How to stop Alexa listening

How to stop Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant from listening

Wednesday 15 December, 2021

Does Alexa listen to everything I say?

Smart devices in your home, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Assistant, will always listen to you unless you intervene. In a recent TikTok viral video, a woman posted worrying discoveries about retained voice recordings. She discovered, not only was the smart device listening to her every word, but there was also a significant amount of what was said that had been retained and stored without her knowledge. 

How do I stop Amazon Alexa listening all the time? 

The following steps provide a guide to help you to preserve your privacy.

Stage 1: Deleting the existing voice history is an important part of the process to restore your privacy. 

  • Activate Alexa App on your phone
  • Open “Menu”
  • Open “Settings”, go to “Alexa Account” then open “Alexa Privacy”
  • If not already logged in, you will need to log into your account
  • Open “Review Voice History”
  • Select “Date Range”
  • Select the recorded activities you wish to delete (likely to be all)
  • “Delete All Recordings” for the period selected

Stage 2: Follow this process to prevent your future data from being used even further by Amazon.

  • Open “Menu”
  • Select “Alexa Privacy” open “Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa”
  • Switch the “Help Develop New Features” toggle to off
  • Ensure the “Use Messages to Improve Transcriptions” toggle is switched to off for all names

If you have the Google Assistant rather than Amazon Alexa, the process you need to follow is: 

Stage 1:  Again, you will need to delete the existing recorded activity. To do this:

  • Follow the Activity and Timeline section, then open “My Activity”
  • Open “Delete Activity By”
  • Select the first pull-down arrow “Delete By Date”
  • Select “All Time”
  • Select “Delete”
  • Select “Delete” when prompted if you’re sure you want to delete all data

Stage 2: Prevent your future data from being used further by Google. This can be achieved by following these points:

  • Go to “myaccount.google.com
  • Open “Data & Personalisation”
  • Go to the “Activity Controls” section
  • Open “Voice & Audio Activity” then select “Paused”

Ensuring that you have deleted all the previous activities that have been stored by either Amazon or Google, and preventing the devices from continuing to listen, will help to restore and preserve your privacy. 

Whilst devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are thought to be a useful addition to the household, their inherent privacy risk means that they are best switched off so they can’t constantly listen to you. 

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