Almost every Android device is preloaded with Google services. Google Assistant might be a convenience for users, but it also means that your device is configured to listen to you all the time so that it can recognize the keyword “Hey Google” when you say it.
In recent years, companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook have been accused of privacy issues countless times. Last year, Amazon was caught sharing voice snippets of users with employees for manual reviews, apparently to improve Alexa’s voice recognition services. Having one of those smart speakers in your room means you are always allowing it to listen to your private conversations.
While your Android phone listens to what you are saying, Google only hears the recording after saying the “Hey Google” keyword. However, nothing is perfect, and it’s totally possible for your phone to misinterpret your conversation and accidentally activate Google Assistant.
There’s no doubt that Google Assistant on Android phones is an excellent addition. However, it needs to process voice snippets to improve itself over time. The problem is– your device’s settings are pre-configured to send the recordings to Google by default, which is distrustful and raises several privacy concerns for Android users.
If you want Google not to breach your privacy, you can disable “Hey Google” and other audio monitoring features on your Android device. This guide will show you how to do it.
How to disable “Hey Google” to stop your Android device from listening to you
Assuming that you are logged into your Android device with your personal Google account, follow the steps below to disable the “Hey Google” feature.
- First, go to Settings from the notification shade or the app drawer.
- Next, scroll down and tap Google in the list of Settings, then select Account services under the Services row.
- From the following page, choose the “Search, Assistant & Voice” Option. After that, tap Voice on the next page again.
- Now tap Voice Match under the Hey Google row. The next screen will give you the option to toggle the ‘Hey Google’ feature.
- Toggle the slider to the left to disable the feature.
This is how you stop your Android device from listening to you all the time. Note that you can still activate Google Assistant manually.
How to stop Google Maps and Android Auto from listening to you?
Even if you disable “Hey Google,” the feature doesn’t get turned off completely. As you probably have noticed, disabling the “Hey Google” feature shows you a dialog box, telling that hands-free Google Assistant is still possible when using driving apps like Google Maps or Android Auto.
You can disable it by tapping the Driving Setting link in the dialog box, then toggling off the slider next to the “While Driving” option.
Take away the Google app’s microphone permissions
Google collects voice recordings from not only Google Assistant but also its Voice Search feature. You can avoid using it to search for something on the web and type it instead. Again, you can disable microphone permissions for the Google app for good measure. Here’s how:
- Go to the Apps & Notifications menu from the Settings.
- Select Google from your list of apps, then tap Permissions on the ‘App info’ page.
- Now tap Microphone and make sure to select Deny.
You can do the same for other Google apps as well. Note that you can enable the permissions when necessary.
If you have an Amazon Echo device in your house, check out this detailed guide to delete your Amazon Alexa voice recordings and stop Amazon from storing it.
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