If you have an Amazon Echo or Ring, chances are you’re part of, a new service that is and donates a small portion of your bandwidth to power other Amazon users who live nearby — unless you go through the steps to opt out.
Sure, it’s a cool idea: People who own the, and will see increased range for their smart home devices, so they can be farther from your router and other gear, but still maintain a reliable connection. Plus, Sidewalk works with other Amazon users, so everyone in your neighborhood can contribute to that larger network — meaning, in theory, your device could be blocks away from your home and still function. (Specifically, Sidewalk creates a larger network for Bluetooth and 900MHz radio frequencies)
The problem is, not everyone will want to participate in Sidewalk, and turning off the broadcast isn’t as simple as clicking a button on your Echo or Ring. Plus, the public aspect has raised some privacy and security questions. Amazon’s Sidewalk network will use three layers of encryption, and Amazon seems confident that security won’t be an issue. But it’s hard to predict what the actual outcomes will be until the feature gets tested more thoroughly.
If you’re like me and you want to wait and see before jumping on the Sidewalk express, here’s how to disable the feature until you’re ready to opt in yourself.
How to disable Amazon Sidewalk
1. Open the Alexa app in your phone.
2. Tap More in the lower right-hand corner of the app.
3. Tap Settings.
4. Tap Account Settings.
5. Tap Amazon Sidewalk.
6. Switch Sidewalk off.