Sonos does not have a microphone or any other recording device built into its speakers, according to company representatives.
The company also says it doesn’t use any third-party software to listen in on its users’ conversations.
In this article, we explain how to check if your Sonos device is listening and why it might be doing so. We will also provide some tips on how to prevent this from happening and what you can do if it does happen.
Here’s If Your Sonos Is Listening to You:
Sonos has been accused of eavesdropping on its customers’ conversations and collecting data from their devices.
The accusation comes from a few sources, including a report by Bloomberg that cited unnamed sources who said the company was recording private conversations to improve its voice assistant.
Some people are concerned about what happens with this information once it’s collected by Sonos. They’re worried that it’s being used for marketing purposes, or even shared with third parties.
But there’s no evidence that Sonos uses these recordings for anything other than to improve its products.
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How Can You Check If Your Sonos Devices Are Listening?
If you’re worried that your Sonos speakers might be spying on you, there are a few things you can do to check:
- First, head over to the Settings menu on your app; depending on whether you’re using Android or iOS, this should be located in the same place as it always has been.
- Then tap Rooms and Rooms Setup and then tap Playback Room. From here, tap the speaker(s) you want to check and check the Listen Indicator toggle at the top of the screen. This will turn blue if the speaker is actively listening for voice commands; otherwise, it will remain grayed out.
- If it’s blue, that means someone has spoken into their phone while they were connected to that specific room in their home — so if they said something like “Play NPR Weekend Edition,” then it would start playing NPR Weekend Edition on all connected speakers.
How Do I Stop Sonos from Listening?
To stop Sonos from listening, follow these steps:
- Go to the Alexa app on your phone or tablet and connect your device to the same Wi-Fi network as your Sonos speakers.
- Then open the menu by tapping or clicking on the hamburger icon in the upper-left corner of the screen and select Settings > Smart Home Skills > Sonos > Enable Smart Home Skills. Next, tap or click on “Disable” under “Sonos.”
- This will turn off Alexa integration until you want it back again (you can always re-enable it at any time).
What Exactly Do Sonos Use These Recordings For?
Sonos has built a reputation as one of the best smart speakers out there, but it’s also got some privacy concerns.
The company is collecting recordings of your conversations and using them to train its artificial intelligence (AI) assistant.
In a statement, Sonos said that it uses these recordings to improve the user experience and make its products better:
“Sonos does not share any personally identifiable information with third-parties nor do we sell such information. We may share non-personally identifiable information for research purposes.”
It’s important to understand that the Sonos system is not designed to record or monitor everything you do in your home.
If you’re having a private conversation with someone else in the room while listening to music through the speaker, there’s nothing to worry about.
Sonos has also said that it doesn’t share any customer data or user information with third parties, including advertisers or other companies who may want to target ads based on location or other factors.
So Why Does It Look Like There’s a Microphone Icon on My Sonos App?
There are two reasons why you might see this icon in your app:
- Either because there actually is one or because you have been playing music through the speaker for awhile now and it has been registering sound through its built-in microphones.
The latter case is more likely than the former, but only because people tend to leave their speakers on for longer periods than they do their phones or laptops.
Can You Use Sonos Devices Without Them Snooping on You?
Sonos devices are designed to be listening devices, but there is a way to turn off the microphone.
To stop your Sonos device from listening, you need to disable the microphone. You can do this through the Alexa app for iOS and Android, or by using the Sonos Controller app on Mac or Windows.
The easiest way to disable the microphone on a Sonos speaker is with the Alexa app on mobile devices. On iOS and Android devices, open the Amazon Alexa app and tap Settings > Manage Skills > Sonos, then tap Disable Microphone.
You’ll see a confirmation message saying that your microphone has been disabled.
On Mac or Windows computers, open up the Sonos Controller app and click on Settings > General > Privacy > Microphone Off. You’ll see a confirmation message saying that your microphone has been disabled.
How Does Voice Control Work?
Voice control works by using the microphone on your smartphone or tablet and sending the sound over Wi-Fi to the speaker that you want to control.
Sonos doesn’t record any of these commands, but rather just uses them to tell your speakers what music should play next.
Can Sonos Devices Listen When It’s Turned Off?
Yes, but not for long. If your Sonos speaker is turned off, it can’t hear you even if it’s paired with a microphone-equipped device like an Amazon Echo or Google Home.
But keep in mind that if you don’t want to leave your Sonos devices off all the time, then they might still be listening to you even when they’re turned on and playing music.
Sonos devices are always listening for their wake words so that they can respond when you say them — “Alexa,” “Hey Siri,” “Ok Google,” etc.
But this means that whenever your Sonos speaker is turned on, it has access to more than just your voice commands; it also has access to everything else going on around it.
If someone nearby says something that sounds like one of those wake words, then your Sonos speaker will think they’re talking to it.
Can You Have Old Recordings from Sonos Devices Deleted?
Yes, you can delete all your past recordings in your account settings:
- You’ll need to be logged into the account where you made the recordings and go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Manage My Recordings > Delete All Recordings.
Note that this does not delete any data already stored by third-party services such as Alexa or Google Assistant, but it will remove any recordings made directly through your Sonos device.
Sonos has always been a leader in the smart speaker market, with its devices allowing users to stream music from the cloud or their own library.
That said, it’s also a device that requires voice control through its proprietary Alexa app.
Unlike Amazon’s Echo devices, which have always had an always-listening mode activated by saying “Alexa,” Sonos devices can only be activated by saying “Hey Sonos,” which then triggers the microphone array within the device to listen for commands.
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