-care community here in Berkeley, California. I tried desperately to make a solution like this work with an iPad before the shutdown of elder care facilities due to COVID-19 back in March. We stumbled every time on the issue of answering the phone.

    Through our family council, and some Facebook communities centered on caregivers with families in nursing homes and long-term care, there's been a lot of discussion about using devices like the Echo and the iPad for drop-in calls.

    I've taken the liberty of sharing your article in a few posts and look forward to your continued articles. Keep up the great work. Thank you!


  4. Frank,

    This article was invaluable when it came to setting up my moms show during covid! Thank you! I was able to use my Alexa app to call her on my phone so we only needed one Echo show. Thank you for again for all of the assistance this article provided!

  5. What a lovely little article.
    What a lovely little article. Well done. Only wish I found this before I had to set up my mother’s device.

  6. Thank you so much for these
    Thank you so much for these step by step instructions. I almost have my mom’s Echo Show 8 ready to take to the nursing home. I thought I set up “Drop in” when I was logged in the app under her account, but can’t make it work. Before I delete the app (Again)and install and log in as her again, I wanted to make sure I can even use the Mobile app to “drop in” on her Echo. Is this possible or do I need to go get another Echo Show for myself in order to “drop in”. She has dementia and will not remember how to answer. Thank you again, Kim

    • Hello Kim,

      Hello Kim,

      Yes, you can drop in on your Mom using the Alexa app on your mobile phone. You don’t need an Echo Show for yourself.

      Let me know the details of the problem you are seeing. I’m assuming that Alexa Calling is working fine, just the Drop-in is the problem

      Using the Alexa app on your mobile phone, signed into YOUR MOM’s account:

      • Check that her Echo Show device has Communications enabled
        • Tap “Devices”- Mom’s Echo Show
          • Tap “Communications”
            • Calling & Messaging enabled
            • Announcements enabled
            • Drop-in On
      • Check that YOUR account has drop-in rights (You might be getting a message that YOU have not been granted drop-in rights)
        • Tap “Communicate”
          • Tap “person icon” in upper right
          • Scroll down to find YOUR account and Tap it
          • Be sure Allow Drop-In is enabled

      Let me know if you still have issues.

      Be sure to change the Wi-Fi on your Mom’s Echo Show when you get to the nursing home.

      The good thing about using your mobile phone to call her is that you can test it right there rather than having to go home to an Echo Show

  7. Great article! Thank you! But
    Great article! Thank you! But I must haved missed step or I didn’t turn something on…my mom can make outgoing calls on her echo show via her google number, but when I call it from my echo show or cell phone it rolls over to voice mail. I have looked in both the alexa app with her settings and on google voice mail and can not figure out how to make call to her. Thank you for your help!!

    • Hello Patrica,

      Hello Patrica,

      I think you may have set it up correctly, but missed this part in the Test Section about how to call your Mom's Echo Show

      On your Echo Show say “Alexa, call Mom” (or whatever name or nickname you put in your Alexa Contacts). (Note: the first time Alexa may ask if you want her mobile phone or Alexa devices… choose Alexa devices.)

      The tricky part is that although your Mom now has a "Google Voice number", all that is really being used for is to "connect" your call through Alexa voice calling.

      It's really not a phone number that you can call.

      So when you talk to Alexa, be sure to say to call Mom's Alexa Devices, not her phone

      Please let me know if that solves the problem so that I can share it with others




  8. I want to thank you for the

    I want to thank you for the incredibly helpful how-to article you posted "How to Set Up Alexa Calling for a Loved On". My mother is 92 and is in assisted living. Because of the epidemic, we have not been able to see her since March. She understands why, but I know it has been very isolating for her. A friend of mine told me video communication was possible with an Alexa device so I purchased the model with the 10 inch screen. Honestly, I don't think I would've figured it out on my own–your article was exactly what I needed–even took me through how to get a Google Voice number for mom as she does not have a cell phone. The Alexa is now up and running and my family from all over the world is able to "see" grandma again. She was able to "meet" her new great grandson last weekend for the first time–it has been a blessing and would not have happened without your help. Thank you very much for the time you put into the article–I want you to know it made a big difference for my family. God's blessings to you and yours Frank.


