White Amazon Echo Dot turned on that's on top of a pile of books

What Is Amazon Sidewalk? How to Disable It

Do you own an Amazon Echo or Ring product, like the Echo Studio, an Echo Dot, or a Ring Floodlight Cam? If so, then you might want to know that your devices have recently been enrolled in a new network called Amazon Sidewalk. The purpose of this new feature is to keep your home devices better connected, especially around the perimeter of your yard.

The idea is that certain Amazon Echo and Ring gadgets will serve as “bridges” that are able to connect with other Sidewalk-enabled devices using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), the 900MHz spectrum, and a small portion of your personal network’s bandwidth “to simplify new device setup, extend the low-bandwidth working range of devices, and help devices stay online and up-to-date even if they are outside the range of home Wi-Fi,” according to Amazon. How? Sidewalk will be able to do this by sharing the connectivity of your compatible devices with those of your neighbors.

In other words, Sidewalk is for everybody’s gadgets. For example, if your internet conks out, your Ring camera can piggyback on your next-door neighbor’s internet to keep sending you alerts if you’re both using Sidewalk. In return, if one of your neighbor’s internet connection fails, their smart devices can temporarily connect to your router and the Sidewalk network you share.

In a perfect world for Amazon, entire neighborhoods will become Sidewalk networks, which will help improve reliability and stability for all the smart devices within them. Questions have been raised as to how this could impact the privacy of your data. Amazon has made a white paper available that lays out how customer information is being protected. But if you are still not reassured by this and would rather not participate in Amazon’s good neighbor program you can opt-out.

How to Opt-Out of Amazon Sidewalk

Luckily, the process of logging out of Amazon Sidewalk is pretty simple and reversible. While this network may provide some great advantages, there’s much more to know about how it works and potential impacts before opting into the service.

Luckily, the process of logging out of Amazon Sidewalk is pretty simple and reversible. While this network may provide some great advantages, there’s much more to know about how it works and potential impacts before opting into the service.

How to turn off Amazon Sidewalk on your Echo or Ring

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap More in the lower right-hand corner of the app.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Tap Account Settings.
  5. Tap Amazon Sidewalk. (If you’re not connected to any Echo or Ring devices, you probably won’t see this option.)
  6. Switch Sidewalk off and exit out of the app.

*Note: On the same page you’ll see a setting for “Community Finding,” which shares the approximate location of your devices that are connected by Sidewalk in order to make location-based items like Tile more precise. If you’d prefer, you can make Sidewalk active, but disable “Community Finding” by selecting the link for it at the bottom of the “Amazon Sidewalk” page and then turning it off.

It’s that easy! Opting out won’t, according to Amazon, impact the current function of your devices, but if you want to opt back in sometime in the future, you can come back to the “Amazon Sidewalk” page and use the toggle to turn it back on.

Which Devices Have Sidewalk?

Here’s a list of the Echo and Ring devices that work as Sidewalk bridges (including some models that aren’t sold anymore):

  • Amazon Echo (3rd Gen)
  • Amazon Echo (4th Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) for Kids
  • Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) for Kids
  • Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (3rd Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Plus (1st Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Show (1st Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Show (2nd Gen)
  • Amazon Echo Show 5
  • Amazon Echo Show 8
  • Amazon Echo Show 10
  • Amazon Echo Spot
  • Amazon Echo Studio
  • Amazon Echo Input
  • Amazon Echo Flex
  • Ring Floodlight Cam
  • Ring Spotlight Cam Wired
  • Ring Spotlight Cam Mount

All that said, it comes down to how much you trust Amazon. For now, we recommend that you opt-out, read Amazon’s whitepaper, and do your own research about the risks and benefits so you can make an informed decision about whether this feature is something you want to use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.