How to delete all the audio recordings that Amazon Echo's Alexa has been making of you

Posted:
in General Discussion
Every time you call out 'Alexa' -- or your Echo thinks you have -- you get recorded and those audio snippets are kept. Here's how to delete them and why Amazon says you shouldn't.




Google has released a new feature that lets you tell it to automatically delete the data it keeps about you, but it's not complete. It's very specifically about your web and app use, and there is much else that Google keeps elsewhere. One of the perhaps most unsettling, though, turns out to be another one you can do something about. You can erase the audio recordings your Amazon Echo device has made of you.

You might well not have even realised that it's recording you if it weren't for news breaking of Amazon workers listening to the audio. Every Echo is not only listening out for you to say "Alexa," it's also then recording anything you say when you do.

Amazon says that it's to help with accuracy. "When you use your device," the company says in a warning dialog, "we keep the voice recordings associated with your account to learn your voice and how you speak to improve the accuracy of the results provided to you and to improve our services."

That warning dialog and its very long-winded way of imploring you to leave the recordings alone, comes up when you go to delete them. You can mass-delete all the recordings that Alexa has made of you.

Do take a listen

It's especially creepy hearing your own voice played back when what you said only accidentally triggered Alexa. Sometimes you cannot fathom what it was that the Echo misheard as that name. Sometimes it's a like a cheery little window back in time, a very brief audio diary.

Good or bad, fun or not, it's hard to see how Alexa stockpiling recordings of your voice can help it be more accurate the next time you ask for the weather.

Delete everything

To delete the lot, go to Amazon.com and sign in. Then choose Your Account and click on Content and devices.

To delete all the recordings, you have to go via Amazon and schlep through to managing your devices
To delete all the recordings, you have to go via Amazon and schlep through to managing your devices


The page you get next will list content such as Kindle books you've bought, but there's a tab at the top marked Devices. Click on that and you'll go to a page that lists one of your devices such as a Kindle or an Echo.

Click on the device name dropdown at the top to select the Echo or other Alexa device.

Then on the page that appears, click on Delete voice recordings.

You'll get that breathless explanation of what Amazon says it's doing with the recordings, plus a note that basically says the deletion isn't instant. "While a deletion request is being processed," it says, "the Alexa app may still display and allow you to play back the voice recordings that are being deleted."

It takes a few steps to delete Alexa's recordings, but it's quicker than doing each one by one
It takes a few steps to delete Alexa's recordings, but it's quicker than doing each one by one


Click the Delete button under that warning and you're done.

One at a time

If that seems a long way around to get rid of the recordings, it is. However, if you just for some reason want to wipe the last couple of things you said that were recorded, you can do that within the Amazon Alexa iOS app.

Within that app, choose Settings, then scroll down to History.

If you do just want to delete one at a time, or you want to hear what been recorded, go via the Amazon Alexa app
If you do just want to delete one at a time, or you want to hear what been recorded, go via the Amazon Alexa app


This shows you a list of all your recordings in chronological order, with the latest at the top. Each entry includes the time and the device it was recorded on, but it also includes a transcription of what you said.

Tap on an entry to see more. You'll get a page that repeats that transcription but also includes a Play button to let you hear the actual audio recording.

There's also a big Delete Voice Recording button.

It's handier to delete through the Alexa app like this, but you're limited to doing it one recording at a time.

Still, you could use the app to see what's been recorded and then do the en masse deletion on Amazon.com.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    iOS_Guy80iOS_Guy80 Posts: 254member

    “Hey Siri” How do I delete all the audio recordings that Amazon Echo's Alexa has been making of me? “Read this article.”

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,289member
    and for controlling or opting out of voice recordings with Google (the default is "off"by the way rather than "On") since the editor brought it up in the first paragraph:
    https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/6030020?co=GENIE.Platform=Desktop&hl=en

    That's not yet part of the automatic deletion of stored data that Google now offers.  You can review what it thought you said, correct it, turn it off or on, delete it in whole or part, but not automatically delete on a set time frame. Google suggests it will in the (relatively?) near future. 
    edited May 17 MplsP
  • Reply 3 of 11
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,728member
    ...and this is why I don’t have any Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices in my home!

