If you have Echo smart speakers or a Ring smart doorbell in the U.S., Amazon will soon connect your devices to its new mesh network, Amazon Sidewalk, by default.
On June 8, Amazon will automatically enroll all its devices to the wireless mesh service, which will share a small slice of your internet bandwidth (around 80kbps) with neighbors who have Amazon devices and experience connectivity drops, and vice-versa.
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Amazon will automatically opt-in your Amazon devices to its Amazon Sidewalk feature, which means you’ll need to go into your Alexa app on your device to turn it off. Here’s how to do that.
How to opt out of Amazon Sidewalk
To enable or disable Amazon Sidewalk, use the Alexa app.
- Open the Alexa app on your device.
- Open More and select Settings.
- Go to Account Settings.
- Select Amazon Sidewalk.
- Turn Amazon Sidewalk Off on your account.
What is Amazon Sidewalk, and how does it work?
Smart devices are only really as good as their connection to the internet. Once that drops, you can lose much of its utility—you wouldn’t be able to ask your voice assistant about the latest shows to watch on Prime, or what the weather’s like today. In an attempt to solve drops in connectivity for smart devices, Amazon Sidewalk creates a shared network, or a mesh network, for the community to use and keep its devices online more reliably.
These mesh networks connect devices that might not have Wi-Fi through other means like radio and Bluetooth signals, which builds a shared network that supports all the devices connected to it, even if one device loses Wi-Fi connectivity. You might have a mesh network at home to increase the reach of your Wi-Fi in the “dead zones” in your house.
Read more: How to boost Wi-Fi at home for faster internet
Amazon is trying to bring this concept community-wide, which benefits them as it keeps their devices connected to the internet more consistently, and therefore gets more data from its users.
But the whole project relies on a large number of devices participating—if you participate and your neighbors don’t, the concept falls apart. Which is probably why Amazon is automatically opting everyone in.
Why you should consider opting out of Amazon Sidewalk
Amazon has gone to lengths in a security whitepaper to reassure users that the feature is secure. But it still relies on technologies that are insecure: Bluetooth has encountered several vulnerabilities in the past and is inherently unprotected, and Wi-Fi can also be exploited in a myriad of ways if not secured properly.
On top of Amazon being, well, Amazon, it’s hard to think of ways in which this can really benefit the user without compromising their home network security and privacy.
Do you use Amazon smart devices? Will you opt out of Amazon Sidewalk or stay in?
Read next: 5 ways Amazon spies on you (even if you’re not a customer)
I’ve tried to opt out several times & there’s no Amazon Sidewalk!
If I have Alexa on my phone and also on husbands phone, do we only need to opt out on just one of our phones and this will take care of both of us opting out?
No Freaking way why should I pay for MY service to be used by someone else I don’t even know this is crazy and is this even legal ? what about viruses and stuff this is insane and Amazon does not need to know more abojut me than I am willing to give. I am thinking about not even renewing my prime.
I would like to hear why anyone would not opt out. I am sure there are really really good reasons that one would want to share their life with Jeff but I am just too dumb to know what they may be.
Going through the app and there is no “Amazon Sidewalk” to be found. Anyone else run into that?
You are right Russel, There is no Amazon Sidewalk Setting. Once again, big business to redirect the consumers. Crazy, scary sign of the times. Amazon’s taking Control of the worlds distribution right before our eyes.
Super article. I just have an echo for sirius xm subscription from a car. Would this be accessible from the sirius site?
Would love to hear how to turn off this option on an iPhone. Don’t have Alexa.
I second that question. Once somebody gave me a free Alexa and I never let it in my house and I gave it away with a warning as I believe it’s a listening device. I would like to know how to opt out with just my iPhone. Also people, attention to the upgrades on the privacy settings for ring… Once I read it in detail I deleted the app because the details are horrible!
The thing Amazon is doing bothers me so I want to opt out since that is the way they set it up.
I downloaded the app, but in settings, there is no Amazon Sidewalk?
To opt-out of Amazon Sidewalk is thankfully incredibly straightforward. Simply open the Alexa app, click on More > Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk > Off.
Have you tried to do it?
I had no problems with the instructions. Worked perfectly fine for me.
Yeah no, I’m callin BS on that.
How can we opt out if we do not have Alexa app? How did they get approval to force us to opt-in rather than join?
Huh? If you don’t have Alexa, then how can Amazon opt you in?