Amazon, Apple and Google are always listening: How to opt out and delete your voice recordings

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Siri and Alexa are always listening, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have privacy.

Julie Snyder

Google Home, Siri and Alexa users are now more cautious than ever when speaking to their smart home devices, after a string of revelations that these companies have been recording and reviewing users’ voice data without their consent. Since then, Google, Apple and Amazon have either suspended the activity of having humans review voice recordings (they claim this improves accuracy), or have begun allowing people to opt-in or out.

However, if you’re still concerned about your privacy, you can put a stop to strangers listening to your voice commands and completely wipe all interactions you’ve made with your device. These options are available for Google Home ($84 at Walmart), Amazon Echo and HomePod devices. Here’s what to do.

Read more: 4 iOS 15 privacy features you should know: Siri, Mail and more


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Keep Amazon, Google and Apple employees from listening in

Amazon: You can put a stop to Amazon employees listening to your voice recordings. In the Alexa app, go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data. From here, turn off the toggle switch that says “Use Voice Recordings to Improve Amazon Services to Develop New Features.”

Google: Google has suspended human review of audio recordings. However, if you’re still cautious, go to myaccount.google.com > Web & App Activity. Next, uncheck the box that says Include voice and audio recordings.

Apple: In 2019, Apple announced it would no longer listen to Siri recordings without your permission. The company can only receive your audio data if you choose to opt-in. If you opt-in and change your mind, go to your iPhone’s ($499 at Apple) Settings > Privacy > Analytics and Improvements > turn off Improve Siri & Dictation.

Read more: Google Assistant: How to improve your privacy by turning off the virtual assistant

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How to delete your voice recordings from Alexa, Siri and Google

Amazon: Amazon offers two Alexa commands that will let you delete your voice transcripts by asking Alexa. Just say “Alexa, delete everything I said today” or “Alexa, delete what I just said.”

If you prefer to do it manually, open the Alexa app and go to Settings > History. From there, you can delete individual voice recordings one by one.

If you prefer to delete your entire history, open the Alexa app and go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Review Voice History > Delete All Recordings for All History.

Google: To delete your voice command history, go to myaccount.google.com > Data and Personalization > Web & App Activity > Manage Activity > Tap the three stacked dots menu at the top of the screen > Select Delete activity by and choose from the options — all time, last hour, last day, etc. Tap Delete to confirm.

You can also tell Google to delete your voice command history. Just say “Hey Google, delete everything I just said

Apple: A feature that came with the iOS 13.2 update lets you delete all of your recordings. Open your Settings > Siri & Search > Siri & Dictation History > and select Delete Siri & Dictation History.

Need more information about keeping your information private? Check out how to further shore up your Google Home privacy settings, what to do if you have Amazon Echo privacy fears and these top five new security and privacy settings for your iPhone.

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