I use my voice to get a lot done. Siri sets meetings for me, silences my phone, and lots more. Tap or click for five simple voice commands you’ll use all the time.
An Amazon Echo can help you find your phone, lock the front door and drop in to chat with loved ones. Tap or click for the things I always ask Alexa to help with.
What’s the downside of always-on devices that listen for commands? Nearly all voice-activated technology uses microphones that listen for “wake words.” That means they are, technically, always listening.
If you want to take control of your privacy, here’s how to stop your smart devices from listening.
Facebook sometimes requests access to the microphone for video chatting and text-to-speech purposes. You might not feel comfortable giving Facebook control of your mic. You can follow these steps for any app you want to block mic access to.
Note: There are many Android manufacturers, so the steps outlined in this article may differ from your model. If so, check with your model’s online manual.
You can also follow these steps:
If you decide to shoot a video or chat with a friend, return to these settings and enable your mic. You can always switch it off again when you’re finished.
It is common knowledge that virtual assistants can pick up snippets of private conversations if you say something that sounds like the wake word. One study outlined 1,000 phrases that tripped up Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google.
If you’re worried about your gadget’s always-on microphone, here are the steps to turn it off. Just know you’re trading some convenience for privacy.
PRIVACY SMARTS: 30-second check every Google and Facebook user must do today
Even home security devices have always-listening microphones. You can disable audio recording on two popular home security devices: Google Nest and Amazon Ring.
If you want to stop your smart TV from listening to you and scanning your channel-surfing history, check out our detailed guide to disabling these features on TVs made by Samsung, VIZIO, LG and more.
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