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Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, can be very helpful. But like any software, it’s important to protect your privacy, too. Plus, having friends “drop-in” unexpectedly or having Alexa repeat everything back to you can be annoying. Turn off these six Alexa features today for your privacy and peace of mind.

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Hunches

Alexa has been learning to ask you follow up questions. Sometimes, these can be helpful, like a reminder to set a timer. But if you’re on the phone or having a conversation with someone in the house, they can get annoying quickly.

To turn off hunches, open your Alexa app, tap More, then Settings, then Hunches. Slide the toggle to the left to turn it off.

Drop-In

This feature is pretty cool at first. Unlike a phone you call, you don’t have to answer anything. Your friends and family can just start talking through your Alexa speaker. The issue is that once they have access, they can do it any time! We suggest keeping Drop-In turned off unless you’re using it for a current conversation. 

To switch Drop-In off, choose Devices from your Alexa app, select your speaker or other device, then Communication. From here, you can turn off drop-in entirely or leave it on only for certain connected devices.

Use of your voice recordings

You may not be aware of this, but Amazon defaults Alexa users to opt-in on this. What this means is that without your informed consent, Amazon has your permission to use your voice recordings for their own research. If this makes you uncomfortable, here’s how to turn it off.

Open your Alexa app and tap More. Then choose Settings and Privacy. This will open a separate page where you can select Manage Your Alexa Data. Scroll down and switch Use of Voice Recordings to off. A pop up will open, asking you to confirm this decision.

While you’re in there, you can also opt to delete your voice recordings after three months. 

Camera

Hacking webcams of any kind is a notorious trick hackers use. To protect yourself, keep your camera disabled until you need it. If you’re using an Echo show, this is as simple as using the toggle device on the Show itself.

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Skills Permissions

Skills are a fancy name for apps, and Alexa has a lot of them! They may have access to anything on your device, including address and payment info. Although they typically default to off, it’s a good idea to check that nothing’s accessing your information without your permission.

Navigate back to the Privacy page where you turned off voice recordings and choose Manage Skill Permissions.

Turn of Parroting by Turning On Brief Mode

Does it make you nuts when Alexa repeats everything back to you? Brief Mode is the answer!

To turn it on, open your Alexa app, and tap More. Then, Settings and Voice Responses. Then use the toggle to turn on Brief Mode. You may want to turn on Whisper Mode while you’re here too!

What are your best tips for making your Alexa more privacy- and user-friendly? Let us know in the comments! We might share them in a blog post.