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Stop Alexa From Automatically Discovering Old Devices

New tech is great, right? Especially when you’re upgrading from an older device model. You get it out of the box, delete the older model, install the new one, and voila!

But then you notice an issue. In a few days (or the same day!), your Alexa app is still listing the device you literally just deleted! This can be an especially frustrating problem if the device is named the same or something similar to your new device. 

Now when you ask your Echo to control a device, it gets confused and has to ask follow-up questions, or just not do the right thing at all! So how do you remedy this and get that old device to stop resurfacing?

Let’s quickly recap on what the Amazon Echo (and Alexa) systems are, and why this distinction matters in this case.

Amazon Echo and Alexa

The Amazon Echo is Amazon’s smart home hub. This smart hub and smart speaker in one is designed to help you connect and operate your smart home devices in a seamless manner. They do this by allowing you to use voice commands to control your different devices such as smart cameras, smart plugs, and smart lights. You can even add devices from different manufacturers such as Ring, Wyze, and Philips Hue.

The Amazon Echo comes in different versions, able to suit your particular needs. For example, there’s the classic Echo Dot, which also comes in a version with a digital clock display.

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock

Then there’s the Echo Show, which comes in different screen sizes, such as 5 inches, 8 inches, 10 inches, and the newest, 15 inches. The Echo Show 15, with an impressive 15-inch display, comes in tablet form. It’s meant to be mounted on a wall as opposed to being a standalone device, like the other versions of the Echo Show.

The brains behind the Amazon Echo is the Alexa app:

Alexa App Home Screen and More Button
Alexa App Home Screen

Here is where all of the information your Echo needs, is stored. The Alexa app is also where you set up all of your smart home devices:

Devices in the Alexa App
Devices in the Alexa App

Once you’ve added your devices to the Alexa app, a world of possibilities opens up to you. You even have the choice of creating groups of devices, such as Living Room or Bedroom. You can also incorporate them into various routines in order to get your smart home to run smoothly. 

One great aspect of the Alexa app is the fact that you can use various devices from different manufacturers to work together cohesively. This is done by using Skills in the Alexa app.

Skills in the Alexa App

Skills are a feature in the Alexa app that allows for enhanced compatibility between your Amazon Echo and your smart devices. They do this by allowing (with your permission) your Alexa app access to the third-party app for more cohesive control:

Skills in the Alexa App
Skills in the Alexa App

Take Ring for example. By adding the Ring Skill to your Alexa app, you can use it with different Routines. You can also get notifications from say, your Ring Video Doorbell, via your Amazon Echo.

If you have an Amazon Echo Show, you can actually see footage from your smart cameras via the Amazon Echo Show’s screen:

Live View of Ring Front Door Camera on Echo Show 5
Live View of Ring Front Door Camera on Echo Show 5

In addition, any time you add a device to your Ring app, Alexa will be notified and automatically add the device to your Alexa app’s list of devices as well.

The same thing happens when it comes to smart lights, as well as any other smart devices you have. Once you add the Skill in the Alexa app, the device will automatically add it to your Alexa app and will send you a notification.

Because they connect your Alexa app to these third-party apps, they may also play a role when it comes to deleting old smart devices.

Alexa Keeps Rediscovering Old Devices – How to Stop It

Sometimes we upgrade our devices. Say, you have an older Ring Doorbell, and you now want to replace it with a newer one. You set the new one up in the Ring app, then delete it from your Alexa app. According to the Ring app, you’re all set. But what about the Alexa app?

Some users have reported that Alexa will dig up old devices, even after you’ve deleted them, and cause them to reappear. This can become a problem if you’re using voice commands, as well as when it comes to routines. Two of the same device can be beyond annoying. 

There are many schools of thought as to why the Alexa app keeps doing this. Perhaps it detects the device in one location and assumes that it’s still in use. Being connected via Skills, the app could also be just doing what it does – detecting devices that are connected or recently active, and adding them to the app for ‘convenience’ sake.

Regardless, this happens, and we’re all getting tired of it! So now, how do you stop it?

Delete Devices From Apps

One way to attempt to stop this issue is to first make sure the old device is completely removed from its respective app.

For example, if it’s a LIFX bulb, delete it from the LIFX app first. Or, if it’s a Ring camera, delete it from the Ring app first. You would go into your device’s app, go to the particular device, and delete it:

Where to Remove Device in the Ring App
Where to Remove Device in the Ring App

By deleting it from its respective app first, Alexa has less of a chance of ‘discovering’ it and adding it back to the Alexa app. Next, delete it from the Alexa app:

Remove Device from Alexa App
Remove Device from Alexa App

It’s also a good idea to either unplug or remove batteries from said device as well. If it’s a bulb, remove it from the light socket. No power means even less of a chance your Alexa will pick up on it again.

