Do you have an Echo Studio, an Echo Dot or a Ring Floodlight Cam? If so, Amazon is about to introduce your device to a new type of network it calls Sidewalk, which aims to extend the range of its low-bandwidth devices (so that if your network goes down, you For example, Dot can piggyback on your neighbors’), and also to make location devices like Tile more efficient.
According to Amazon, Sidewalk will use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), the 900MHz spectrum, and other frequencies “to simplify the setup of new devices, extend the operating range of low-bandwidth devices, and help devices stay online and up-to-date.”
Amazon says Sidewalk will be enabled on June 8 (tiling functionality will be enabled on June 14) and plans to automatically enroll all eligible devices. The company’s published list of devices includes: Ring Floodlight Cam (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019), Echo (third generation and newer), Echo Dot (third generation and newer), Echo Dot for Kids (third generation and newer), Echo Dot with clock (third generation and newer), Echo Plus (all generations), Echo Show (all models and generations), Echo Spot, Echo Studio, Echo Input, Echo Flex.
Questions have been raised about how this might affect the privacy of your data. Amazon has released a white paper explaining how customer information is protected. But if this still doesn’t reassure you and would rather not participate in Amazon’s good neighbor program – as it were – you can opt out before Sidewalk is enabled. Here’s how:
- In your Amazon Alexa app, select the ‘More’ icon in the lower right corner of the screen
- Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Account Setting’ > ‘Amazon Sidewalk’. (Just a note: if you’re not connected to Echo or Ring devices, you probably won’t see this option.)
- Use the switch to turn off Sidewalk
And that’s it! Opting out (according to Amazon) does not affect the current function of your devices in any way. But if you decide you want to log back in anyway, or if you want to log out at some point in the future, you can return to the Amazon Sidewalk page and use the toggle.
Note that on the same page you’ll see a “Community Search” setting, which shares the approximate location of the devices connected via Sidewalk to make location-dependent items like Tile more accurate. If you want, you can leave Sidewalk active, but disable “Community Finding” by selecting the “Community Finding” link at the bottom of the “Amazon Sidewalk” page and then disable it.