Cortana and privacy
This document refers to our primarily consumer experiences which are currently delivered in Windows 10 (November 2019 Update and earlier versions) and the Cortana app on iOS and Android.
For information about Cortana enterprise services, seeCortana in Microsoft 365. Or, learn more about how Cortana handles your data in Cortana in Windows, Play My Emails in Outlook, and the Briefing email.
Cortana is a cloud based digital assistant that works across your devices and other Microsoft services. Depending on the capabilities of your device and the version of Cortana you’re using, Cortana can provide a range of features, some of which are personalized.
How and why Microsoft processes personal data
Get help with other Cortana questions
Cortana in Windows is available in certain regions and languages. Cortana is also available as an app for other platforms, such as Android and iOS.
Cortana works best when you sign in and allow the use of data from your device and from Microsoft services, as well as from third party services and skills you choose to connect. To provide you with personalized experiences, Cortana learns from certain data about you, such as your searches, calendar, contacts, and location. You’re in control of how much data you share with Cortana.
If you choose not to sign in to Cortana in Windows, you can still chat with Cortana and search the web, as well as documentsand emails stored in Microsoft services like OneDrive, and Outlook, and on your Windows device. See the section about Windows in the Microsoft Privacy Statementfor more information. If you don’t sign in, or if you choose to sign out, your experiences will be more limitedand they won’t be personalized with your Cortana data. On iOS and Android devices, Cortana only works when you sign in.
To learn more about Microsoft and your privacy, please see the information in theMicrosoft Privacy Statement.
Select any of the followingsections for more details about how to control Cortana’s collection and use of your data:
How Cortana uses data to work for you
How Cortana uses data to work for you
On Windows, Cortana helps you search with Bing as well as your Windows device; offers quick answers, translations, and calculations; sets alarms and timers for you; and performs other tasks that don’t require personalization, even when you aren’t signed in and haven’t given Cortana permission to use your personal data.
When you provide Cortana with permission to access your information from a device or service, this information may be used to personalize your Cortana experience on any device or service on which you’ve enabled Cortana. Even after you’ve given Cortana permission to use certain data, whether upon initial setup of the device, skill, or app, or later as you start using Cortana, you can always manage those permissions so that Cortana will stop collecting data.
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Once you sign in, Cortana can keep track of what interests you, save your nickname or favorite places in the Notebook (Settings on mobile devices), give you your notifications from other devices, and share data you’ve saved across Cortana enabled devices. On Windows, you can decide to give Cortana permission to use other data, including your location and location history, contacts, browsing history, calendar details, and content and communication history from messages, apps, and notifications. After opting into Cortana on Android and iOS, you can control some of these permissions through the app permissions in the device’s system settings.
To help you follow things that interest you, such as your favorite sports teams, stocks you’re tracking, local news, and favorite restaurants, you can add and remove items from the Notebook. When you’re signed in, Cortana displays and uses interests from other Microsoft apps or services, such as the Sports and News apps. You can also use Cortana to get services or skills from other companies such as Spotify, using data the other company has or that you provide through Cortana. On Windows, your employer’s administrator can allow or disable your ability to sign into Cortana with your work or school account. Learn more in the Products provided by your organization section of theMicrosoft Privacy Statement, andcontrols for organizations.
Using Cortana when your device is locked
Cortana can help you with some tasks even if your device is locked, including setting a timer, playing music, and creating a reminder. This feature is on by default, but you can turn it off at any time in Cortana > Settings. In addition, in Settings you can choose to allow Cortana to access your calendar, email, messages, and other data when your device is locked.
To use Cortana on the lock screen, tap Cortana or say, “Hey Cortana.” (The “Hey Cortana” feature allows you to access Cortana with your voice, and can be turned on in Cortana > Settings.) If you don’t see Cortana’s icon on your lock screen on Windows, select Start>Settings > Personalization > Lock screen, and then set your background to Picture or Slideshow, and turn on Get fun facts, tips, and more from Windows and Cortana on your lock screen.
To give you search suggestions as soon as you start typing or speaking, Cortana sends what you type or say to the Bing service, which interprets your query in real time and provides auto suggestions.
Cortana does not use the data you share to target ads to you. Even if Cortana does the searching for you, your web search queries will be treated as described in the Bing section of theMicrosoft Privacy Statement.
When you use your voice to say something to Cortana or invoke skills, with your permission, Microsoft will occasionally sample and listen to your voice data to improve Cortana’s understanding of how you speak, as well as to improve other Microsoft products and services that use speech recognition and intent understanding. This may include transcription of hermes handbag replica
audio recordings by Microsoft employees and vendors, subject to procedures designed to protect users’ privacy, including taking steps to de identify data, requiring non disclosure agreements with vendors and their employees, and requiring that vendors meet the high privacy standards set out in European law and elsewhere. Learn more about how Microsoft protects your privacy while improving Microsoft speech recognition technology.
If you use voice input with Cortana while signed in with your Microsoft account, you can manage the voice data stored by Microsoft by going to your Privacy Dashboard. Note that when the “Hey Cortana” feature is on, Cortana wakes up only when you say “Hey Cortana,” and only collects your voice input after she hears those keywords.
On occasion, when the “Hey Cortana” feature is on Cortana may inadvertently be activated in response to misunderstanding words being spoken. This is typically due to background noise that led our automated speech recognition technology to believe the wake word was triggered. We continue to strive to improve our technology and prevent these inadvertent activations and Cortana will provide you with visual signals to let you know she is listening.
To help you get around when you visit places, learn which places are important to you, and get to know your location based routines, Cortana needs your device location data. Cortana can save commonly visited places as favorites, which will then also appear in other Microsoft services such as the Maps app. Cortana can also learn your favorite places from the Maps app.
Location data will let Cortana help you in a variety of ways. For example, Cortana can give you traffic alerts before you need to leave for work, or send you reminders based on location, such as, “You’re near the grocery store where you wanted to buy milk.”
Cortana collects your location periodically even if you’re not interacting with the service. To provide location assisted information, Cortana will periodically download and use the GPS location from your device. Cortana can also download and use other location related signals, such as when you connect to your Wi Fi network, and its name, or when you disconnect from Bluetooth. Cortana will also automatically send your location to Bing when Cortana suggests web search terms and results for Bing to use, as described in thePrivacy Statement.
Users must be above a certain age to use Cortana. When a user tries to sign in, Cortana checks the age setting for that particular Microsoft account, and users that are identified as being too young cannot sign in or have a personalized Cortana experience. Cortana on Windows will still help younger users search the web, or perform other tasks that don’t require any personal data.