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How to Clear Your Smart Assistant’s Search History

Credit: Adam Clark Estes/Gizmodo

Some things are best left unsaid.

As cool as it is to have a little robot that listens to you and answers your questions, it’s a lot less cool when you realize those questions are stored on a company server somewhere. Companies like Amazon and Google insist that they don’t watch smart assistant search histories, and I choose to believe them, but not everyone is so trusting. If you’re worried that your smart assistant has caught a whiff of something you’d rather it didn’t, there’s ways to clear its memory.

If you’re using a Google Assistant, log onto your Google account from any computer and find the “Data and personalization” option. You can find the activity controls here, which allows to turn off your assistant’s search history altogether. To erase an existing history, find “Web and App activity” and the “manage activity” option. You can clear out your current history here, as well as set it so the history clears automatically on a regular basis (assuming you didn’t turn it off).

For an Amazon Alexa, sign into your Amazon account and find “Your Content and Devices” under your accounts. In your privacy settings, you can review your vocal search history and clear it out. There’s also a “Enable deletion by voice” option that allows you to vocally command Alexa to forget everything it’s heard in a certain time frame.

For Siri, simply go to Settings and click “Siri and Search.” You can delete your entire Siri dictation history from here.

Finally, for Cortana, open your Microsoft account on a computer and find “activity history” under Privacy. All of your voice commands will be under “Voice,” and you can delete them freely.

These methods will clear whatever audible info your smart assistants have picked up from you. Remember, though, some assistants are programmed to passively listen, not just activate when they hear commands. You can choose to opt out of these services if you prefer.