Gadgets

Change these settings to prevent devices from listening

Change these settings to prevent devices from listening

Change these settings to prevent devices from listening

I use my voice to do a lot. Siri sets up meetings for me, puts my phone on silent, and more.

An Amazon Echo can help you find your phone, lock the front door, and chat with loved ones.

What is the downside of always-on devices listening for commands? Almost all voice-activated technology uses microphones that listen for “wake words”. This 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 in.

fail facebook

Facebook occasionally 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.

people are reading…

note: There are many Android manufacturers, so the steps in this article may differ from your model. If so, check your model’s online manual.

Open the Settings app. Then, scroll down and tap on Facebook.

Toggle the green switch next to Microphone to the Off position.

You can also follow these steps:

Open the Settings app. Then, scroll down and tap on Privacy & Security.

Locate and tap the menu labeled Microphone.

Find Facebook in the list of apps and toggle the green switch to the Off position.

Open the Settings app , then tap Apps .

Tap the app you want to change, in this case Facebook.

Select Permissions. To change a permission setting, tap it, then choose from the following options: Allow only when using the app, Ask every time, or Don’t allow.

If you decide to shoot a video or chat with a friend, return to these settings and enable your mic. You can always close it again when you’re finished.

Voice assistants being paused

It’s common knowledge that virtual assistants can pick up snippets of private conversations if you say something that sounds like a wake word. One study outlined 1,000 phrases that trap 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 that you’re trading some convenience for privacy.

amazon echo

On your Echo device, find the button that resembles a microphone or a circle with a line through it.

push the button This prevents the device from passing voltage through the mic’s internals.

If you want to use Alexa, just press the button again. You can turn off the mic at any time when you are not using it or during a private conversation.

Open Settings app on your iPhone. Scroll down and tap on Siri & Search.

Toggle the green switch next to “Hear ‘Hey Siri'” to the Off position.

You can turn off Allow Siri When Locked to prevent Siri from activating if a button is pressed in your pocket.

On your phone, open the Settings app, then select Apps.

Under General, tap Assistant, then See all assistant settings.

From here, you can click the toggle to turn off “Ok Google”.

Open the Settings app. Scroll down and tap on Privacy & Security.

Locate and tap the menu labeled Microphone.

Find Google Assistant in the list of apps and toggle the green switch to the Off position.

Click the Start Menu button , then Settings.

Click Privacy, then click Sound Activation.

Locate and click the microphone on the left-hand panel.

Scroll down to Cortana and toggle off Microphone permission.

Click the Start Menu button , then Settings.

Click Privacy and security, then click Sound activation.

Allow apps to access Voice Activation Services, disable Cortana.

See also Smart security systems

Even home security devices have always-on listening microphones. You can disable audio recording on two popular home security devices: Google Nest and Amazon Ring.

Open the Nest app on your smartphone and select Camera on the home screen.

Select Microphone. Then, tap on the switch to turn it off.

Open the Ring app on your smartphone and select the device you want to mute.

Tap on Device Settings followed by Video Settings.

To turn off the mic, tap the Audio Streaming & Recording toggle.

Stories by Rhett Morgan, Michael Overall, Curtis Kilman and Kevin Canfield




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