As an added measure, delete the particular Skill from the Alexa app as well:

  • First, delete the device from its appropriate app.
  • Next, delete that particular Skill – unless of course you still need it for other devices. You can delete skills by launching the Alexa app, clicking “More” then “Skills & Games”. Click “Your Skills”, then click your skill. Finally, click the “Disable Skill” button (see below).
  • After that, delete the device from the Alexa app.
  • Force close and restart your Alexa app to make sure the changes have taken effect.

A screenshot from the Alexa app, showing the “Disable Skill” option, is below:

The Disable Skill option within the Alexa app in this case for the Kasa skill
The Disable Skill option within the Alexa app in this case for the Kasa skill

Deleting Amazon Devices

Another option you can explore is going to remove your devices from your Amazon account online, as opposed to the Alexa app. It’s to be noted, though, that going into your Amazon account online only affects Amazon devices such as Echos, Fire Tablets, and TVs:

Amazon Devices Online
Amazon Devices Online

Some users have reported that deleting their old Amazon devices from their Amazon account online has yielded better results than just going into the app.

To do this, go to Amazon.com, and make sure you’re signed in. At the top, right hand of the screen, hold your mouse or pointer over where it says “Hello, [your name]. Accounts & Lists”. Then go down to where it says “Content and Devices”:

Amazon Account Content and Devices
Amazon Account Content and Devices

On the next screen, choose the Devices tab, and you’ll see all of your Amazon devices. From here you can de-register one or more from your account, and delete the device you want to get rid of:

Where to Deregister Amazon Device
Where to Deregister Amazon Device

Delete Devices via Amazon Alexa Online

We’re so used to accessing Alexa via our smart devices such as our smartphones, tablets, and iPads, that few know you can also access it online. You first go to your browser and navigate to alexa.amazon.com. From there, you’ll be prompted to sign in.

Once you’re on the home page, go to the three horizontal lines at the top, left-hand corner. Choose Smart Home from the side menu that opens:

Smart Home Button on Alexa Online
Smart Home Button on Alexa Online

On the next screen, go to Devices. After that, you’ll see a list of all of the devices that are connected to your Alexa app. Instead of individually selecting each device as you would in the Alexa app, here, you can delete multiple devices from one screen:

Devices in Alexa Online
Devices in Alexa Online

Together with removing the device from its respective app first, many users have reported success doing it this way. All Echo devices and the Alexa app get the message, and the device is no longer discovered.

Disabling Your Old Devices

If Alexa keeps rediscovering your old devices no matter what you do, you may try disabling these devices instead.

Disabling your smart devices moves them to a different part of the app where they will no longer be recalled via voice commands.

Go into your Alexa, app, then to Devices, then to the particular device you’re trying to disable. Once you’re on its screen, tap the gear icon in the top right hand of the screen to go to Settings.

On the next screen, toggle the Enabled button in order to disable it:

Disabling Device in Alexa app
Disabling Device in Alexa app

To further make sure you don’t see this device in routines or responding to voice commands, it would be a good idea to rename it as well.

Alternative Smart Home Hubs

Let’s say despite your best efforts, your old devices still keep reappearing. You’re done with Alexa digging up old devices to confuse you – understandable! Perhaps you want to try out a different smart home hub to see if that would yield better results. There are a few popular options you can choose from.

One option is Samsung SmartThings:

SmartThings 3rd Generation Home Hub box and SmartThings phone app
SmartThings home hub (3rd gen) plus mobile app.

It has a lot of the same capabilities that the Amazon Echo does, such as allowing you to connect different smart devices from different manufacturers. It supports Wi-Fi and Zigbee, and the interface allows you to delete devices without them reappearing.

Another one you can explore is Google Nest:

The Google Nest Mini (2nd generation) on a table, processing the command "Ok Google, play Skies and Shadows"
Google Nest Mini processing the command “Ok Google, play Skies and Shadows”

It’s been gaining more popularity in the smart home sector and works well with several smart devices. In addition, their compatibility list is expanding.

Apple HomeKit is another option, but compatibility is more limited. Apple tends to be exclusive, and that’s definitely the case here. Deleting devices may not be an issue, but finding smart devices that work with it, might be.

Out with the Old

Alexa trying to hold onto old devices is definitely annoying! Fortunately, there are a few ways you can get your Alexa app to stop rediscovering old, unused devices. Deleting these devices from their respective apps, or deleting them in Alexa online have seemed to work for some.

If, however, Alexa keeps digging them out of the grave, it may be time to explore a different smart home hub such as Samsung SmartThings or Google Nest Home.

About Yvette Griffith

Yvette is a freelance writer who also happens to be a smart home enthusiast! She owns several smart home gadgets like strip lights, smart bulbs, cameras, and more! With a knack for troubleshooting device issues, she’s been the go-to for family and friends for all kinds of tech-related issues - dating back to VCR’s!

Here on Smart Home Point, she shares her knowledge with the world in hopes it’ll help you create and maintain your smart home.

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