It seems that one of Amazon’s goals is to try and create completely connected neighborhoods and suburbs. This comes in the form of the company’s Sidewalk feature, where it allows devices that are on the fringe of a WiFi’s range to try and maintain its internet connectivity by piggybacking on other nearby connected objects.
This means that in theory, with Sidewalk enabled on your Amazon devices, your (or your neighbor’s) smart doorbell or smart home security camera could piggyback off each other’s connections. On paper, we understand the goal where it’s kind of like a public mesh WiFi network, but in practice, are you sure that you’re comfortable with your devices using a stranger’s connection, or are you fine with someone else piggybacking off your connection and devices?
Sidewalk will be turned on by detail
Amazon will be enabling the Sidewalk feature on its devices by default when you walk through the setup process on its Ring security products and its Echo smart speakers and displays. Chances are you might feel a little iffy, but the good news is that this is a feature that can be disabled, so if you’re uncomfortable with Amazon’s Sidewalk feature, then here’s what you need to do to turn it off.
How to disable Amazon Sidewalk
- Launch the Alexa app
- Tap More
- Go to Settings > Account Settings > Amazon Sidewalk
- Toggle the feature off and you’re done
It should be noted that Amazon Sidewalk is opted-in by default, which means unless you were to manually disable the feature, it would be automatically turned on. It also probably doesn’t help that not everyone is aware of Sidewalk since most people probably buy their smart home devices to be used at home and by themselves, as opposed to trying to be part of a larger network of sorts.
In a statement made to CNET, an Amazon spokesperson said that the company will be actively notifying existing customers with eligible devices about the feature, as well as informing them that they will be able to change their preferences if they’re uncomfortable with it.
“We started notifying existing Echo customers with eligible devices that their devices will be a part of Sidewalk and how they can change their preferences before the feature turns on. Customers can update their Amazon Sidewalk preferences during device setup or any time from settings in the Alexa app.”
At the moment, the list of supported Amazon Sidewalk devices include:
- Ring Floodlight Cam (2019)
- Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019)
- Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019)
- Echo (2nd Gen)
- Echo (3rd Gen)
- Echo (4th Gen)
- Echo Dot (2nd Gen)
- Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
- Echo Dot (4th Gen)
- Echo Dot (2nd Gen) for Kids
- Echo Dot (3rd Gen) for Kids
- Echo Dot (4th Gen) for Kids
- Echo Dot with Clock (3rd Gen)
- Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen)
- Echo Plus (1st Gen)
- Echo Plus (2nd Gen