How to stop google from listening to everything you say

Your Google account includes a hidden feature that captures voice recordings through the microphone from web activity and interactions with digital assistants.

Google claims it listens only to commands to enhance marketing efforts, but this invasion of privacy can lead to more significant issues. Here’s how to stop it.

Prevent Eavesdropping

If a cybercriminal hacks into your Google account or smart devices, they could access your stored voice data. This poses risks such as AI voice cloning, which can access sensitive accounts, deceive loved ones, or worse.

Fortunately, there is a way to prevent Google from eavesdropping on you:

  1. Open the Google App on Your Smartphone:
    • Tap on “Manage Your Google Account.”
    • Select “Data and Privacy.”
    • Scroll to “History Settings.”
    • Select “Web & App Activity.”
  2. Disable Voice and Audio Activity:
    • You might notice a blue checkmark next to the “Voice and Audio Activity” setting.
    • Uncheck it.

This will prevent voice recordings from your interactions with Google Search, the voice assistant, maps, or the microphone from being saved.

Delete Previously Saved Recordings

However, this will not delete any previously saved voice recordings, so you’ll need to address that separately.

  1. Open Your Google Account:
    • Tap on “Data and Privacy.”
    • Under “History Settings,” click on “Web & App Activity.”
    • Click “Manage Activity” to review your past activities.
  2. Delete Specific or All Recordings:
    • Items with a microphone icon contain recordings.
    • Next to the item you want to delete, select “More,” then “Delete.”

To delete all items at once:

  • Click “Delete,” then “All Time.”
  • Follow the on-screen instructions.

This step will delete all web and app activities linked to your Google account, not just the recordings.

Check Other Apps

After doing this, check other apps that may be listening to you:

  1. For iPhone Users:
    • Open “Settings,” then “Privacy & Security.”
    • Select “Microphone.”
    • Review the list of apps, and toggle the switch to off to prevent apps that don’t need audio from accessing your microphone.
  2. For Android Users:
    • Pull down from the top of the screen to go to “Settings.”
    • Select “Privacy,” then “Permission Manager.”
    • Review the list, and turn off any app you don’t want to use your microphone.

By following these steps, you can better protect your privacy and prevent unwanted listening from Google and other apps.

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