Post Published 6/1/18 – With all the recent concerns around that incident where an unusual chain of circumstances led to an Alexa device recording and sending a conversation without the owners’ knowledge, many Alexa device owners are asking how to view and erase Alexa History for their devices. Good news: it’s easy!
Note that the information provided here is accurate as of this writing, on 6/1/18, but is subject to change in the future as Amazon makes changes to its Alexa software and device offerings.
How To View & Delete Alexa Interaction History
The next section of this post explains the ‘why’ behind Alexa History, but I’ll get right to the point for those who just want to know how to view and delete it.
To replay and optionally delete individual exchanges, open the Alexa app and navigate to Settings > General > History.
To delete your entire Alexa History file for a specific Alexa device (Amazon US): go to the Manage Your Content and Devices page on the Amazon site (Your Account > Your Content & Devices). From there, select the Alexa device for which you want to delete History. On the device detail page, select Manage Recordings and then, Delete.
To delete your entire Alexa History file for a specific Alexa device (Amazon UK): go to the Alexa privacy settings page. From there, open the drop-down menu and select All History for the Date Range. Finally, select Delete All Recordings.
Why Does Alexa Store My Voice Interaction History?
One of the things that makes it so hard for voice assistants like Alexa to understand human speech is that every human being’s voice and style of speech are unique. Even among people who speak the same language, the way one person expresses a certain idea or question can be very different from the way someone else does because we all have our favorite words and expressions, and speak with a rhythm that’s unique to ourselves.
So how do you get a machine to understand that a Bostonian’s command to “Lahk the cah,” is the same as a North Dakotan’s command to “Lack the care,” which is the same as a Los Angeleno’s command to “Lock the car”? Over time, with repeated interactions and user responses that let Alexa know when she’s made a mistake, Alexa gets better at correctly interpreting user speech. The History file provides a valuable reference for Alexa to use when it’s not immediately clear what a user is saying, but that’s not all it’s good for.
The most common and obvious use is troubleshooting: when Alexa doesn’t respond the way you expect her to, you can check History to see what Alexa thinks she heard. Many parents like to check the History file to see what their kids are doing with Alexa. Caregivers use it to keep tabs on their charges, so they will immediately notice any changes in routines and can follow up with those they care for.