How to Check if Amazon Alexa Is Stealing Your Internet Bandwidth for Sidewalk
Remember when Amazon (quietly) announced its expansion to Sidewalk, back in September? Well, the feature is live for some in a new update for the Amazon Alexa app, and you might want to go turn it off. We covered it in Issue 7-25.
Sidewalk is a feature that extends the network coverage of your devices, particularly Ring surveillance tech (like its cameras, smart lights, and pet trackers) and Echo smart speakers. But it'll also share a small chunk of that internet bandwidth to provide the same services to your neighbors – so your privately-owned devices won't be so private anymore.
Sidewalk has been slowly rolling out to Echo and Ring owners in the U.S. as of Thanksgiving, which users were made aware of via an email from Amazon. While the feature isn't up and running yet, the email essentially notifies users that it's "coming soon." But it's also the company's discreet way of letting you know the feature has officially been turned on.
Amazon makes it easy to opt out if you're only just unboxing your shiny, new Sidewalk-compatible device. During the setup process, users are asked if they want to join the network via the Amazon Alexa app. However, if you already own one of the 20 Sidewalk-enabled products, it'll automatically opt-in for you.
To disable Sidewalk, all you need to do is:
- Update the Amazon Alexa app or double-check that you're on the latest version
- Open the Amazon Alexa app and tap on the More tab
- Then, tap Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk and toggle off the Enabled button
Thankfully, the additional Community Finding feature – which "can help your neighbors find pets and important items connected to Sidewalk by sharing the approximate location of [your] device and other Sidewalk bridges you own" is disabled automatically.
Of course, if you'd like to use Sidewalk on either your Echo smart speaker or Ring security device, you'll be happy to know you're already all set for when Amazon officially launches the new feature.