How to set up a Facebook Portal video-chat device and enable Alexa

JOSH EDELSON / Contributor/Getty Images
  • You can use Facebook’s Portal – a webcam-like device that records high-quality video and audio – to video chat with friends through Facebook and WhatsApp.
  • The Portal is designed to sit plugged in on a flat surface, rather than be carried around from room to room.
  • You can set up a Facebook Portal easily by logging into your Wi-Fi and social media accounts.
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You can use Facebook’sPortal device to video chat with friends, family, and colleagues. While your phone and laptop can do much of the same thing, Portal’s features — including a camera that tracks your movements and an array of microphones — set it apart in video and audio quality. Portal is more than a simple webcam — you can use it to cast and share photos, control your TV using it as a virtual remote, connect to Alexa hands-free, take notes with reminders and video messages, and more.

The Portal is designed to live on a flat surface like a desk or countertop and allows for you to move around and multitask without worrying about being in frame. But be mindful of where you put it. Avoid placing the Portal too close to sinks, stoves and radiators to avoid damage.

Once you find the right place to plug it in, setting up your Portal takes only a few steps.

How to set up a Facebook Portal

Unlike a tablet or laptop, the Portal doesn’t run on an internal battery. Before starting this process, find a good place to plug it in and follow the on-screen instructions once it’s powered on.

1. Select your language and tap “Next.”

2. Select your Wi-Fi network and enter your password.

3. Tap “Join.”

4. Tap “Next” and then “Continue.” Your Portal may need to download new software to start up completely. Once it has downloaded any software, you may also need to restart it.

Facebook Portal deviceJOSH EDELSON / Contributor/Getty ImagesYou may need to restart your Portal device after installing new software.

How to log into a Portal

When the Portal has finished downloading the necessary software, you can log in to your Facebook or WhatsApp to begin chatting with friends.

1. You’ll be asked to give your Portal a name. Tap one from the menu or tap “Custom Name” if you have something else in mind.

2. Tap the box next to Facebook or WhatsApp to log in.

3. Tap “Next.”

4. Follow the instructions and enter your account information for either application.

5. Some functions of the Portal, including Facebook Gaming, streaming service Facebook Watch, and display settings are only available after logging in to your Facebook account.

Facebook Portal deviceJustin Sullivan / Staff/Getty ImagesYou can use a variety of apps on your Portal, including Facebook.

How to enable Amazon Alexa on a Portal

After you’ve logged into your Portal with Facebook or WhatsApp, you can set up Amazon Alexa.

1. On the “Home” screen on your Portal, tap “Settings.”

2. Tap “Accounts.”

3. Tap “Amazon Alexa.”

3. Log in to your Amazon account to enable Alexa.

Facebook Portal TVJOSH EDELSON / Contributor/Getty ImagesYou can use Alexa on your Portal or Portal TV device.
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