How to Pair Smart Devices to a Smart Speaker
Adding a smart speaker to your home can increase convenience, cost savings and ease of controlling multiple smart home devices with just the sound of your voice.
Now widely available and more affordable, smart speakers can provide a weather update, make lists, act as an intercom, tell a joke, play an audiobook or music – and can adjust your thermostat, lights and locks, and much more – all with simple voice commands.
In addition to retrieving information, these versatile and compact speakers are designed to interact with other smart devices in your home. For example, you can tell your smart speaker to turn on security lights, send a text on your phone and adjust your thermostat.
Think of smart speakers as a remote control for compatible devices in your home – but instead of pushing buttons, you simply speak the instructions.
With a maturing market, there are now simple-to-use, affordable and proven smart speaker options from familiar leaders in the tech space, including Apple®, Google and Amazon™.
Whichever brand you choose, it is common to use a smartphone and a corresponding “smart home” app to get started. These apps are typically available for free download and allow you to set up smart devices and easily customize settings. Note: It’s important to know that Apple, Google and Amazon each has its own app for pairing its smart speakers to other smart devices. Always check before purchasing additional smart devices on compatibility with your smart speaker.
While many of the most common smart speakers are similar, each has its unique capabilities and its own directions for setup.
Getting started is easy, with only a few (but important) steps to follow. Use this guide to learn more about how to pair your smart speaker with other smart home devices.
What are the various types of smart speakers – and key differences between them?
Selecting the right smart speaker for you and your home comes down to choosing what features are most important to you, including the size of the speaker. Typically, smaller models cost less and have fewer features.
The current generations of smart speakers from Google, Amazon and Apple feature the latest advances in technology. There are many similarities between them: The smart speakers respond to voice commands, interact with other smart devices of the same brand and play music, for instance.
There are models of smart speakers that emphasize the quality and fullness of their sound, especially playing music, such as Apple HomePod® and Google Nest Audio. Others are designed for use in vehicles, such as the Amazon Echo Auto.
- Apps are necessary to help you set up and operate your smart speaker, and include Google Home, Amazon Alexa™ app and Apple Home. (The brand of your smart speaker will match the brand of your app.)
- In addition, there are apps that prompt your smart speaker to respond to your commands and questions. These smart assistant apps include Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri® and Amazon’s Alexa.
The Google Nest Mini is the company’s standard and most affordable smart speaker.
Another option, the Google Nest Audio, is equipped with superior sound technology, which allows for louder and more dynamic playback of music and sounds.
Google also offers the Google Nest Hub, which features a 7-inch voice-activated screen with touch control. It’s a smart speaker with visual and touch elements that allow you to control compatible lights, plugs, cameras, TVs and other devices from a single dashboard. The next-generation Google Nest Hub Max offers a bigger screen and also supports video calls and group meetings with its built-in camera.
You can also watch YouTube™ or Netflix® and play music videos and songs – also see your personalized schedule, commute times, reminders and more.Amazon™
Amazon’s most well-known and affordable smart speaker offering is the Amazon Echo™, and a smaller version, the Amazon Echo Dot™.
Other options include the Amazon Echo Studio and Echo Plus™, which are designed for a heightened audio playback experience. The Amazon Echo Auto, for vehicles, is designed with multiple microphones that can hear you over your music and noise from the road.Apple®
Apple’s smart speaker offering is now exclusive to the Apple HomePod mini®. The HomePod mini uses the Siri app as a virtual assistant and has been designed to work seamlessly with iPhone® and other Apple products.Affordability
Smart devices are here to stay and have been coming down in price as new generations of devices have launched. They have achieved high levels of adoption and appear well supported by their brands – so you can be confident you’re making a safe and long-term investment in these smart home products.
Most standard-sized smart speakers are priced around $100, with their small-sized version around half the cost. There are no monthly fees to use the basic features of any smart speaker.How to pair smart devices with Google Nest
First, plug in your Google Nest smart speaker.
Then, download the Google Home app on your phone, tablet or computer.
(Note: Apps for the Nest and other smart speakers are available from Apple’s App Store®, the Google Play store app and Amazon Appstore.)
Once the Google Home app is downloaded and open, the software will guide you through most steps of setting up your Google Nest. Follow the in-app steps to create a “new home” to add devices to. You’ll need to enter a nickname for your home – but using your real address or other revealing personal information is discouraged.
Next, to set up your Google Nest, tap the Add icon (+) at the top left of the app to set up a new device.
Once the Google Nest and Google Home app are set up, you’ll be asked to set up Google Assistant – the voice-activated software used by Google Nest. (Google Assistant is the voice that responds when you ask a question or give instructions.)
The app will guide you in customizing settings, like teaching the Google Nest to recognize your voice by activating Voice Match.
Finally, to operate your Google Nest, say “Hello Google,” and proceed with voice commands.How to pair smart devices with Amazon Echo™
To get started using your Amazon Echo smart speaker, download the Amazon Alexa app on your phone, tablet or computer.
It’s important to note that “Alexa” is both the name of the app and the name of the voice you will talk to.
Any smart home product that works with the Alexa app can work with an Amazon smart speaker.
The Alexa app will allow you to pair and control settings for your smart speaker – as well as connect your smart speaker to other smart devices.
After plugging in your Echo device, open the Alexa app. Tap on “More” and select “Add Device.”
Then, select “Amazon Echo” and follow the instructions specific to your model of the device.How to pair smart devices with Apple HomePod®
First, download the Apple Home app and plug in your HomePod.
Then, a chime and pulsing white light will appear on the smart speaker.
Hold your iPhone or iPad® next to the HomePod. “Set Up” will appear on the screen; tap it.
Then, follow the instructions to choose specific settings for your HomePod.
When HomePod is finished setting up, Siri will greet you – and provide examples of things you can ask.Conclusion
Smart speakers are designed to be simple: You tell them what to do, or ask a question, and the device responds or completes a task for you. These versatile smart home products can be prompted to complete an ever-expanding range of tasks. From across the room, or across the country, you can monitor and control many aspects of your home.
You can help save on electrical and heating costs by controlling your thermostat, for instance. Or, make sure your home is locked and safe with smart cameras and security devices, all controlled with a smart speaker. Not to mention, they’re small enough to fit almost anywhere.
Using your smart speaker is as simple as talking – and pairing it with smart home products is a cinch.