5 Privacy Settings You Should Change in Windows 11

Windows 11 has quite a list of privacy settings. Here are some of the important privacy settings that you should check and change in Windows 11.

Unlike in previous versions, like Windows 7 or XP, Windows 10 and 11 phones home a lot to share many things with Microsoft. If you don’t know, one of the main reasons for this behavior is the amount of telemetry data Microsoft collects and takes from the modern operating systems is significantly higher. As such, Microsoft has added a lot of privacy options to Windows 11.

Using the available privacy settings, you can control what data is sent to Microsoft and other applications. For example, Microsoft enables sharing Optional Diagnostic Data and showing Suggested Apps in the Start menu out of the box. These options are not necessary to run Windows 11. As such, if you don’t like them, you can disable these options via the Privacy Section in Windows 11.

With all the available privacy settings in Windows 11, it can be unclear to decide what to enable and disable. To help you guide, I listed a few of the core privacy settings every Windows 11 user should check and change as needed. Go through each of them and do the recommended action or decide what you want to do for yourself.

Without further ado, here are the important privacy settings that every Windows 11 user should check and change.

Windows 11 Privacy Settings to Change

There are five main Windows 11 privacy settings you should check and change. Follow each section below and make the necessary changes.

1. Disable advertising ID and Suggested Content

Microsoft assigns a unique Advertising ID to every Windows 11 user. It then uses this ID to show personalized ads and product recommendations. In addition to that, Windows 11 has an option called Suggested Content in the Settings app, which shows new things about the Settings app, occasional ads, new features, etc. Here’s how to disable both these options in Windows 11.

Turn off the Advertising ID in Windows 11:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the “Privacy & Security” page.
  3. Click on “General.”
  4. Turn off the “Let apps show me personalized ads by using my Advertising ID” option.
  5. Close the Settings app.

Turn off Suggested Content in Settings:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the “Privacy & Security” page.
  3. Click on “General.”
  4. Turn off the “Show me suggested content in the Settings app” option.
  5. Close the Settings app.
turn off advertising ID and suggested content in settings app

2. Disable online speech recognition

Online speech recognition is enabled by default in Windows 11. When this feature is turned on, Microsoft can use the microphone in your laptop or headset to get your speech data under certain circumstances.

Generally, most Windows users never use voice recognition, voice dictation, or speech recognition. If you are one of them, there is no need to have Speech Recognition enabled. The good thing is, even after disabling the Online Speech Recognition, you can still use the built-in Windows Speech Recognition (Offline). Sure it won’t be as accurate, but it will be there in a clutch.

Here’s how to disable online speech recognition in Windows 11.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the “Privacy & Security” page.
  3. Click on “Speech.”
  4. Turn off the “Online Speech Recognition” option.
  5. Close the Settings app.
turn off online speech recognition

3. Turn off sending optional diagnostic data

Microsoft requires diagnostic data to make Windows work without any hiccups. By default, Microsoft makes it mandatory to share basic and essential diagnostic data. However, Microsoft might also sometimes enable sending “Optional diagnostic data.” For example, to be a Windows Insider, you have to allow sharing Optional Diagnostic Data. If you don’t know, the Optional Diagnostic Data includes but is not limited to browsing activity, app launches, enhanced error reporting, app usage, etc.

If you don’t like sharing extensive diagnostic data with Microsoft, you must turn off the Optional Diagnostic Data option. Here’s how.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the “Privacy & Security” page.
  3. Click on “Diagnostic & feedback.”
  4. Turn off the “Send optional diagnostic data” option.
  5. Close the Settings app.
turn off sending optional diagnostic data in Windows 11

4. Disable Tailored Experiences

The Tailored Experiences feature uses the optional diagnostic data and allows Microsoft to show relevant ads, personalized tips, and app recommendations in the Start menu.

For example, you might see recommended apps in the Start menu’s pinned apps section from time to time. Clicking on these apps will make Windows 11 download and install the target app automatically from the Microsoft Store. Candy Crush, Adobe apps, etc., are good examples.

If you don’t like this behavior, you can disable Tailored Experiences from the Settings app. Here is how to do it.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the “Privacy & Security” page.
  3. Click on “Diagnostic & feedback.”
  4. Turn off the “Tailored Experiences” option.
  5. Close the Settings app.
turn off tailored experiences and Start menu ads in Windows 11

5. Turn off Activity History

When using a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 11, the Activity History feature keeps track of what you are doing on your computer and stores it in your Microsoft account. Microsoft then uses the stored Activity History to resume your workflow in other computers. As you can guess, if you have multiple Windows computers, this is an excellent feature as you don’t have to start the workflow all over again.

However, if you are not comfortable sharing your activity history with Microsoft or if you don’t have multiple devices or don’t want to use the feature, you can disable it from the Windows 11 Privacy Settings. Here’s how.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the “Privacy & Security” page.
  3. Click on “Activity History.”
  4. Uncheck the “Store my activity history on this device” checkbox.
  5. Close the Settings app.
turn on activity history in Windows 11

That is all. These are the few privacy settings that every Windows 11 user should check and change according to their needs. If you think I missed any other crucial privacy settings, then comment below and share them.

I hope that helps.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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