How to set up Alexa’s new Map View, and why you’ll need one of these iOS devices

Map View on the Amazon Alexa app

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The Amazon Alexa app just got a much-needed upgrade in favor of a better user experience. Amazon announced that the Alexa Map View feature is now available on a preview basis on some devices to make it easier to control smart home devices. 

If you’ve ever used the Alexa mobile app to control your smart home, you’ve likely noticed it can be a tedious experience. Scrolling through a list of dozens of randomly named devices to find the one I need doesn’t make for a friendly user interface. Map View may change that. 

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“Even I struggle with this. Scrolling through a long list to find that device with a name I can’t remember,” Charlie French, Amazon’s director of smart home, explained during the company’s initial Map View announcements in September. “We knew we had to make it easier.”

Map View is a visual layout of your home, where the smart devices connected to Alexa are easily accessible. Using the Alexa app, consumers can create a map of the rooms in their homes and then drag and drop each smart device to its respective location, making it easier to find the device they need in less time. 

Map View will only be available on some devices. In a preview interview with ZDNET, French explained that LiDAR-enabled iOS devices are necessary for the room scanning process that creates the map. At this time, only iPhones 12 Pro and Pro Max, 13 Pro and Pro Max, 14 Pro and Pro Max, 15 Pro and Pro Max, and iPad Pro (4th gen or newer) will be able to use Map View in the Alexa app. 

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I’ve been looking forward to Amazon improving the Alexa app for a long time. I told French I have at least two smart plugs that are connected somewhere and working but I have no idea what their names are, making them effectively “lost.” My husband has woken me up from a dead sleep at least three times by mistakenly turning on my bedside lamp to 100% when he was trying to turn on a light bulb in the living room.

How to use Map View on Amazon Alexa 

A sped-up view of how the Alexa app scans rooms. 

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

What you’ll need: The Amazon Alexa app with any compatible smart devices added and a compatible Apple device. 

Open the Amazon Alexa app on your iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max or newer or iPad Pro 4th generation or later.

Open the Amazon Alexa app

Map View works on…