Amazon’s new, which slices off a small portion of your Wi-Fi bandwidth to power a larger network for Bluetooth and 900MHz radio frequencies, won’t start operating until later this year. But in the Alexa app, the feature has been for Alexa users.
The problem is, not everyone will want to participate in Sidewalk. Sure, it’s a cool idea: Users of the, and will see increased range for their smart home devices, so they can be farther from your router and other gear, but still maintain a reliable connection. Plus, Sidewalk works with other Amazon users, so everyone in your neighborhood can contribute to that larger network — meaning, in theory, your device could be blocks away from your home and still function.
But that public aspect has raised some privacy and security questions. The network communications will use three layers of encryption, and Amazon seems confident that security won’t be an issue. But until the feature is live, it’s hard to predict what the actual outcomes will be.
If you’re like me and you want to wait and see before jumping on the Sidewalk express, here’s how to disable the feature until you’re ready to opt in yourself.
How to disable Amazon Sidewalk
1. Open the Alexa app.
2. Tap More in the lower righthand corner of the app.
3. Tap Settings.
4. Tap Account Settings.
5. Tap Amazon Sidewalk.
6. Switch Sidewalk off.