    Bob S.
    Omaha NE

  9. Hi there Frank – at last a
    Hi there Frank – at last a good plain list of instructions. Thanks! Unfortunately my brother tried to set up Echo Show 10 for our mother before we’d read your article. All his contacts were transferred and now he can’t delete them. He’s tried blocking too, but this doesn’t seem to be working either. He now wants to take his own phone number out of the device (but how?) and ask someone else to try setting up. What’s your advice please?

    • Hello Angie,The first thing

      Hello Angie,
      The first thing to do is go into your MOM’s Amazon account and remove the mobile phone number that was assigned. I’m assuming that it is your brother’s phone number

      Then in your MOM’s Alexa account, you need to make some changes. You can access her account from you or your brother’s phone by deleting the Alexa app and re-installing it and logging in with your MOM’s Alexa account

      Once you are in there:
      •    Tap Communicate on the bottom
      •    Tap the “Person” outline in the upper right
      •    Tap on a contact that you want to delete
      •    Tap Edit
      •    Tap Delete Contact
      •    Tap Delete

      Sorry, I don’t know of a “bulk delete”. Also be sure when you later run my setup steps to NOT IMPORT contacts


      • Angie,


        I just tried a quick test for deleting imported contacts that "may" work for your brother.

        While he is in your mother's account, try disabling "import contacts" and see if it erases any of the ones it imported. In my testing, it erased some of them.


  10. Hi,

    I set up an echo show 5 following your directions (which were very helpful) for my grandmother, who lives in a nursing home. I dropped it off yesterday, and had a staff member there assist with getting her connected to WiFi. I know she is connected, because I see “recently active” under her name in my contacts. However, when we try to either drop in or video call, in both cases, the call connects, but we see no video and have no microphone. The CNA that was with her made sure the switch for the camera was toggled to “on.” Every time, whether it is me or someone else who calls, the call/drop in ends after 15 seconds. Any idea why this would be happening? It is difficult to trouble shoot over the phone with my 95 year old grandmother, whose hearing aids are currently being fixed. Other family members have tried and had the same problem. Any advice?

    Thank you!


    • Hello ElaineThe Echo Show 5

      Hello Elaine
      The Echo Show 5 is a little different than the Echo Show 8 or Echo Show Gen 2 as it has TWO privacy switches.
      On the top, to the left of the volume control, is one switch that is a toggle button that lights up red when the camera is disabled
      On the top, to the right of the volume control, is a slider switch that changes to red when the camera is disabled
      When you drop in on your Grandmother, if you don’t see her video, you should get a message “Remote Video off” below her name

      Now as to why the calls are getting dropped after 15 seconds, that is a mystery.  Maybe weak Wi-Fi at her nursing home or someone is taping the screen and touching the “End” icon
      If you want to see if “drop-in” is enabled on your grandmother’s Echo Show, you will need to log into her Alexa Account

      On your mobile device, delete and re-install the Alexa app
      •    Log in with your Grandmother’s Amazon account
      •    Tap Devices
      •    Tap Echo & Alexa
      •    Tap on her Echo Show 5 name
      •    Tap Communications
      •    Be sure “Drop In” is enabled
      •    Tap Communicate 
      •    Tap on the “person” in upper right
      •    Tap on her name
      •    Under permissions- be sure “Allow Drop In” is on
      •    Under “People who can drop in”- be sure your name is in there

      Let me know if this solves the problem so I can share with others

      • Thank you for responding. I
        Thank you for responding. I didn’t realize there were 2 toggle switches on top of the device. One or both of them is in the wrong position, as it does say “remote video off” below her name when I connect with the drop in.

        I have an email out to the social worker at the nursing home to try to correct this. As for the drop in settings, everything is correct. I asked her if they’re still having phone/internet issues that might explain why the calls always end at 15 seconds. I am hopefully speaking with her in the next couple of days and will have more information, and I will update you after.

        One other issue I’ve had is that when other family members have tried to drop in, the call has come through on my cell phone number. I had to put my number in to get the text message to verify the google voice number, but had logged out of the amazon Alexa app, so I was a little perplexed as to why this happened. Again, maybe if there are still phone/internet issues, it’s using my number as a back up if the call can’t get through to the device?

        I’ll post an update when I have one. Thanks again!

