I live in Australia and recently ordered an Amazon Echo. As the Echo isn’t officially released outside of the US, it requires a few additional steps to get things working — however it works quite well, with the exception of a few features. This works well enough for developers who want to start developing for the Echo ahead of the inevitable Australian release some day! Here’s how I set everything up.
Amazon has recently announced that the Echo is coming to Australia and New Zealand in early 2018! So if you’re not in a rush, it might be worth waiting a little longer!
Amazon won’t ship the Echo to Australia, as it only ships them to US addresses. Due to this, I used a service from Australia Post called ShopMate which gives you a US address to send the package to. Once you send the package to that address, ShopMate will forward it to your Australian address for an extra shipping fee. Shipping the Echo from the US to Australia cost me an extra AUD$52.75 — expensive but not terrible considering the Echo ships domestically for free (so I was still only paying one shipping fee in the end).
There are a few services that ship items from the US to Australia, if you’d like to compare pricing:
Choose one of these services and then order your Echo from Amazon:
Once you receive your Echo, it needs a power adapter for the US outlet to work with Australia’s sockets. I already had one lying around the house, however if you need one, this is the sort of plug you’ll need (Officeworks). I’m definitely no electrical expert, so please seek expert advice before doing this if you are unsure. I can only speak from personal experience on this one!
The way to change your Echo to an Australian address has changed as of November 2017! Here’s the new, new version! We’re likely in the home stretch here — Amazon should be opening up shop in Australia by Christmas, hopefully bringing along their Echos officially by then. So if you’re thinking of developing Alexa skills for the Aussie market… get building! Now is the time!
You can now set up your Echo to an Australian address and timezone just by:
Going to alexa.amazon.com and clicking Settings > Find your device under “Alexa Devices” (it should be right up the top):
From there, scroll to “Device location” underneath “General” and click “Edit”:
Then, right click on the country dropdown and choose “Inspect” (this is on Google Chrome, on Firefox it is “Inspect Element”):
Click the arrow next to the code that starts with <select id=”data-device-address-country” to expand it:
Find the first country code value there (at the time of writing it is “AS” for American Samoa). Double click that value:
Change it to the country code you would like (e.g. “AU”) and then hit the Enter key:
Double click the name next to it and change that to your country name (you don’t need to do this for it to work… you could just change the country code and remember which of the countries you changed… but this is neater!). Then hit the Enter key again:
We’ll now have an updated dropdown which lets us choose our country! Take note that this is only temporary — if you refresh the page, it will go back to normal, so don’t refresh the page yet!
Choose your new country and then enter in your address below it. Then hit “Save”!
It should successfully save your new address! Feel free to close the developer tools with the X on the bottom right.
When successful, I receive this message:
If you see that message, it appears to have updated everything successfully! EASY!
We can also change our timezone using the options underneath there (no developer tools or fanciness required!)
To test it out, ask it things such as:
Previously, adding in a local Australian address did not work and you’d receive this error:
“Could not set your address. Please ensure you have correctly entered a complete address.”
Below is all the madness we used to worry about, if you’ve got the address updating successfully — let me know! Once it seems that everyone has it sorted and it’s working for a range of countries, I’ll remove the below madness 🙂
Remember… if your Echo is working now, you don’t need to worry about any of the below.
I’ve got a growing list here of what countries the Amazon Echo supports for local addresses! Let me know if your country isn’t listed there and it works for you!
Important Update! It now appears that only the timezone of your Echo can be changed to one outside of the US. Changing your whole address for other functionality no longer works as the Echo filters addresses to only allow ones in the UK or US. I will update my two Amazon Echo posts if I come across a way to get it working again but because this is on Amazon’s server end… it might be tough! We may have to wait until the Echo goes more global, which I hope will happen soon! If you end up getting the “User-entered device address and validated device address are not consistent; address will not be saved” error — that is the reason why, it’s not you doing anything wrong on your end!
What this means is — This method no longer works for most people. You can no longer set your address to be one outside of the US/UK. The only way that seems to work is changing the timezone at alexa.amazon.com’s settings as per the above instructions. If you decide to go ahead and give the below section a go anyway and it happens to work again at some point in the future, let me know in the comments 🙂
I have a method which uses cURL instead, it suffers the same difficulties around not being able to change the address though: How do I set the timezone of my Amazon Echo to outside the US?
