How to Silence Your Phone's Virtual Assistant and Preserve Your Privacy

How to Silence Your Phone’s Virtual Assistant and Preserve Your Privacy

Hands up if you have a Google Home, Apple Home, Amazon Echo or similar? It’s so handy when you’re in the middle of cooking with messy hands to yell out “Hey Google, play Hill Top Hoods” or “Hey Alexa, set timer for 30min!”. I think we can all agree that virtual assistants have become an integral part of our home pods and smartphones offering convenience and ease of use.  

However, concerns about privacy and data security have also emerged. Many users are now seeking ways to tell their phone’s virtual assistant to stop listening and respect their privacy.  

In this blog post, our Geelong Technology Group team will cover some effective methods to silence your phone’s virtual assistant, empowering you to regain control over your privacy while maintaining a seamless user experience. 


Adjusting voice activation settings 

Most virtual assistants, such as Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa, are designed to respond to voice commands. By customising your device’s voice activation settings, you can limit when the assistant actively listens. Head to your device’s settings, find the virtual assistant option, and disable the “always listening” mode. This will ensure that the assistant won’t activate until you manually summon it. 


Muting microphone access 

To prevent your virtual assistant from constantly monitoring your surroundings, consider muting the microphone. Many smartphones have a physical mute switch or button specifically designed for this purpose. By toggling it, you can easily turn off the microphone when you don’t require voice commands. 


Utilising app permissions 

Reviewing and managing app permissions is crucial for maintaining privacy. Navigate to your phone’s settings and locate the permissions section. Here, you can revoke microphone access for specific apps, including the virtual assistant. Be cautious not to disable critical functions that rely on the microphone, such as voice calls or audio recording apps. 


Customise voice feedback 

Virtual assistants often provide audio feedback to confirm they are actively listening. While this can be useful, it may also intrude on your privacy. Adjust the settings to customise the voice feedback or switch it to a silent mode. This way, your virtual assistant will still respond visually without audibly alerting others to its presence. 


Limit data collection 

Virtual assistants gather data to improve their performance, but you have control over what information is shared. Visit your virtual assistant’s settings and explore the data collection options. Disable any features that you find intrusive or unnecessary. By being mindful of the data you share, you can protect your privacy and minimise the information stored by the virtual assistant. 


Maintain your control over you virtual assistant 

Achieving a balance between the convenience of virtual assistants and preserving our privacy is essential. By following these steps, you can effectively establish control over when it listens and collects data. Remember to regularly review your device’s settings and app permissions to ensure your privacy remains intact. Taking these proactive measures empowers you to enjoy a seamless user experience while maintaining control over your personal data.  


On-site & remote IT support in Geelong 

At Geelong Technology Group, we prioritise your safety online. If you need assistance with shutting off your virtual assistant or other tech contact our friendly team on 1300 GET GTG for assistance. If you are in Geelong feel free to pop into our shop 166 Francis St, Belmont between Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 5:30 pm.  


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