    There was a recent South Park episode that showed Jeff Bezos listening in to everyone’s conversations via their Alexa speakers. It wasn’t too far off!
    rotateleftbytecornchipchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,686unconfirmed, member
    "How to delete all the audio recordings that Amazon Echo's Alexa has been making of you"

    Step 1:

    Get a HomePod.
    cornchipchasmlkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 11
    LordeHawkLordeHawk Posts: 168member
    iOS_Guy80 said:

    “Hey Siri” How do I delete all the audio recordings that Amazon Echo's Alexa has been making of me? “Read this article.”

    Don’t be dense, you’re comparing different systems, it’s not Apples to Apples.

    Siri recordings are linked to a random device generated ID that cannot be traced to you.  Turning Siri off and back on in settings, generates a new ID and Siri loses her training for your voice.  Siri requests are processed in the cloud and your phone is ordered to perform the task locally, without sending data to Apple.

    Amazon can definitely identify you, as their services are not localized on device for your privacy.  Amazon So if the government wants to warrant your Alexa recordings, or a successful hacker wants to explore your personal life, it would be very easy.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    "How to delete all the audio recordings that Amazon Echo's Alexa has been making of you"

    Step 1:

    Get a HomePod.
    A brick does the same thing that the HomePod does...nothing.  The HomePod is also listening to everything you say and Apple also has access to your iCloud backups and data.  So if you think your data is safe with Apple, think again.  If people want something that is actually useful, they get an Echo or a Google Home.  If someone wants an overpriced and crippled device that can barely do anything, they get a HomePod.  Apple lowered the price and they still can't sell them.  Echo just went live with an awesome new feature called 'Away' mode.  It listens for a smoke alarm, CO2 alarm, or the sound of breaking glass and immediately alerts you. With connected lights, the 'Away' mode will also randomly turn on and off the lights in different rooms to simulate someone being home.  It knows your location so it knows when to turn on the lights at sunset.  You can even listen to the sound it recorded and the Echo can link to the Ring Security System as well.  HomePod will never be able to do that.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 7 of 11

    LordeHawk said:
    iOS_Guy80 said:

    “Hey Siri” How do I delete all the audio recordings that Amazon Echo's Alexa has been making of me? “Read this article.”

    Don’t be dense, you’re comparing different systems, it’s not Apples to Apples.

    Siri recordings are linked to a random device generated ID that cannot be traced to you.  Turning Siri off and back on in settings, generates a new ID and Siri loses her training for your voice.  Siri requests are processed in the cloud and your phone is ordered to perform the task locally, without sending data to Apple.

    Amazon can definitely identify you, as their services are not localized on device for your privacy.  Amazon So if the government wants to warrant your Alexa recordings, or a successful hacker wants to explore your personal life, it would be very easy.
    Apple can identify and track you through your AppleID and your data on iCloud.  In fact, the next version of iOS will merge Find My Friends and Find My Phone into one app for tracking purposes.  Siri data is sent to Apple because Siri does not work without an Internet connection.  Your phone cannot process anything locally because Siri tells you she can't do anything without an Internet connection.  Keep dreaming if you think your data is safe with Apple.  Guess what, when Apple receives a subpoena for your data, they will release it to the government and/or law enforcement.  They are required to by law and have done it many times in the past by releasing the cloud data.  In case you did not know, Apple is a big customer of Amazon Web Services for their cloud services.  If you really want privacy, get off the Internet and don't store anything in the cloud.  A successful hacker can get into anything.  But, you are not going to do that because you want the convenience.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    LordeHawkLordeHawk Posts: 168member

    LordeHawk said:
    iOS_Guy80 said:

    “Hey Siri” How do I delete all the audio recordings that Amazon Echo's Alexa has been making of me? “Read this article.”