CAUTION: There has been at least one case of someone no longer being able to use their Echo after attempting to make this work. If you do some of the steps below incorrectly, or if Amazon changes something, there’s every chance you can stop your Echo working. Be cautious. Most recently, it appears Amazon may be blocking this setting change altogether… so this may no longer work for you. Let us know how you go with it!
Remember, everything below this point is likely not to work any more. If you spot a way that does, let me know in the comments! I’ve been trying to find a new way but so far no luck.
To start, you’ll want to download and install Request Maker for Google Chrome. You will need this to adjust your timezone soon. it’s easier to install it now before you move to the next step (thanks to KMF for pointing this out!).
Conveniently enough, you don’t actually need an app to be able to set up your Echo. If you go to alexa.amazon.com, you can go through the whole setup process on a computer in your home network (or potentially a phone).
If you’d prefer to have the Amazon Echo app, you can sometimes find it on the web as an APK if you’ve got an Android phone. It appears the old link I had no longer works though. If you know of a better place to get the APK, get in touch!
The Echo can be set to an Australian timezone, however it requires a tricky workaround! Many thanks to David on this Amazon Echo forum for coming up with this solution and Tony Vid in the comments for improving upon it!
If you haven’t already, make sure you have installed Request Maker for Google Chrome. This is needed to detect and change a PUT request which otherwise isn’t possible in the Echo’s web interface.
Then, go to alexa.amazon.com and click Settings > Find your device under “Alexa Devices” (it should be right up the top):
In the page that appears, find your “Device location” setting and click “Edit”:
Add in a sample address. Choose one in an American suburb you might want to find out weather for, as this will be your default address for all the things we can’t trick the Echo to give us locally:
One you’ve typed in an address and selected it. Click the Request Maker icon in your address bar. The dropdown takes a bit of time to appear, be patient:
Once it appears, look for the “http://pitangui.amazon.com/api/device-preferences” request. Click that:
This will bring up the PUT request that Amazon made to save your location. We can examine this request and send it off again with some updated values. There are a range of values you can update here:
timeZoneId– You can find your timezone in this list. Mine was
"Australia/Sydney". This is the main one you can change to solve many of the clock issues. Make sure you keep the capitalization exactly the same as in this list, copy paste it exactly as it is there. Make sure you include the double quotes around the value!
postalCode(there are two)
temperatureScale(I changed mine to
You’ll update these values and click “Send”. If you receive a 200 response — it worked! Otherwise, try adjusting a few more values. Don’t edit them yet. Look ahead to after the screenshot below for the updated magic order that was discovered!
Throughout this process — keep
searchCustomerId and so on the same — these are unique to you!
This is section is an update made on 8th July 2016, thanks to Tony Vid in the comments!
In order to have everything save correctly on your Echo, Tony Vid uncovered that there is an order which might ensure everything does actually switch over to your local timezone.
Important: Do not change the
label value at any point!
Firstly, set your
timeZoneId, leave everything else as is and hit “Send”.
Then, add the following to your request (keep the
timeZoneId changed, each step builds on the last):
cityvalue to your city/suburb
district(most likely —
Then, once those have been sent, add changes to the following in the same way:
According to Tony Vid:
The Label will update itself based on your input above. Weather and asking for nearby restaurants all work. Asking for my location also gives me the correct information. – Tony Vid
In the end, if that all works, you’ll be able to ask the Echo “Alexa, what’s the time?” and receive the right time. You’ll be able to set alarms and such accurately which is also pretty useful! I’ve double checked this process and it worked 100% for me too!
This seems to be only available for users with an American postal address — you may have one of these already, if not, some of the postal services above might help! I can’t confirm this on my own end yet but it just might work! (Thanks to Darryl who led my thought process on this one!)
There’s a lot more still to be actually released from Amazon — a few of the address specific functions and Amazon Prime aren’t available. Fingers crossed Amazon release the Amazon Echo officially in Australia soon!
Got more questions about the Echo? Like, Is the Amazon Echo always listening? How does it work? Does it store its recordings? If so, can you delete them? Does it really only send audio to Amazon after hearing the wake word? I’ve got a detailed look in this article here.