In May 2021, Amazon announced a new feature for its Sidewalk service in the form of WiFi sharing. Basically what this does is that it helps to keep Amazon’s network of products online and makes it easier to setup by sharing WiFi from participating homes in the neighborhood. Think of it like a giant mesh network for your entire neighborhood.
It sounds great in theory, but for those advocating privacy, it feels like an invasion of privacy. Plus the fact that it is opt-out means that people who might not necessarily have agreed to it under normal circumstances wouldn’t know about it unless they were informed. Thankfully, it’s not that difficult to opt-out if you’re not keen, and here’s what you need to do.
Opt-Out Of Amazon Sidewalk
- Launch the Amazon Alexa app on your smartphone
- Tap on the three line icon and select Settings
- Select Account Settings
- Choose Amazon Sidewalk
- Turn off Amazon Sidewalk
- Repeat the steps above if you decide you want to opt back in
Sidewalk is a feature Amazon launched in 2019 that uses Bluetooth LE and 900MHz radio signals to connect devices beyond the normal range of WiFi. This is by leveraging nearby networks to help bridge the connection, so like we said, you could think of it as being similar to a mesh network. The idea behind it is to help Amazon’s connected devices remain connected, even in the event that your internet goes out or if your home loses power.
Yes. All your devices will continue to function as intended even if you were to opt-out of Sidewalk. You might miss out on some of the advertised benefits of Sidewalk, but if you think that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, you can opt-out without any concerns.
There is some concern that Sidewalk could end up using a lot of bandwidth which in turn could affect your internet speeds at home, or if you’re on a limited data plan, could eat into that. According to Amazon, the max bandwidth that Sidewalk will take up is 80Kbps, and is capped at 500MB a month. Amazon equates that to about a 10 minute video in HD quality.
According to Amazon, devices that can be used as Sidewalk Bridges include the Ring Floodlight Cam (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Wired (2019), Ring Spotlight Cam Mount (2019), Echo (3rd gen and newer), Echo Dot (3rd gen and newer), Echo Dot for Kids (3rd gen and newer), Echo Dot with Clock (3rd gen and newer), Echo Plus (all generations), Echo Show (2nd gen), Echo Show 5, 8, 10 (all generations), Echo Spot, Echo Studio, Echo Input, Echo Flex.