How to See and Delete Alexa's Recordings of You

Worried that Alexa might be holding onto your conversations longer than it should? Amazon's making it easier to delete conversations its voice-powered digital Echo speakers might have recorded — and you can do it all with the sound of your own voice.

At the same time it announced a new series of Echo devices, Amazon also launched updates to its Alexa Privacy Hub (opens in new tab) that provides explanations on Alexa privacy controls as well as access to your settings. There are also brand new voice commands that give you immediate control over Alexa recordings.

MORE: Best Amazon Alexa Skills

Fears about Alexa-based smart speakers sending private conversations are common. Amazon VP of public policy Brian Huseman confirmed expectations about how long the company keeps recordings, telling senator Chris Coons (D-DE) that "We retain customers' voice recordings and transcripts until the customer chooses to delete them."

How to delete Alexa conversations with your voice

If you really want to make sure that Alexa isn't keeping a recording of what you've said, you can take advantage of a voice control that erases everything you've said that day. Say "Alexa, delete everything I said today," and anything recorded between midnight and the moment you utter that command will be erased.

You'll have to opt into the feature to be able to delete conversations by voice. In the Alexa app, go to Settings, and select Alexa Account, then Alexa Privacy, and finally Review Voice History. From there, you can toggle on the "Enable Deletion by Voice" feature.

You can also say, "Alexa, delete what I just said" to erase your last request to the voice assistant.

How to turn on auto-delete for Alexa recordings

You can arrange your Alexa history to delete automatically. In the Alexa app, go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data. Under 'Manage your voice recordings,' you can use the 'Automatically delete recordings' toggle to make your recordings delete after 3 or 18 months.

How to clear your Alexa history

If you're uncomfortable with the idea of leaving around old voice recordings, there's an old-school way to clear the data on your Alexa devices, though it involves a bit of tapping. Before you start deleting, remember that you're essentially wiping the AI's specialized memory, as it's retaining this information to better serve you.

Still, here's how to clear your Alexa history and delete recordings. 

Step 1: Open the Alexa app on your smartphone and tap the menu button to open the sidebar. Select Settings.

Step 2: Select Alexa Privacy.

(Image credit: Credit: Amazon)

Step 3: Select Review Voice History. Here you can enable and disable voice commands for deleting voice recordings, and see audio recordings retained by your device. 

(Image credit: Credit: Amazon)

Step 4: Select a recording.

(Image credit: Credit: Amazon)

Step 5: Select Delete Selected Recordings. If you want to scrub Alexa clean of all recordings, tap Today, select All History and tap Delete All Recordings for All History.

(Image credit: Credit: Amazon)

Or you could visit Amazon's Content and Devices page (opens in new tab) to erase all of your recordings at once. From there, select Your Devices, click on the Alexa device you want to clean up and select Manage Voice Recordings. Select the option that allows you to delete everything.

MORE: For more Alexa-related tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out our complete guide to Alexa.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

  • jsmithepa
    The scary thing is not that the authority can suboena your Alexa, but that Alexa keeps a history! whoooo-veeeee.