    Don’t be dense, you’re comparing different systems, it’s not Apples to Apples.

    Siri recordings are linked to a random device generated ID that cannot be traced to you.  Turning Siri off and back on in settings, generates a new ID and Siri loses her training for your voice.  Siri requests are processed in the cloud and your phone is ordered to perform the task locally, without sending data to Apple.

    Amazon can definitely identify you, as their services are not localized on device for your privacy.  Amazon So if the government wants to warrant your Alexa recordings, or a successful hacker wants to explore your personal life, it would be very easy.
    Apple can identify and track you through your AppleID and your data on iCloud.  In fact, the next version of iOS will merge Find My Friends and Find My Phone into one app for tracking purposes.  Siri data is sent to Apple because Siri does not work without an Internet connection.  Your phone cannot process anything locally because Siri tells you she can't do anything without an Internet connection.  Keep dreaming if you think your data is safe with Apple.  Guess what, when Apple receives a subpoena for your data, they will release it to the government and/or law enforcement.  They are required to by law and have done it many times in the past by releasing the cloud data.  In case you did not know, Apple is a big customer of Amazon Web Services for their cloud services.  If you really want privacy, get off the Internet and don't store anything in the cloud.  A successful hacker can get into anything.  But, you are not going to do that because you want the convenience.
    It’s obvious that you didn’t research how Siri works.  So I’m addressing this to forum members that are interested in Siri operation facts.

    Your Apple ID and iCloud data are in no way tied to your random, device generated Siri ID.
    Your verbal request is sent to the cloud, processed into instructions and relayed back to the device.  The Apple device contains your data, it is not transmitted to the cloud for Siri requests.
    For example, if you ask Siri for directions home, your voice is sent to the cloud and processed.  Using your unidentifiable ID as a device reference, Siri servers instruct the device to open maps, look up your home address, current GPS location, and start route guidance.   Other cloud assistants access your location and address book from the cloud.

    iCloud backups are another matter, as they’re accessible to Apple and warrants.  I don’t use iCloud backups, I use a Mac and encrypt my backups.
    edited May 17 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    LordeHawkLordeHawk Posts: 168member
    Apple can’t give authorities something they don’t have, such as your Siri requests.
    edited May 17 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 11
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,462member
    Well, I was curious so I used the instructions to find and play some of my Alexa recordings. They consisted of “Alexa, turn on the fan” “Alexa, turn off the light” “Alexa, what are my notifications” and “Alexa, what’s the weather like today” 

    Cute thing was playing the recordings triggered Alexa to complete the request. All in all I’m not worried but I do watch WWE Wrestling and every time the female wrestler Alexa Bliss is mentioned my Echo Dot wakes up so I guess it records my lurid comments about Alexa Bliss and her tight little body.  B)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    LordeHawkLordeHawk Posts: 168member
    lkrupp said:
    Well, I was curious so I used the instructions to find and play some of my Alexa recordings. They consisted of “Alexa, turn on the fan” “Alexa, turn off the light” “Alexa, what are my notifications” and “Alexa, what’s the weather like today” 

    Cute thing was playing the recordings triggered Alexa to complete the request. All in all I’m not worried but I do watch WWE Wrestling and every time the female wrestler Alexa Bliss is mentioned my Echo Dot wakes up so I guess it records my lurid comments about Alexa Bliss and her tight little body.  B)
    Nice, lol

    I have a very dry and sarcastic sense of humor, definitely don’t want some things I say attributed back to me.  Would lead to some awkward conversations with authorities.  No officer, I wasn’t really asking for the number to a hit man, just joking.  That would be one of the more light hearted things heard...   😬

    For anybody that can’t fathom why privacy is important.  Go to google and start researching things the government wouldn’t like, enriched uranium, how nuclear explosion work, How to make a trigger.

    If you take privacy for granted, consider the plight of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.  The Chinese government is getting dangerously close to WW2 Germany in many regards.
    https://codastory.com/authoritarian-tech/uyghur-women-fighting-china-surveillance/
    watto_cobra
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