If you’re one of the millions of people on the planet with an Amazon account, you’ve probably never come close to using all of its services, apps, labyrinthine website menus, and settings screens. Here are 19 tricks to get more out of your Amazon account.
1) Count the cost
If you’re logged into Amazon on the web, click Your Account then Your Orders to see everything you’ve bought in the past six months—use the drop-down list at the top to browse by year and see how much you’ve been spending. Via the Order History Reports page you can export some or all of this data in the spreadsheet-friendly CSV format.
2) Your music in the cloud
Don’t forget about AutoRip, which debuted back in 2013. Many CDs and vinyl albums bought on Amazon come with digital copies too. They’ll automatically deposit in your Amazon Music locker, essentially auto ripping the MP3s. Look for the AutoRip logo when you’re shopping for albums and singles on physical media, or on any music you’ve bought from Amazon since 1998.
3) Unlimited photo storage
You’re likely already putting your pics into Google Photos or iCloud, but if you’re a Prime subscriber with Amazon, you can get unlimited cloud storage for your pictures—head to Amazon Photos to see how it works. To be able to automatically back up phone photos as you take them, you need the Amazon Photos app for Android or iOS.
4) Deregister old devices
Unlinking your Amazon account from older devices you’ve lost or sold is always a good idea from a security standpoint. You can do this by selecting Your Account from the Amazon website menu, then Manage Your Content and Devices. Switch to the Devices tab to see all the gadgets you’ve ever logged in on, and to deregister any older hardware.
5) Hide certain orders
If you share an Amazon account with someone but don’t want that person to notice the gift you’ve just bought for an upcoming birthday, you can hide it: From the Your Orders page, choose Hide Order, and it disappears from view. Hidden orders still show up in search and if you click the Hidden orders link from the main Amazon account screen.
6) Check what you’re sharing
Did you know you had an Amazon profile page? It perhaps won’t get as many views as your Facebook or Twitter profile, but it’s worth double-checking that you’re not revealing anything you don’t want to—from the Your Account page click Your Amazon profile, and you can check up on what you’re sharing publicly, from your location to your reviews.
7) Go beyond the wishlist
Every Amazon account comes with a wishlist by default, but you can create custom lists too: Click Your Lists then Create a List on the web. There are three different types to pick from, but they all work in similar ways—shopping lists are for you, wish lists are for you and others, and idea lists are for inspiring the wider Amazon community in their shopping.
8) Share lists with others
Lists can be shared with other people as well—very handy if you’re wanting to give people gift ideas for your kids’ birthdays (or maybe your own). You can either click the Public button when you create a list to make it visible to others (and shareable via a URL), or click More then Manage list to make a list public from the actual list page.
9) Control your binge-watching
It’s a small change, but it might make a big difference—as with Netflix, you can turn off the Prime Video feature that automatically queues up the next episode of a show for you as soon as you’ve finished the current one. From Prime Video on the web, click Settings then Playback to find the option, with your choice then applied across all your devices.
10) Take Amazon out into the real world
One way you can use the Amazon apps for Android and iOS away from home is to compare prices in a retail store with what you would pay on Amazon. All you need to do is scan the item’s barcode using your phone’s camera via the Amazon store app, or if it’s easier just take a photo of the item—Amazon then looks for matching products and prices in its sprawling database.
11) Get better recommendations
Not happy with the recommendations that Amazon is serving up for future purchases? Log in on the Amazon, then click Account & Lists and Your Recommendations. Your Browsing History can wipe items from the record, and Improve Your Recommendations lets you rank and rate past purchases to further improve Amazon’s algorithms.
12) Gift someone an Amazon Allowance
This is perhaps best applied as a digital pocket money distributor for kids who shop online, but there are other applications too: Amazon Allowance lets you gift an allowance to specific Amazon users (via their email address), in the form of gift cards. You choose how much funding the other person gets, and how regularly, and Amazon takes care of the rest.
13) Install Alexa on your laptop
There’s now an official Alexa app for Windows, which you can make use of if there isn’t an Echo within earshot—once you’ve signed in with your Amazon account, you can manage your shopping orders, check on your upcoming schedule, and do everything else you do with Alexa. As yet there’s no official app for Alexa on the Mac, though there are web tools.
14) Try books before you buy
Amazon’s book preview feature is worth checking out, if you haven’t already discovered it. On book listings where the option is supported, you can click Look inside above the cover art: How much of a preview you get depends on the work of literature involved, but you can usually get a good feel for the style of writing and format at least.
15) Get help choosing gifts
Stuck for what to buy someone? Get assistance with the Amazon Gift Finder on the web: Start by specifying the sort of person you’re shopping for (their age, for example), then follow the prompts on screen to narrow down the search. It’s not always brilliantly helpful, but it’s definitely worth a look for some inspiration, and gifts can be filtered by price too.
16) Give back to the community
Even if you don’t want to pen your own reviews of products on the Amazon site, you can at least review the reviews, and make sure the better ones are nearer the top on individual product pages. When you’re viewing an item listing, click the Helpful button beneath any reviews that you think hit the mark in terms of describing what’s being offered for sale.
17) Follow your favourite authors
Like Facebook and Twitter, Amazon lets you follow authors that you’re interested in, and get speedy updates when there’s new literature on sale. To get started, head to the Follow recommendations page, where you’ll see a selection of writers based on their popularity and on your previous purchases. There are Follow buttons on individual author pages too.
18) Subscribe and save
The Subscribe & Save page is the place to go on the Amazon website if you want to save money on your regular shopping. As the name suggests, the idea is that you subscribe to certain items—whether it’s food or cleaning products—and they get delivered automatically on a schedule. You can save up to 15 per cent on the standard price.
19) Keep on reading
You might not know there are free Kindle apps available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. The overall reading experience isn’t as good as it is with a dedicated Kindle ereader, but your ebook reading progress is seamlessly synced between devices, so it’s a good way of getting through some extra pages when you don’t have your Kindle with you.