Have you heard of Amazon Sidewalk? If not, don’t worry – you’re not alone. This new technology from Amazon aims to create smart neighborhoods by extending the range of devices like Echo speakers and Ring cameras. However, it requires sharing a small portion of your home WiFi with nearby Sidewalk-enabled devices.
If privacy is a top concern for you, you may want to turn off Amazon Sidewalk. The good news is, it only takes a few simple steps to disable it completely. In this guide, I’ll walk you through exactly how to turn off Amazon Sidewalk in just 6 quick steps. Let’s get started!
A Closer Look at Amazon Sidewalk
Before jumping into the how-to, let me provide some background on what exactly Amazon Sidewalk is and how it works.
Launched in 2021, Sidewalk creates a low-bandwidth, shared network using a small slice of your home WiFi. For example, if you own an Echo device, Sidewalk can extend its range beyond your router’s coverage area by leveraging nearby Sidewalk-enabled devices to route requests.
This type of shared network is called a “mesh network.” It’s the same technology that allows whole home WiFi systems to provide strong coverage.
Amazon wants to take this to the next level to build “Sidewalk neighborhoods.” The idea is that these pooled low-bandwidth connections can help devices work better outside the home.
For instance, Sidewalk could help locate lost keys or pets wearing a compatible tracker. Or it could enable motion alerts from Ring cameras at the edge of your property.
Very cool right? But at what cost?
The Privacy Concerns Around Amazon Sidewalk
Opening up your home network raises some understandable privacy concerns. Even though the maximum bandwidth is capped at 80Kbps, about 1/40th of the 3Mbps needed for smooth HD video streaming, some aren’t comfortable with the concept.
And it’s true, like any technology there are potential risks. No security is ever 100% foolproof. However, Amazon has implemented multiple safeguards:
- Encryption – All data is secured using three layers of encryption that rotate IDs frequently.
- Bandwidth Limits – Data transfer capped at 500MB per month, about 10 minutes of video.
- Access Controls – Strangers can‘t connect directly to your WiFi or devices.
Still, if you‘re very private or security conscious, disabling Sidewalk may give you peace of mind.
Now let‘s look at how to actually turn this new feature off…
Step 1: Open the Alexa App
Like most Amazon services, you can manage Sidewalk through the Alexa app.
First open the latest version of the app on your mobile device. You‘ll see the familiar home screen:
If you haven‘t opened Alexa in a while, you may need to login with your Amazon credentials.
Step 2: Navigate to Settings
From the Alexa home screen, tap the More tab on the bottom right:
Next, scroll down and select Settings:
This will bring you to the Settings menu.
Step 3: Choose Account Settings
In Settings, tap on Account Settings:
This is the second option after Alexa Preferences.
Step 4: Select Amazon Sidewalk
Next, scroll down on the Account Settings page until you see Amazon Sidewalk:
Tap here to manage your Sidewalk preferences.
Step 5: View Sidewalk Details
Tapping Amazon Sidewalk will open a page with more details about the feature:
Take a moment to read through how Sidewalk works if you‘re still unsure.
Step 6: Toggle Off Sidewalk
Finally, to disable Sidewalk, simply tap the slider next to Enabled so it turns grey.
It should now read Disabled indicating that Sidewalk is turned off:
And that‘s it! Amazon Sidewalk is now disabled on your devices.
While Amazon Sidewalk has exciting possibilities, don‘t feel guilty about disabling it if you have concerns. Protecting your privacy is the most important thing.
I hope this simple step-by-step guide gave you the info you needed to make an informed decision and turn off Sidewalk with just a few taps. Let me know if you have any other questions!