Smart home devices from Google, Amazon and Facebook are made to listen for your commands and respond to them. Usually, they only engage after you say your “wake” word such as “OK, Google” or “Hey, Google.” But these devices are always listening to you.
If that makes you feel uneasy, there’s a simple way to stop those. Just turn off the microphones on the devices when you are not using them or for a short period of time.
Here’s how to do it for each device:
Hey Siri, Google and Alexa: Enough with the snooping
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Echo devices, staffed by Alexa, are added with a microphone off button that you can turn off and on as per your wish. When the button is pressed, the power to the microphones is disconnected and red light is illuminated too.
Google Home, Home Mini, Nest Mini, Home Max and Google Nest Wifi
On the Google Home, press the microphone mute button on the back of the device to mute and unmute as per your wish. On the Google Nest Mini and the Google Home Mini, slide the switch next to the power cord which will display orange when the microphone is turned off.
Will Alexa stop recording you? Nope
Hey, Google and Alexa: How easily can you be hacked?
Not ready to turn off the microphone? If yes, then if you want to take a break from your digital assistant, open the Google Home app, click on settings then digital well-being and follow the instructions for scheduling some of your own time.
To turn off the camera or microphone on Portal and Portal Mini, slide the switch on top of the Portal to the left. A red light will alert you that the microphone and camera are off.
To turn off the camera, slide the switch into the middle position. You will see a shutter over the camera’s lens when you’ve turned the camera off on your device.
On Portal+ and Portal (Gen 1), press the circle button on top of your device. A red light on the front of your Portal then will tell you when the microphone and camera are turned off. You can then use the camera cover to block your Portal camera when you’re not using the camera on your device.