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Disable these 6 Alexa features on your Amazon Echo right now



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Alexa is becoming a fixture in more homes than ever. But along with all the smart new features, some are definitely worth disabling.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant are getting smarter all the time – Alexa’s third party skills add even more – and lots of hidden benefits can really enhance your experience with these voice assistants. But Amazon’s many features and skills are not all hits. In fact, to reverse of some features may make you use your Amazon Echo speakers and display safer and better than before.

Whether you’re concerned about privacy, do not want friends “come by“uninvited or just want Alexa to stop parroting your questions and commands back to you, here are six features that you should disable in the Alexa app right now.

Look inside

Alexa’s Drop In feature is a cool way for example friends to connect during continued covid-19 locking. Unlike a phone call, drop-ins do not require you to “answer” the call: Your friend only speaks from the device’s speakers. It sounds cool when you first use it, but it’s easy to forget that virtual visitors once allowed will have access to drop off at any time, without warning. If you do not endanger friends or family members who use the feature at inappropriate times, you should turn off Drop In until you want to use it.

From the Alexa app, tap Devices, select which device you want, and then tap Communication. From here, you can turn Drop In off or restrict it to specific devices.

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It’s nice to practically share a cup of coffee with a friend. Not so nice to have that friend “let you in” unexpectedly while you’re still in your pajamas.

Josh Miller / CNET

Hunches

Over the past two years, Amazon has very slowly increased the use of Hunches – that follow-up questions Alexa asks you after you interacted. Sometimes these suggestions can be helpful, such as offering to lock your door at night or suggesting a new way to use timers, but they can also be annoying and disturbing when you are in the middle of a phone call and do not want to tell your voice assistant to stop talking.

To turn off Hunches, tap More in the Alexa app, then Settings and then Hunches. A simple shift controls the function.

Use of your voice recordings

Frustratingly, Amazon still seems by default to select users in its application with our voice recordings for research purposes. Whether you, like me, are uncomfortable with potential for data collection of such a feature, or if you do not like the idea of ​​a real person listening to your daily interactions with (or potentially just near) your Echo device, it is probably the best step to turn off this feature.

To disable it, tap More in the Alexa app, then Settings and then Alexa Privacy. A separate page opens where you can tap Manage your Alexa data. Scroll down and turn off Using voice recordings. A popup will ask you to confirm the decision (Amazon seems to want you not to turn this off).

While turning off this feature, you can also consider setting your voice recordings to be deleted automatically after three months – an option that you can find on the same page as Using Voice Recordings.

Permissions

While looking at the Alexa Privacy page, another menu is worth reading through Manage Skill Permissions. Here you can scroll down to see which skills (Amazon’s words for apps and features) want access to everything from your street address and contact information to your Amazon Prime payment information. Many of these permissions are turned off by default, but from time to time it is a good idea to check what skills you have activated during the months or years of using Alexa, and if they have been given a one-time access that you do not want them to hold. forever.

To check these permissions, tap More, then Settings, then Alexa Privacy, and then Manage Skill Permissions.

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Echo Show 5 and Show 8 both have physical shutters to block the camera.

Chris Monroe / CNET

Camera

This is very simple, but it’s easy to forget. If you use an Echo Show ($ 180 on Amazon) make sure your camera is disabled or covered when you are not using it. Hacking laptops and other webcams is an infamous method of spying on people – one used by governments and individual hackers – and keeping your camera off is an easy way to protect yourself.

To disable your camera, simply use the physical switch on each Echo Show device.

Activate card mode

OK, this does not technically turn off a feature, but in fact, Brief Mode by Alexa, which parrots, closes your questions and commands back to you. It’s one of my personal favorite features, because Alexa’s parrots quickly get on my nerves when I play music (and I can usually tell that it misinterpreted my command immediately without hearing the voice confirm it).

To activate Card mode, tap More, then Settings and then Voice answer. From here, turn on brief mode (and also the useful whisper mode, if you choose).

These are my favorite features to disable on Alexa enabled devices, but what’s yours? Share some of your choices in the comments, or let me know why mine is wrong.






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