If you own an Alexa-enabled device, you’ll naturally want to know where the best location is to place it so that it interprets your commands successfully.
One area in the home where you certainly shouldn’t put Alexa is too close to a window.
Your Alexa should be approximately 20 ft (6 m) away from a window so that people outside your home won’t be able to access it. This is an important safety tip to follow because Alexa is connected to many smart devices around the house, such as smart locks to open doors.
In this article, I’m going to show you why it’s essential to keep your Alexa device far away from your windows and why 20 ft (6 m) is considered a safe distance.
I’ll also provide tips on how to increase the security of your device.
Why You Should Keep Alexa 20 Ft (6 m) Away from a Window
You should place it approximately 20 ft (6 m) away from your windows to ensure that the device is out of reach of people outside your home who might want to try to intercept Alexa.
Alexa is highly sensitive to voice commands.
If you can make it work by calling to it from across a room, other people might be able to do the same thing from outside your home.
While it might seem impossible to control Alexa through a window, this becomes possible if you have a single-pane window or have left the window a bit open.
Ensuring that the device is far away from your window will prevent people outside the house from being able to steal or use it, bearing in mind that criminals can make use of lasers to intercept it.
How Lasers Trick Voice Assistant Systems
You can trick a voice assistant system into accepting your commands by flashing lasers at it.
You don’t even need to use your voice!
When you aim a laser at a device microphone, it produces an electrical signal similar to the one created with a voice command.
This is what a study by the University of Michigan and the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo found.
A thief doesn’t even need fancy equipment to do this, as a simple laser pointer will work, the University of Michigan has reported.
Shining a laser into the voice-activated device can be achieved from as far away as 360 ft (110 m), as the above study goes on to mention, so you should never leave your Alexa device next to a window.
However, if someone is trying to flash lasers at an Alexa-enabled device, it’s worth bearing in mind that they will require a clear line of sight to it.
Where to Place Your Alexa Device
If you can’t place your Alexa device on a windowsill, where should you put it?
Here are some of the best locations in your home so it will stay safe and work effectively.
Put Alexa in a Central Location
Some of the most commonly-used areas of your home include the kitchen, living room, and bedroom, so put Alexa in one of these rooms, such as:
- on a kitchen countertop
- side table
- bedside table
Keeping your device in these rooms will ensure that it’s always within easy reach when you want it to interpret your voice commands.
Just note that if you’re storing your device in the kitchen, you should keep it away from the sink and stove so that water and food spills won’t damage it.
Don’t Block Wi-Fi Signals
You want Alexa to have a clear path to your Wi-Fi signal, so keep it away from walls that can interfere with this signal.
You should also keep it away from appliances that can disrupt its signal by causing wireless interference, such as your microwave oven.
Other items in the home that do this include baby monitors and TVs.
Where do you have the strongest Wi-Fi signal in your home?
This is a good question to ask yourself.
Usually the bedroom, kitchen, or living room are prime areas where you use Wi-Fi, so it makes sense that these are the best places to keep Alexa.
Tips to Secure Your Alexa Device
Keeping Alexa far away from windows is a good move.
It prevents people from stealing your device while also blocking their malicious attempts at gaining access to it.
There are other essential things to do to make Alexa criminal-proof.
- Use a New Wake Word. A wake word is the word you say when you want Alexa to start recording you. Choose a word other than “Alexa,” which everyone knows, so that you protect your device. This word should be one that you don’t usually use during daily conversations so that Alexa won’t start recording by accident.
- Turn Off the Microphone. Since Alexa-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo can pick up voices through closed windows and doors, as CNET reports, you should switch off the device microphone when you’re not using it. Some features will still work when the mic is turned off, such as alarms, schedules, and your favorite music playlist.
- Delete Your Smart Device History. Since Alexa connects to smart devices you own, it will gain data about them and how they’re used. This information is best kept private, so make sure you delete the history of your smart-device connections. You can do this by going to “Manage Your Content and Devices” then select delete your device history under “Manage Smart Home Devices.”
How Far Away from a Window Should Alexa Be? Final Thoughts
It’s exciting to set up Alexa so that you can start controlling a variety of devices in the home, such as your:
- smart speakers
- smart locks
- TVs, and more.
However, you have to ensure you keep Alexa far away from the windows in your home so no one can access it from outside and make it do what they want.
It’s also a smart move to make your Alexa-enabled device more secure, such as by turning off its mic when it’s not in use.