Amazon has gained a lot of bad reputation over the years due to its policy of collecting user voice recordings.
Like Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant, Alexa records and stores whatever is said after the opening phrase (most often just Alexa).
On the one hand, there have been speculations that Amazon keeps records longer than it should.
On the other hand, Amazon representatives are adamant about claims that Amazon has used and is using records to improve user experience and Alexa performance.
However, after Alexa accidentally posted a private conversation between a family and a stranger, the pressure on Amazon increased dramatically to improve the privacy of Alexa and Echo users.
Worried and disgruntled users also asked for more control over the recordings.
Alexa users were previously not allowed to completely and permanently delete their posts. However, Amazon is making strides in this area.
Finally, after years of pressure, Amazon is implementing two voice commands that will give users more control over the recordings that Alexa makes.
The solution is far from perfect, but this is just the beginning.
As mentioned, Amazon recently released two voice options for deleting your history. The first is Alexa, delete everything I said today, and the second is Alexa, delete everything I just said.
While they still won’t let you erase all Echo recordings, they are definitely a step in a positive direction. But in order to be able to delete recent recordings using voice commands, you need to enable this feature in your Alexa app. Here’s how to enable voice removal:
- Launch the Alexa app on your tablet or smartphone.
- Open the Main Menu and go to Settings.
- Next, select your Alexa account.
- Select the Alexa Privacy tab.
- Go to the voice history overview.
- In the section Viewing voice history there is an option Enable deletion by voice. Click on the on / off slider to activate it.
- Confirm your choice by clicking on the Enable button.
- Once you have activated this option, you only have to use the commands that Amazon has created to manage your history. At the moment there are only two commands that we are going to put next together with a description of what they do.
- Alexa, delete Everything I just said: A command used to delete the last entry in the Alexa history, the last voice recording you have recorded. Perfect to use right after you have made your query.
- Alexa, delete Everything I said today: It will delete all the voice recordings that you have made on the day.
At the moment, there are no voice commands to erase everything you have said in general or beyond the last day, but we will update you with any changes in the future.
Delete via Amazon
If you are really worried about your entries and want a more detailed solution, please delete them through Amazon’s Amazon Privacy Hub. This way you will be able to delete all your entries at the same time. Amazon launched the Alexa Security Hub as a place where Echo and Alexa users can learn how to manage the privacy of apps and devices, and what happens to their recordings.
If you still want to delete your Echo history, here’s the steps you have to follow:
- Launch your browser and go to the Alexa Privacy Hub.
- Click on the Privacy Settings tab.
- Scroll down and click on the link Manage device history for your smart home.
- Sign in with your Amazon credentials.
- Then go to your devices.
- Go through the list and find your echo and tap on it.
- Then click Delete Voice Recordings.
- Amazon will warn you that you are about to delete all of your entries and you will see a message explaining why this might not be a good idea. If you are sure that you want to delete the entries, click the Delete button.
Delete Alexa history automatically
Amazon has included an option for voice records to be automatically deleted. The setup only needs to be done once and then manual work is no longer necessary. Here’s how to do it:
- Still within the privacy settings, you can find the option Manage your Alexa Data.
- In this item, the setting for automatic deletion can be set to keep data for 3 or 18 months. Therefore, content before that period will be automatically deleted.
How to clear all your Alexa history?
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of leaving old voice recordings behind in Amazon Data History, there is a classic way to erase data from your Alexa devices, although it does involve a little tapping. However, if you delete the stored information from Alexa’s database, you may lost all the information based on which Alexa serves you and predicts your commands.
Still, here we show you how to clear your Alexa history and delete recordings.
- Open the Alexa application on your device and click on the menu button to open the sidebar. Select Settings.
- Select Alexa Privacy.
- Select Review voice history. Here you can enable and disable voice commands to delete voice recordings and view audio recordings held by your device.
- Select a recording.
- Select Delete Selected Recordings. If you want to clear all recordings from Alexa, tap Today, select All History, and tap Delete All Recordings for All History.
Don't allow Amazon to use recordings
If you’re still not comfortable knowing that Amazon can use a portion of the audio stored by Alexa to enhance the experience of the virtual assistant, there is a third option to disallow the use of this information.
On the same Manage your Alexa Data page, just disable the options within the Help improve Alexa section, they are:
- Use Voice Recordings to Improve Amazon Services and Develop New Features.
- Use messages to improve transcripts.
Amazon reports that by disabling these options, Alexa recognition might not work as well. However, it’s your decision how much control you want to give Alexa to control your devices and not your life.