how to prevent alexa from recording private conversations

How To Prevent Alexa from Recording You [Step By Step]

In Amazon Alexa, Home Security, How Tos, Reviews by Tim Brennan

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.

prevent alexa from recording private conversationsIn this post, I’ll walk you through the process of how you can prevent Alexa from recording private conversations [step by step].

dropcap]O[/dropcap]K, ok, try to simmer down.

You probably heard the news that Amazon employees can to listen to your private conversations with Alexa.

And now you’re grumpy 😤.

While I have known that Amazon saves our recorded conversations for a while, this CNN report was a bit of a bombshell for some.

Don’t fret, grumpy gills. I’m here to help increase your privacy so you can use Alexa with better peace of mind.

To prevent Amazon from listening to your conversations, you need to update privacy settings in the Alexa App.

To prevent Amazon employees from listening to your conversations, you need to update two privacy settings in the Alexa App. Here’s the short version of how you do it: Go to Settings > Alexa Account > Alexa Privacy > Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa, and toggle off ‘Help Develop New Features’ and ‘Use Messages to Improve Transcriptions.’  

If you would prefer to see this in action, Today has a nice video overview of the procedure.

What follows is an illustrated guide with screenshots to help you disable the settings step-by-step.


So What’s the Big Deal?

If you have been following the news lately, there have been several reports as to how Amazon stores and keeps your video recordings.

This NBC news report summarizes the concerns of many customers:

CBS This Morning broadcast a general discussion about the impacts digital assistants are having on our privacy not long ago.

The good news? Amazon is responding with more and more options to help protect your privacy when it comes to Alexa. This procedure is just one of several things you can do to improve your privacy.


How to Prevent Alexa from Recording Private Conversations in the Alexa App – Step by Step

Step 1

From your smartphone or tablet, open the Alexa app. In case you forgot, the icon looks like this.

prevent alexa from recording private conversations

Step 2

Click on the little “hamburger” icon in the top-left corner of the Alexa app.

alexa private conversations

It doesn’t really look like a hamburger 🍔, but that’s what it’s called.

Step 3

Tap the Settings tab.

stop alexa from recording private conversations

And this doesn’t really look like tab 📁. What the heck🙄?

Step 4

Tap the Alexa Account tab.

Alexa Privacy Settings

Step 5

Tap on the Alexa Privacy tab.

how to stop alexa from recording private conversations

Step 6

Tap Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa.

Prevent Amazon Employees from Listening - Amazon Alexa App

Step 7

Tap on the toggle next to Use Voice Recordings Help Develop New Features AND the one next to Use Messages to Improve Transcriptions.

They should both move from ON state (green) to OFF state (grayed out like below).

prevent alexa from recording private conversations


Can I also Adjust These Settings on Amazon.com?

Yes! If you would prefer to change these settings via your computer, you can do so via the Amazon’s Alexa privacy settings page.

How to Prevent Alexa from Recording Private Conversations Using Your Computer

Rich DeMuro has a great video tutorial on how to do this, so I won’t bore you by typing the steps out here.


What Are Other Ways I Can Protect My Privacy With Alexa?

If you want more control over the data that Amazon records when you use Alexa, check out this post: Privacy Alert: How To Find & Delete What Alexa Records On Your Echo.

You can also visit Amazon’s Alexa privacy settings page that covers how to review your voice history, manage skill permissions, and more on how manage how your data improves Alexa.

Amazon also has a detailed guide on how to manage all of your privacy settings.

Craig’s Tech Talk talks about some additional privacy concerns with Alexa devices, including hacking.

I agree with Craig.  I’m not super concerned about this either. He hits the nail on the head by saying the risks are too great for Amazon. AND Amazon is doing more and more to address our privacy concerns.


Prevent Alexa from Recording Private Conversations  – Sound Off

Do you think it’s creepy that members of Amazon’s staff can listen to what you ask Alexa? Or do you think that it’s OK for Amazon to listen in to your Alexa conversations?

After all, they are just trying to improve Alexa, right?

Right???

I gotta say that while my well-documented crush on Alexa continues, this one caught me by surprise.

But is it enough to prevent me from helping to improve the product?

You bet it is.

I don’t think I’ve ever asked Alexa anything risque.  I am even OK with the fact that my data gets recorded on Amazon’s servers.

But there’s something about having real people on the other end of the line that I don’t like.

SO, yes! I also followed the procedure above to disable the capability.

I hope you found the above steps helpful, and I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

Cheers,

“Tec Timmy”


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About the Author

Tim BrennanTim Brennan, Technical Writer & Blogger

Tim Brennan [a.k.a. "Tec Timmy"] is a senior technical writer with over 20 years of experience writing for companies and organizations in and around Greater Boston, including GE and MIT. In addition to actively writing for this smart home blog, Tim is also a regular contributor over at UniversalRemoteReviews.com. Tim holds a BA in Journalism from Northeastern University. Brennan is a father to two sons, an active blogger, a Star Wars nut, and loves a good taco🌮. There is a strong chance he is developing a crush on Amazon Alexa. You can learn more about Tim here.