How to stop your phone from keeping records of what you say

Even the biggest tech companies keep stumbling When it comes to keeping user data protected, this extends to giving us control over how voice command requests we send to our digital assistants are recorded and processed. So we thought it was worth revisiting the main settings you need to know on Android and iOS.

Here we’re talking about the three main digital assistants: Google Assistant (on Android and iOS), Siri (on iOS), and Amazon Alexa (on Android and iOS). For Android, we’ll walk you through the steps for the latest version that works on Google Pixel devices – the process on your phone may be a little different, but finding the options shouldn’t be difficult.

Google Assistant

If you are not comfortable with your Android phone always listening for “hey Google” command, head to Settings and choose googleAnd the Google Apps SettingsAnd the Search, assistant and voiceAnd the Google Assistant: He chooses Hi Google and Voice Match On and off hello google toggle switch under this device Title.

On the same screen, tap the three dots (top right), then Google Activity Controls. The next screen you see shows Web & App Activity at the top – that’s everything Google records about you, from where you’ve been on the web to the apps you’ve installed from the Play Store. You can turn this off completely via turn it off But it will stop logging everything across all Google apps, not just the Google Assistant.

You can turn off voice recordings in your Google activity history.

You can turn off voice recordings in your Google activity history.
screenshot: Android

To specifically stop keeping Google Assistant audios, uncheck Include audio recordings Box. From the same screen, you can view and delete the current data saved from Google Assistant by tapping the Google Assistant icon, or you can tell Google to delete all such data (including Assistant data) after a certain period of time has elapsed by tapping Choose the automatic deletion option.

The same options are also available to pause, review, and delete this data set on iOS and the web. Open the Google Assistant app on your iPhone, tap your profile picture (top right), then choose Manage your information and personal preferences: You can then tap on the three dots (top right) and my activity To access the Web & App Activity screen listed above.

siri

If you don’t want your iPhone to constantly listen for the “Hey Siri” command, you can open Settings, tap Siri and searchturn off Listen to “Hey Siri” Electrical disconnect switch. If you want to completely disable Siri on iPhone, turn off Press the side button for Siri And the Allow Siri when locked Toggle switches as well.

Alternatively, you can keep Siri enabled but make sure to keep as little information as possible after hearing and working with your voice command. He chooses Siri and search From Settings, then tap Siri and date dictation: Here you can choose Delete Siri and Dictation History To remove every trace of your Siri history from Apple’s servers.

It's your choice whether you want to improve Siri or not.

It’s your choice whether you want to improve Siri or not.
screenshot: iOS

The data you delete is random and not linked to your Apple ID (Full details here), but it came from your iPhone, even if it’s no longer attached to it. Apple says most of this data is discarded after six months, although some are kept longer to improve Siri, in an anonymous form.

You also need to be familiar with Improve Siri and Dictation option under Privacy And the Analytics and improvements In iOS settings. If this option is turned off, the history you deleted in the previous step will not be collected in the first place — nothing is sent back to Apple for review in order to improve Siri, not even randomly assigned and anonymous data since you left your phone.

Amazon Alexa

Alexa isn’t fully integrated into phones like Google Assistant and Siri are, but it will still keep recordings of your voice commands if you allow it — to “improve the accuracy of your interactions with Alexa” rather than something sinister, Amazon promises. If you are not satisfied with this, you can turn it off through the Alexa app for Android or iOS.

From the front screen of the app, tap moreAnd the SettingsAnd the Alexa privacy. If you choose then audio record reviewYou can see the records Alexa has kept of your voice commands, and delete them individually or in batches. If there are a few sensitive recordings that you want to erase, this is the way to go.

Alexa app recording settings.

Alexa app recording settings.
screenshot: Amazon Alexa

On the Alexa privacy screen, you can also choose Manage your Alexa dataAnd here you can stop recordings in the first place: press Choose how long to save the recordingsthen choose Do not save the recordings (Which will also delete any clips that are on Amazon servers). You can also choose to erase recordings from existence after 3 months or after 18 months.

after tapping Manage your Alexa dataAt the bottom of the same screen there is a specific toggle switch Use of audio recordings: Turn this off if you don’t want any of your audio recordings to be manually reviewed by Amazon to “make sure Alexa is working fine for everyone” (in Amazon’s words). You’ll get a warning that “voice recognition and new features may not work well for you” without this kind of training, but it could be a risk you’re willing to take.