The smart home tech linked to your Amazon Alexa app can all get a bit messy and, as a result, you might find that your Echo-powered smart home starts to fall apart a bit.
With Alexa pulling in multiple devices and scenes from a multitude of apps and skills - often using room and device names that are exactly that same - it's very easy to confuse your digital assistant and create problems for your smart home voice commands.
If you're sick and tired of hearing Alexa say, "A few things share that name, which one did you want?" or "Please try again using 'percent' for brightness or 'degrees' for temperature" after you give a basic smart home voice command, then this is the guide for you - it's super simple to delete devices from Alexa.
Read on to find out how to overcome duplicate name and device issues and how to disable, delete or remove smart home devices from your Alexa smart home.
How to delete devices from the Alexa app
The first thing you should do, if you're having problems with Alexa, is to have a bit of an audit of the devices (and scenes) that Amazon's digital assistant has built up for your smart home.
You might find old devices lingering in the list from an old skill you used in the past and, often, just clearing up this list will get rid of some command confusion.
Through the Alexa smart home app, it's actually a bit of a time-consuming chore to remove devices; albeit an easy task.
1. Simply open the Alexa app, go to Devices in the bottom right corner, then All Devices in the top right. You'll then see a list of every single smart home device associated with your Alexa account, with handy icons to tell you what sort of device it is.
2. To delete a device - if you're certain you don't want it any longer - simply select it and then tap the Settings icon, top right.
3. You'll then see the details of the device, including the skill or app it was connected through.
4. Tap the trash can icon in the top right hand corner. You'll see a pop-up and you just have to confirm you really want to delete it. That's it, all done.
However, there is a quicker way, if you want to delete a lot of devices in one go by using the Alexa web interface on your PC or Mac, at alexa.amazon.com. Here's how.
1. Sign in using the Amazon account you use for Alexa.
2. Click Smart Home in the side menu and then click on Devices.
3. You'll then see a list of all the devices associated with your account. Simply click Forget and click the blue Forget button that is in the pop-up, to confirm.
The web interface method is much, much quicker than deleting devices using the Alexa app.
How to disable smart home devices for Alexa
There are occasions where you might not necessarily want to remove devices from your Alexa setup, rather stop your digital assistant trying to control them.
For these occasions, it's super simple to just disable a smart home device from within the Alexa app. Just use the exact same method described above, but on step 4 just toggle the Enable setting to off, rather than clicking that trash can icon.
When you do this, the device remains in your list of connected tech - down the bottom and greyed out. You can re-enable them at any time.
This is particularly important when your Alexa system is pulling in devices from multiple skills. For example, a Hue light may pair with Alexa through the native Hue skill, but also through something like SmartThings.
If you delete the SmartThings version, for example, you will see it disappear for a while but then it will just reappear when you next discover devices.
The trick is to identify a device's source - you can see where it's from by tapping on it - and disabling, rather than deleting it.
Disabled devices are listed at the bottom of your list, out of harm's way from my main 'active' device list.
How to organise smart home devices to avoid voice command issues
Many duplication issues arise from Alexa not knowing exactly what device you want to control when you ask a specific voice command.
For example, you might ask for the lights to be turned on in the kitchen, but have Alexa reply, "A few things share that name, which one did you want?", because you don't only have kitchen lights, but also smart heating, smart speakers or more.
There's a few things you can do here to make your smart life easier. Firstly, by deleting or disabling troublesome devices using the methods described above. The latter is especially useful for things like Philips Hue, where not only individual smart bulbs are imported when you link your account through the Hue skill, but room settings as well.
Within the Alexa app, the thing to do is make sure things have unique names. Make sure things are labelled 'light', 'heating' and so on.
Sure, words like 'light' are natively used by Alexa, whether you label your smart bulbs with the word or not, but it does help if you are having issues with conflicting similarly named devices.
1. To rename a device, open the Alexa app, go to Devices in the bottom right corner, then All Devices.
2. Find the device you want to give a new name to and tap on it, then tap the Settings cog.
3. Click Edit Name and type in the name you want to use.
4. Tap the back arrow and you're all done.
Have a play around with words and labels that feel natural and test out a few voice commands to make sure everything is now running as it should do.