        • Hello Elaine,

          Hello Elaine,

          The reason that calls are going to your phone is that your phone number was used when setting up your Mom's Alexa and is now assigned in your Mom's Alexa account. To verify this, log into your Mom's Alexa account and see what phone number is assigned… see steps below

          . That is why I recommended using a free Google Voice number in the setup instructions.


          Rather than doing a complete re-install, let's try this as a workaround.

          * Create a free Google Voice number using YOUR mobile number to accept it

          * On your phone, delete the Alexa app and reinstall it

          * Login with your MOM's Alexa account

          * Tap Communicate 

          * Tap the "person outline" in the upper right

          * Tap on your Mom's name

          * Tap edit

          * Tap on the mobile phone number and enter the Google Voice number you created

          * Accept the text you receive from Google

          You can now delete the Alexa app and reinstall as yourself

          If it still doesn't work for your relatives, try logging into your MOM's Amazon account (the one where you buy stuff) and change the mobile number to the Google Voice number


          • It is all working now. It
            It is all working now. It ended up being a firewall issue at the nursing home. We had to get IT involved to change some settings to allow the calls to get through. Thanks again for writing this article and for all the help. My grandmother is isolated to her room (On the 6th floor) because of covid cases on her floor, so this is huge so all the family can see and talk with her.


          • Hi Elaine,

            Hi Elaine,

            I ran into a person having the same issue in a facility.

            Would it be possible for you to ask the IT staff what they did to resolve this? 



          • Hi Frank. Did you ever find
            Hi Frank. Did you ever find out what changes were made to the security settings?

          • Hi Lisa,

            Hi Lisa,

            I didn't get a response from Elaine on the actual solution, but I did get these requirements from Amazon Support that you can share with the facility's IT staff.

            These ports need to be open on the firewall:


            Please let me know if this solves your issue.

  11. great article – one question
    great article – one question – near the top of the article the 3 different versions of echo show are pictured. The echo show (10) has the date included on the screen. I just bought a 2nd gen this week, but there is no option for date under the “wallpaper & clock” setting. Other sites indicate that there is a “home & clock” setting which has a date option – but not so on the echo show 10 (2nd gen). Please share how you got the date to show on the home screen – thx!

    • Hello Nick,

      Hello Nick,

      That is a great question and one where Amazon doesn't provide a good answer. There is no "direct" setting  for making the "date" available on the Echo Show in "Wallpaper & Clock", except in the Echo Show 5

      … it has been a requested feature for years here… Amazon Device Forum 

      The clock with date will show up as the screen "rotates" through displays of selections you have made in "Settings" (if you have Rotate Continuously enabled in Settings- Home Content)

      For example, on the Echo Show Gen 2 & Echo Show 8 you should see the following rotating content:    (Echo Show 5 is different)

      * Time & Weather in upper left corner

      * Time & Weather in upper left corner plus week's weather on center of display (if weather forecast is enabled)

      * Large Time & weather & date in lower left (It should actually spend most of it's time on this screen)

      You might check for software updates under Settings- Device Options- Check for Software Updates

      Mine is running Fire OS (658657020)

      One other thing that you could do if you just want this display-> * Large Time & weather & date in lower left , is turn turn on "Do Not Disturb".

      This is avilable in "swipe down from the top". You can still talk to Alexa, but others won't be able to call you



      • I just set up an Echo Show 8

        I just set up an Echo Show 8 for my elderly father in his room in assisted living. There is an Alexa skill called (unfortunately rather generically) "Screensaver" ( that provides a display with the time (with a.m./p.m. indicator), day of week, and date including year. This has been great, because I had also been investigating clocks that showed my Dad the time of day, day of week, etc. but now I can do both video calls and have the Echo Show's default display also be a calendar clock for him.

        This Alexa skill is very configurable and you can choose background, the text formatting, etc. I chose simple white text on black background. It's very easy to read, from across the room. I tested Drop in, and the screensaver does not impede Drop In calls in any way. The only thing I've found is that occasionally the Echo Show's own Home display will resume for some unknown reason. I resolve that by creating an Alexa routine in my Dad's Alexa account (which I manage on the Alexa app on my phone) to turn on the screensaver every morning before he wakes up, just in case it has reverted to the default Home display.

        Hope this helps!