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Selling an old smart speaker? Here’s how to wipe everything you’ve said to it

A smart speaker can be a huge help around the house. If you don’t have one, you are truly missing out on an amazing piece of technology. Use them to get local weather and traffic reports to reminding you of tasks and so much more.

Smart speakers have been around for years, so naturally, newer models are always available. Many users are looking to upgrade current models with expanded functions, better capabilities and renewed designs.

While that is a splendid idea, it does invoke another thought. What do you do with your old smart speaker? That will be entirely up to you, whether you want to sell it or give it away. But there are a couple of things that you absolutely must-do if you value your data and privacy.

Scary details on smart speakers

Getting a smart speaker is exciting, but it needs to be set up before you can use it. This is usually done through a series of steps that pair the device to your account or profile. If you have an Echo, that will be connected to your Amazon account. For any Google Home device, the unit will be connected to your Google account.

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Through prolonged use, the smart speaker will store small bits of information about you. This helps it to understand your needs better and to retrieve information easily. For example, if the speaker knows where you live, it can instantly tell you about traffic and weather conditions.

But with all that data associated with your profile, what do you do when it is time to upgrade? Well, the smart thing would be to erase as much data as possible. It might seem logical, but researchers from Northeastern University found that not to be the case.

They bought 86 used smart speakers through eBay and at flea markets. Unsurprisingly, 61% of the smart speakers had not been reset to factory settings. That means, in theory, that the previous owner’s details would still be associated with the device.

So, before you even think of getting rid of your old smart speaker, take the following precautions. First, reset your device. Then deregister it from your account. Here’s how:

Reset your Amazon Alexa-enabled device

There are several reasons why you would want to reset your Amazon device, but the most common is that it’s become unresponsive. By resetting it, you can also erase all the device settings and data. By following the step below, you’ll be able to return your Amazon Echo to its default factory settings.

  • On your Amazon device, press and hold the Action button for 25 seconds. If done correctly, the light right will pulse orange and then turn off.
  • Wait a bit for the light ring to appear and turn blue.
  • Once it has gone back to orange, the device has been factory reset and is now in setup mode.

Deregister your Amazon device

For whatever reason, you might decide that you no longer want to use a particular Amazon device. You either upgrade to a new one, want to give it to a family member or are looking to sell it. If you are no longer going to use it, you’ll want to deregister the device from your Amazon account.

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This is so the device won’t be associated with your profile, and data can’t be traced back to you. This also comes in handy if you want to set it up somewhere else or use a different profile.

Here’s how to deregister a device:

  • Navigate your browser to Amazon’s Content and Devices and log in to your account.
  • Click on Devices to see all the gadgets that are associated with your account.
  • Select the device that you want to remove and click Deregister.
  • Under the Deregister button is another option to consider. Tap Delete voice recordings to remove any recordings.

Once your device has been reset and deregistered, it can safely be sold or given away for others to use. None of your personal data should still be on the device.

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