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How to customize the home screen on your Echo Show or Spot – CNET

With the first several Amazon Alexa speakers, the most you could hope to personalize or customize their appearance was by disguising it with a case or wrapping them with a vinyl skin. The newer generation of Alexa speakers, however, are dominated by touchscreen displays.

With the Echo Show ($149.99 at Amazon.com) and Echo Spot ($129.99 at Amazon.com), you’ll likely be less worried about changing its physical appearance and more apt to tweak its home screen to your personal preferences. Here’s how to do just that.

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How to change the Echo Show and Echo Spot home screen

Customizing the appearance of the home screen on the Echo Show or Spot is mostly straightforward.

  • Swipe down from the top of the display and select Settings (the cog icon).
  • Scroll down and select Home & Clock.
  • Select Clock.
  • Choose between Recent Clocks, Modern, Playful, Photography, Classic and Personal Photos.

No matter which category you select, there are multiple configurations to choose between. For instance, if you select Classic, there are five different clocks to choose from: Zen, School House, Kaleidoscope, Texture and Stellar. These clocks have different backgrounds that will cycle by default. If you’d rather it stick to a single background, swipe to a clock and tap the edit button (the pencil icon) at the top and select Background. Scroll through the different options available and tap the check mark to save.

Likewise, you can also customize how the clock face actually looks. There are several different clock faces to choose from, which range from minimalist analog faces to modern digital clocks. To choose a different clock face, tap the edit button once more and select Clock Face. Scroll to the one you like and tap the check mark. While editing a particular clock, you can also opt to show the date.

One of the more unique and clever clocks available is Orbit (found under the Playful category). The default clock face for Orbit shows the standard hour marks and has three planets that “orbit” around the face. The smallest planet is the second hand, the medium-size planet is the minute hand and the largest is the hour hand.

customize-echo-spot Taylor Martin/CNET

If you select Personal Photos, you will either need to be signed up for Prime Photos or use the Alexa app. You can select different photos from your Prime Photos account directly from the speaker by going to Settings > Home & Clock > Clock > Personal Photos > Background > Prime Photos. However, if you want to load a photo directly from your phone, select Alexa App Photo instead of Prime Photos. To sideload your photo, open the Alexa app and go to Settings > [Your Echo Show/Spot] > Home Screen Background, select a photo and tap Upload. After just a few seconds, the photo will appear as the background image on your Alexa speaker.

How to change what shows on your Echo Show or Spot home screen

Your Echo Show or Echo Spot can show you more information than just the time, of course. This information is referred to as Home Cards. To choose which cards show on your home screen, swipe down from the home screen once more and select Settings. Go to Home & Clock > Home Cards.

The cards that can be displayed on the home screen are:

  • Messaging
  • Weather
  • Notifications
  • Upcoming Events
  • Reminders
  • Drop In
  • Trending Topics

In this same menu, you can choose whether the cards are shown continuously while only periodically showing you the clock or rotated through once when new information is available.

Echo Show and Echo Spot Night Mode

If you keep an Echo Show or Echo Spot by your bedside, you likely don’t want it showing all of this information at full brightness through the night. Rather than manually lowering the brightness when you get in bed, enable Night Mode.

Get to this setting by going to Settings > Home & Clock > Night Mode. Tap to enable Nighttime Clock. And below that, you can set a schedule for when the clock face should dim and when Nighttime Clock should turn off each day.