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How to set up an Echo Show to show you the least amount of crap

Amazon’s Echo Show smart displays are genuinely great devices. For between $90 and $250 (often much cheaper with Amazon’s perma-sales), you get a smart speaker with a touchscreen that can play music, show you photos, fire up a video call with friends and family, act as a security camera, double as a Bluetooth speaker, and control your smart locks, lights and security cameras.

However, there is a big caveat: Amazon’s hardware is heavily subsidized by its services, and when you buy an Echo Show, you are essentially bringing a little billboard for Amazon’s services into your home. If you use it as is out of the box, you’ll be bombarded with so much bloatware encouraging you to use Amazon’s services that you may well be tempted to unplug it and hide it in a drawer. 

When you buy an Echo Show, you’re bringing a little billboard for Amazon’s services into your home

But don’t! Echo Shows are useful gadgets (read our reviews for more on this), and it is easy to get rid of all this bloatware and set up a Show to just show pretty pictures and no Amazon ads. Here, I’ll show you how to set up your Show to be less annoying.

(Note: There is currently no simple way to turn off the “By the way…” — voice responses Alexa gives from time to time, often designed to sell you more services. However, I have it on good authority that if you shout angrily at it when it does this, it will do it less often.)

You can set the Show to display personal photos or a selection of nature, travel, art, or seasonal options.
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

You can tweak these photo settings directly in the Alexa app at any time. Just open the app, tap Echo & Alexa devices, select your device from the list, tap Settings, and scroll down to Photo Display.

Enjoy your Amazon ad-free smart display!

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