February 6, 2023

I use my voice for a lot of things. Siri schedules meetings for me, silences my phone, and more. Tap or click five simple voice commands you’ll use all the time.

Amazon Echo can help you find your phone, lock your front door, and chat with loved ones. Tap or click the things I always ask Alexa for help with.

What are the disadvantages of an always-on device listening for commands? Almost all voice-activated technology uses a microphone to listen for a “wake word.” This means technically, they are always listening.

If you want to take control of your privacy, here’s how to stop your smart devices from listening in.

thwart facebook

Facebook sometimes requests access to the microphone for video chat and text-to-speech. You might not want to let Facebook control your microphone. You can follow these steps for any app that wants to block microphone access.

NOTE: There are many Android manufacturers, so the steps outlined in this article may be different for your model. If so, check your model’s online manual.

For iPhones:

  • Open set up application.Then, scroll down and click Facebook.
  • Toggle the green switch next to the microphone to leave Location.

You can also follow these steps:

  • Open set up application.Then, scroll down and click Privacy and Security.
  • Find the menu marked with microphone and click on it.
  • Find Facebook in the list of applications and toggle the green switch to leave Location.

For Android:

  • Open set up application, then tap application.
  • Tap on the app you want to change, in this case Facebook.
  • choose permissions. To change a permission setting, tap it and choose from the following options: Allow only while using the app, Ask every time, or Don’t allow.

If you decide to take a video or chat with a friend, go back to these settings and enable your microphone. You can always turn it off when you’re done.

Facebook logo.
(Photo by Reuters)

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stop voice assistant

Virtual assistants have been known to intercept snippets of private conversations if you say what sounds like your wake word. A study outlines 1,000 phrases that make Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google get it wrong.

If you’re concerned about your gadget’s always-on microphone, here’s how to turn it off. Just know that you are trading some convenience for privacy.

Amazon Echo

  • On your Echo device, find the button that looks like a microphone or a circle with a line.
  • Press the button. This prevents the device from passing voltage internally through the microphone.
  • If you want to use Alexa, just press the button again. You can always turn off the microphone when not in use or during private conversations.

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  • Open set up Apps on the iPhone.scroll down and tap Siri and search.
  • Toggle the green switch next to “Listen to ‘Hey Siri'” to leave Location.
  • you can also turn leave Allow Siri when locked to prevent Siri from being activated when the button is pressed in the pocket.
The new AirPods have the following conveniences: "Hey Siri" Makes it easier to change songs, make calls, adjust volume, or get directions.

The new AirPods feature the convenience of “Hey Siri,” making it easier to change songs, make calls, adjust volume or get directions.

google assistant

On Android:

  • Open set up app on your phone, and select application.
  • Under General, click assistantThen See all Google Assistant settings.
  • From here, you can click the toggle switch to turn on leave “Hey Google.”

On iOS:

  • Open set up application.scroll down and tap Privacy and Security.
  • Find the menu marked with microphone and click on it.
  • Find Google Assistant in the list of apps and toggle the green switch to leave Location.

Cortana on Windows 10

  • click start menu buttonThen set up.
  • click privacy > voice activated.
  • position microphone on the left panel and click it.
  • Scroll down to Cortana and switch microphone permissions to leave.

Cortana on Windows 11

  • click start menu buttonThen set up.
  • click Privacy and Security > voice activated.
  • Under Allow applications to access voice-activated services, Disable Cortana.

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Smart security systems listen too

Even home security devices have ready-to-listen microphones. You can disable audio recordings on two popular home security devices: Google Nest and Amazon Ring.

Google Nest

  • Open nest application on your smartphone, and select camera on the main screen.
  • tap set up.
  • choose microphone. Then, tap the switch to turn it on leave.

amazon ring

  • Open ring app on your smartphone and select the device you want to mute.
  • tap device settings followed by video settings.
  • Tap the Streaming and Recording switch to turn it on leave microphone.
A Nest Learning Thermostat displays the Google logo at a smart home on Jan. 17, 2021 in Lafayette, Calif.

A Nest Learning Thermostat displays the Google logo at a smart home on Jan. 17, 2021 in Lafayette, Calif.
(Photo courtesy of Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

your smart tv

If you want to stop your smart TV from listening to you and scanning your browsing history for channels, check out our detailed guide on how to disable these features on TVs made by Samsung, VIZIO, LG, and more.

Tap or click here to see the easiest way to stop your Smart TV from tracking you

maintain your technical knowledge

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today. “It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and tech questions for callers like you from around the country. Search it wherever you get the podcast. For your convenience, click the link below to get the most recent episode.

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Plus, how to save big with smart water tech, learn which files hackers use most, and the five worst tech gadgets that steal your privacy and callers like you.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” apple, google podcasts, spotify musicor your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here Or wherever you get podcasts. Just search for my last name “Komando”.

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Get more know-how Kim Komando Showbroadcast on more than 425 radio stations and available as podcast. Sign up for Kim’s free 5-minute morning wrap-up Learn about the latest security vulnerabilities and technology news. need help?leave your questions to kim here.

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