Many of us spend a lot of time interacting with Amazon’s apps and services—speaking to its smart speakers, watching videos on its streaming platform, ordering items online—and all of those interactions leave a digital trail behind. If you want to view, download, and maybe delete any of this data, these are the steps you need to follow.
As you might expect, there are a lot of different aspects to this and a lot of different screens you need to go through—you might not need to follow all of these steps, depending on what Amazon services you’re signed up for and what you want to know. At the very least, though, it’s important to know how much data is being collected on you.
A good place to start is with the voice commands you’ve given to your Echo smart speakers and smart displays. Amazon hangs on to these in order to improve the speech recognition capabilities of the Alexa digital assistant and to remember what you’ve said in the past, but you are able to take some control over the data that’s stored.
From the Alexa Privacy page inside your Amazon account on the web, select Review Voice History to see your recordings (you may have to adjust the filter settings at the top). Click the small arrow next to any of the entries, then choose Delete recording to erase it. To get a completely blank slate, select Delete all of my recordings at the top of the list.
When you’re on the Alexa Privacy page, you can also select Manage Your Alexa Data to control how these requests and recordings are collected in the first place. You can choose how long recordings are kept for, if at all, and remove other bits of data that your smart devices might be holding on to (such as the temperature history of your connected smart thermostat, for instance).
When it comes to Amazon Prime Video, having the service keep track of what you’ve watched is pretty essential if you want to watch movies and shows in multiple sittings across multiple devices—and this data also feeds into your viewing recommendations for what you might want to watch next, of course. Still, you can prune it.
From the Prime Video home page on the web, click the cog icon (top right) and then Settings. There’s a variety of data here, including a list of all the devices that you’ve streamed Prime Video content to, but the page we’re most interested in here is the one labeled Watch history.
Down the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see options to Delete movie from Watch History and Delete episodes from Watch History. When it comes to shows, you’re able to expand the selection and remove individual episodes if you want to. Unfortunately, there’s not a mass delete option to completely wipe the record in one go.
If you own an Amazon Fire tablet, then you’re using Amazon’s Fire OS, which is based on Android, with a lot of Amazon’s own modifications. We won’t go into every little detail here, but be aware that every app on these tablets might be (and probably is) collecting a variety of data about you.
When it comes to the system-wide device settings, you can head to the Amazon Devices Privacy page on the web, choose your Fire tablet, and enable or disable a variety of data collection practices—these cover app usage, device usage, and location-based services that track your location.
There’s no way to see this data or to delete it beyond requesting all of your personal information (see the last section for more on that). However, you can turn off data collection in these categories to make your Fire tablet a little more private and secure.
The process of managing data collected by your Kindle ereader is similar to the process for Amazon Fire tablets. You need to head to the Amazon Devices Privacy page on the web, then select the Kindle device that you want to edit the settings for.
Actually, there’s just one setting in this case, Device Usage Data, which you can toggle on or off. Again, you don’t get any way to view this information or to wipe it from the record, but you can at least prevent it from being collected.
As you would expect, Amazon also keeps tabs on all the ebooks you’ve bought and downloaded to your devices—you can find these by going to the Digital Content page in your Amazon account on the web. Click Books to see a list, and you can then remove items from your library, send them to your Kindle, and more.
Reviewing your Amazon order history can be an interesting trip back in time—your orders might reveal more than you would think about different periods in your life—and it’s obviously handy to have this information available should you want to order something again, report a problem with a delivery, and so on.
From the Your Account page on the Amazon website, click Your Orders to see where all of your money has been going. If you don’t immediately see what you’re looking for, you can use the tabs along the top to narrow down your search, or change the time frame you’re looking at via the drop-down menu at the top of the list, or make use of the search box just underneath the navigation bar.
You’ve got a few options for each of your previous orders: You can view details of the item and the order, you can download an invoice for the item, and you can archive the order (which basically hides it from this screen so you don’t have to see it again).
As you will have noticed, there’s a plethora of information available from the Your Account page. Click through on the Your Addresses entry, for example, to see the postal addresses that Amazon has logged—you can edit, remove, and add addresses if you need to.
There’s more of your personal information under the Login & security option, including your cell number (if you’ve provided one) and your email address. All of this data can be edited, if necessary. Under Your payments, meanwhile, you can see the payment cards that Amazon has on file, and all the transactions associated with them.
You can get to just about everything Amazon-related from this page, including your Prime membership information, profiles linked to your Amazon account, the audiobooks you’ve purchased from Audible, and even your Twitch account settings here. Not all of this data is easily editable or downloadable, but there is one final option left.
Some of the data that Amazon keeps on you can’t be accessed in the ways we’ve outlined above. To get at everything else that we haven’t already covered, you need to submit a data request for Amazon to send you all of your personal information.
Head to the Request My Data screen on the Amazon website, then pick the category of data you want to get: These categories include your payment options, your active subscriptions, your communications with Amazon customer support, and more. Note that you can also choose to Request All Your Data.
Click Submit Request, then you’ll need to click the confirmation link sent to your registered email address. When that’s done, you need to wait—Amazon says the request should be honored within a month, though it can take longer.