Sidewalk is a US-only Amazon networking technology that helps keep smart home devices like Echo speakers and Ring cameras connected to Wi-Fi. It can also locate nearby trackers like Tiles. Controversially, however, Amazon sometimes shares your bandwidth with neighbors to make this work. Even if you trust the company’s security assurances, you may not appreciate the extra bandwidth consumption on principle. Here’s how to opt-out of Amazon Sidewalk in a few short steps.
Related: Everything you need to know about Amazon Alexa
In the Alexa app for Android or iOS, navigate to More > Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk. You can toggle off Sidewalk completely or just its “community finding” features for locating things like Tile trackers.
JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS
How to opt-out of Amazon Sidewalk
The easiest way to turn off Amazon Sidewalk is through the Alexa app:
- Select the More tab, then Settings.
- Choose Account Settings, followed by Amazon Sidewalk.
- Flip the main toggle to disable Sidewalk.
- If you want Sidewalk’s networking benefits, but don’t want to help ping tracking devices, leave the main toggle on but tap Community Finding to control that sub-service.
If you happen to be on a PC or Mac, you can accomplish the same thing by going to your content and devices preferences on the web.
Read more: The smart home privacy policies of Amazon, Apple, and Google
The following devices act as what Amazon calls Sidewalk Bridges if you leave the feature on:
- Echo (3rd gen and newer)
- Echo Dot (3rd gen and newer)
- Echo Plus (all generations)
- Echo Show (2nd gen)
- Echo Show 5, 8, 10 (all generations)
- Echo Spot
- Echo Studio
- Echo Input
- Echo Flex
- Ring Video Doorbell Pro
- Ring Floodlight Cam (2019)
- Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019)
- Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019)
According to Amazon, speeds run no higher than 80Kbps, and total consumption is capped at 500MB per month.
You can’t, at least not without advanced technical skills beyond the average person. This results from Amazon’s privacy measures, meant to keep users anonymous.
Sidewalk Bridges create a shared network based on “Bluetooth, the 900 MHz spectrum and other frequencies,” as Amazon explains. The more Bridges there are in an area, the better it works.
Location data is based on Sidewalk Bridges, but roughly, perhaps within a block. It’s enough to let someone know a tracker’s general vicinity.
Possibly. If you’ve got an assortment of Echo and/or Ring devices, Sidewalk may prevent them from dropping off Wi-Fi or even extend their functional range. If you only have a single Echo device, or everything is already solidly connected to Wi-Fi, you won’t see any benefit. You don’t need Sidewalk enabled to find Tiles within your own home.