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Amazon Alexa has transformed many homes since the voice assistant was launched in 2014, and it only gets more powerful each year. At Amazon’s 2022 product event, the company announced a slew of new products and Alexa features like personalized routines, custom alerts and even Amazon Roadside Assistance when driving your car.
To switch off Hunches, open the Alexa app and tap More, then Settings, then Hunches. A simple toggle controls the feature.
You can turn off Hunches using this method in the Alexa app, or by voice. Simply say, “Disable Hunches.”
2. Stop Amazon from listening to your voice recordings
Frustratingly, Amazon still seems by default to opt users into its program using voice recordings for research purposes. Whether, like me, you’re uncomfortable with the data-gathering potential of such a feature, or you don’t like the idea of a real person listening in on your daily interactions with (or potentially just in proximity to) your Echo device, turning this feature off is probably the best move.
In the Alexa app, go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data. From here, select Choose How Long to Save Recordings > Don’t Save Recordings > Confirm. Next, scroll down to Help Improve Alexa, and switch the Use of Voice Recordings to off.
While you’re turning off this feature, you might also consider setting your voice recordings to automatically delete after three months, an option you can find on the same page as Use of Voice Recordings.
However, for all of Alexa’s useful commands and skills, there are also features that make your smart speaker… well, not so smart. Yes, turning off certain features can actually make using your Amazon Echo speakers and displays safer and better than before.
Whether you’re concerned about privacy, don’t want friends “dropping in” uninvited, or just want Alexa to stop repeating your questions and commands back to you, here are six features you should disable in the Alexa app right now.
For more, get all the details on Amazon’s upcoming Prime Early Access Sale, a new second Prime Day coming Oct. 11-12.
More from Amazon’s event
1. Turn off follow-up questions from Alexa
Over the past few years, Amazon has very slowly been ramping up the use of Hunches, those follow-up questions Alexa asks you after you interact. Sometimes these suggestions are helpful, for instance offering to lock your door at night or suggesting a new way to use timers, but they can also be annoying and disruptive when you’re in the middle of a phone call and don’t want to have to tell your voice assistant to stop talking.
3. Control privacy and access settings for Skills
While you’re looking at the Alexa Privacy page, another menu worth perusing is Manage Skill Permissions. Here you can scroll down to see which skills (Amazon’s word for apps and features) want access to everything from your street address and contact info to your Amazon Prime payment info. Many of these permissions default to off, but every once in a while, it’s a good idea to check which skills you’ve enabled over the months or years of using Alexa, and if they’ve gained one-time access that you don’t want them to keep forever.
To control these permissions, tap More > Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Skill Permissions. From here, you can choose the data type you want to access and then toggle each skill on or off.