5 Little-Known Amazon Settings

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

The modern world, and especially the millennial generation, has fallen in love with online shopping. It truly is the ultimate in self-indulgent little pleasures, like having a good piece of chocolate or a massage. It has inspired such quotes as “Shop online, so when you go home there’s a gift from you, to you.” Nothing quite beats the idea of shopping for a new pair of shoes from the couch, snuggled in a blanket with a nice glass of wine. When it comes to online shopping, Amazon reigns. With over 152 million active users and 183 million products, Amazon dwarfs traditional retailers and other online retailers alike. However, while the convenience of Amazon is undeniable, there are five little known, and slightly disturbing settings on your Amazon profile that you may want to reconsider.

Setting #1: You have a public profile on Amazon. While we do not tend to think of our Amazon account as a profile, it functions as one. Within your profile is your biographical information, comments, ratings, and public wish lists. It does not show your browsing or order history. Now, depending on your preferences, this may or may not be a big deal to you. Wish lists on Amazon are designed to be public as a gift idea generator that is personalized with stuff you actually want. However, if you do not like the idea of this information being open to the public, there is a way to make it private. Go to Accounts and Lists> Your Account> Ordering and Shopping Preferences> Profile link> Edit your Profile> Edit Privacy Settings> From here you can select which items to disable, or you can disable everything.

Setting #2: Alexa records you and stores your info in Amazon servers. Now, this does serve a purpose. It makes Alexa more obedient over time, but it can also feel like a huge invasion of privacy. You can view the log of everything you have ever asked Alexa in your Alexa app. If the idea of this disturbs you, it is possible to delete the recordings, though it does come with a warning that deleting the recordings will make your Alexa experience a little less pleasant in the future. If this is not disturbing, just enjoy the voice of your adorable toddlers asking Alexa to tell them a joke, and enjoy the fact that your little automated helper is better at her job.

Setting #3: Your lists may not be private. Amazon has a wish list and a shopping list. The idea behind the wish list is to serve as a gift idea generator so that your family can figure out what to give you for your birthday, without the awkward asking of the dreaded question every year. For that reason, that list is public. Anyone can search and find your public wish list. However, if that is not how you choose to use your wish list, there is a way to make it private. Accounts and Lists> Wish List/Shopping List> three dots next to Share List> Manage List> this gets you to the privacy settings and profile settings for the list.

Setting #4: Amazon tracks your browsing. We have all had that lapse of judgement or even just that over-curious eye, when we click on something accidentally and it was not what we thought it was. Oops. Now it is in Amazon’s records, and they can use those browses to target specific products and advertising in your direction. Thankfully, that is really all Amazon does with it. It is hidden from the public view, and there is a way to make it private. Your browsing History> Manage history> Turn browsing history on/off, or you can remove your entire browsing history with the click of a button.

Setting #5: Alexa has voice ordering. While it may be convenient for you to say, “Alexa, order more face cream,” it may not be the wisest idea, especially if you have children. Just imagine the dozens of packages of cookies and gel pens you could get in the mail if your three-year-old figured out how to order through Alexa. Thankfully, you can turn it off. Alexa App> Settings> Voice Purchasing> On/Off. Another option is to pin protect the voice shopping, so if your three-year-old does not know the pin, the purchase will be unsuccessful. To set that up, Alexa App> Settings> Voice Purchasing> On> Voice Code On> Enter your four-digit-pin.

Amazon is the ultimate in convenience, but sometimes, we pay for our convenience with privacy. While it is possible to make your Amazon experience completely private, it may affect your enjoyment of online shopping. Unfortunately, you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

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