Amazon Sidewalk Will be Enabled by Default

The company’s new mesh network will be opt-out only

Amazon Sidewalk, a shared network designed to create smart neighborhoods by letting your devices connect across Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, is set to launch later this year and will be turned on automatically.

Recently, Amazon revealed that Sidewalk's mesh network would become more widely available on June 8. The service will use eligible Ring products—like floodlights and security cameras—as well as applicable Echo smart speakers to create a network that allows for expanded connection to all your smart devices. While beneficial, Inc. reports that Sidewalk will be enabled by default, which could raise privacy concerns with some users.

Illustration showing how Amazon Sidewalk works


As Amazon notes in its original announcement, Sidewalk has the potential to help users in a number of ways. The first, of course, is in connecting your own devices more easily. Sidewalk will essentially create a network that can act as a bridge if you have smart devices that aren’t within reach of your standard Wi-Fi connection. Amazon also says that the network eventually could help find pets, valuables, and other lost items—something that will probably be a big priority, especially with companies like Tile backing the idea.

The reason that users might worry about Sidewalk, though, is because that extended connection reaches beyond just your own devices. With Sidewalk enabled, other users in your neighborhood can connect to the mesh network through your connection. This will allow trackers like Tile to provide more accurate location results, making it simpler for users to track their items. 

An Illustration detailing how Amazon Sidewalk creates its mesh network


Amazon says that all data shared across the connection will be encrypted with three different layers of security. But, because Sidewalk is enabled by default, users could end up with others outside their home connecting to their network without them ever knowing.

Was this page helpful?