Cortana

Cortana and my privacy FAQ

    • You can control whether Cortana is on or off. For more info, see the "Flip the master switch" section in Cortana's settings.
    • If Cortana is on, you have options for managing the info in Cortana's Notebook, and also data that has synced to the cloud. For more info, see the "How to manage your data when Cortana is on" section in this topic.
    • If Cortana is on, you can control detection of tracking info in emails. For more info, see the "What is Cortana looking for in my email and texts?" section in this topic.
    • Regardless if Cortana is on or off, you can choose whether to send your browsing history to Microsoft to help improve our services and products. If Cortana is on, browsing history that you choose to send to Microsoft will also be used to offer personalized suggestions. You can change this setting on your phone in Settings > Applications > Internet Explorer > Advanced settings, and clear or select the Send browsing history to improve and (where available) personalize services check box.
    • If Cortana is on, you can control whether Cortana uses information from your Facebook account for personalization. For more info, see the "Sign in or out of Facebook" section in Cortana's settings. Note that if you turn Cortana off after connecting Cortana to Facebook, you'll continue to receive Facebook personalization in other experiences on your phone. To disconnect Facebook after turning off Cortana, go to Settings > Applications > Store, tap Suggestions, tap and hold Facebook, and then tap Remove facebook suggestions to remove Facebook suggestions.
  • Cortana needs to know about your location so that she can provide personal assistant features to you, such as giving you a traffic update when you leave work, or reminding you to get milk when you're at the store.

  • Cortana uses the location info that Windows Phone periodically collects (GPS, Wi-Fi-based and cellular) throughout the day, either based on behavior you do, such as connecting to a Wi-Fi location, or at intervals unrelated to whether you're using your phone. If you have previously allowed Microsoft to collect your location information through other apps and services such as the Map app, Local Scout, or m.bing.com, Cortana may also use this location history information to provide you with more relevant suggestions.

    For more info about how Windows Phone uses your location information, See Location and my privacy FAQ.

  • When you add a place, like Home or Work, to the Notebook, this lets Cortana know that these are important places for you. For places that you define, or that Microsoft already knows about, we may customize your experience based on geofences. See the "What is a geofence" section in Location awareness and my phone for more info. Your phone keeps track of the geofences that matter to you and notifies apps when appropriate. Using geofences, Cortana can provide personal assistant features, like triggering relevant reminders to you. She uses your location changes in order to learn your routine and help you with the relevant recommendations, for example—show you traffic at the time you usually leave for home or work.

  • Cortana will try to detect your Home and Work locations, and prompt you to add those to her Notebook. If you choose to add them, this helps Cortana personalize your experience. If you add those or other locations to Cortana's Notebook, you will see them under Places. If you are signed in with the same Microsoft account that you use with Cortana, and you use Microsoft Maps apps, such as the Windows Phone 8.1 Maps app or the latest update of the Windows 8.1 Desktop Maps Preview app, you will be able to view and edit the places you save to Cortana's Notebook in these Maps apps, too. This means that if you make a change to a saved location in one app, this change will appear in all of them. Not all of the Microsoft Maps apps are currently integrated into the unified experience, but as we make new apps available in other Windows 8.1 devices, we aim to include these into the rest of the Microsoft favorite places ecosystem.

  • If you use the Bing.com/maps webpage to add a favorite place, this is currently stored separately from any Cortana-added places. To view and manage these saved places, go to Bing Maps.

  • If you use the desktop Bing Maps app to add a favorite place, this is currently stored separately from any Cortana-added places. To view and manage these saved places, open the desktop Maps app, right-click the canvas, click Favorites, and then edit or add a favorite place.

  • You can ask Cortana to do things for you with text or voice commands. When you make a voice command through Cortana, in order to both understand your request and improve Microsoft speech recognition-related products and services, we use proprietary technologies such as, for example, acoustic and natural language processing models to record and interpret your request. Your voice-dictated Bing search queries are treated like other text-based search requests and may be used to improve your Bing search results and provide relevant advertising to you.

  • Cortana looks for certain keywords—like a date and time, which suggests a possible appointment—and if she detects them in your email and text messages, this lets her provide personal assistant features. For example, you can click on a date and time suggested in an email to add it to your calendar. In addition, she can detect things that have tracking info, like flight information, to alert you if your flight is delayed. You can turn off detection of tracking info in emails (such as flight information) on your phone in Settings > Applications > Cortana, and clear the Detect tracking info, such as flights, in emails on your phone check box. Cortana doesn't look at S/MIME or IRM-protected messages.

  • To provide personalized recommendations powered by Bing, Cortana collects data such as your calendar, contacts, geofence locations, and browse history ("Other Cortana data"). When Cortana is on, the info you choose to put in her Notebook also syncs to the cloud to customize your experiences with other Microsoft apps and services, such as Bing or MSN apps and vice versa. The info from her Notebook that syncs includes interests and saved places.

    How interests work:

    • When you add an interest to Cortana's Notebook on the phone, and you sign in with that same Microsoft account on other Microsoft apps and services, you may see that interest personalize the services and apps you use, like the MSN Sports app and vice versa.
    • When you are asked whether something should be added as an interest, and you reject it, we will remember that this topic should not be used to personalize your experiences when you're signed in.
    • After you have set an interest in Cortana's Notebook, if you clear it, then this interest will no longer be used to personalize your experiences.

    How places work:

    • When you add a favorite place to Cortana's Notebook on the phone, and you sign in with that same Microsoft account on other Microsoft apps and services, that saved place may be used to personalize the services and apps you use, like on your phone's Maps app. In this example, if you clear that saved place from Cortana's Notebook, it will also be deleted from your phone's Maps app.

    You can create a more customized experience on both Cortana and Bing, and if you choose to sign in to Facebook. For more info about connecting Facebook with Cortana, see the "Sign in or out of Facebook" in Cortana's settings. For more info about how connecting to Facebook can customize your experience, see the "Facebook Personalization" section in the Bing Privacy Statement.

  • If you turn off Cortana and restart your phone, here are your options for managing info:

    • Cortana stores your info in the cloud and on your device: To provide personalized recommendations, Cortana collects data such as your calendar, contacts, geofence locations, and browse history ("Other Cortana data"). Cortana also syncs your interests and saved places between your phone and the cloud so that you can get personalization on Bing-powered Microsoft apps and services. Some of the items in your Notebook, like reminders, quiet hours, inner circle and music searches, are not synced to the cloud, so they will remain until you clear them from the device.
    • Managing data in the cloud: On your phone, go to Settings > Applications > Cortana, and then tap Manage cloud data to view the settings page on the Bing.com dashboard. Here, you can clear your saved places and interests, and other Cortana data. You can manage your interests and other Cortana data by going directly to the Bing.com dashboard from your PC, and then go to the Settings tab > Personalization.
    • Managing data on your device: On your phone, go to Settings > Applications > Cortana, and then tap Delete phone data to clear the items in Cortana's Notebook. Because Cortana is turned off, she won't store new things in her Notebook unless you turn her back on. If you turn Cortana back on when there is still data in the cloud (like interests and saved places), she will repopulate her Notebook with information from the cloud.
  • If Cortana is on, here are your options for managing your info:

    • Managing info on your device: On your phone, you can view and edit Cortana's Notebook while Cortana is on, and control each individual item that appears there. To do this, open Cortana's Notebook Cortana's Notebook , go to a section, and clear a specific item. When you do this, the changes will be reflected both on your device and in the cloud. Because Cortana is on, she will continue to suggest new things to store in her Notebook.
    • On a PC, go to the Bing.com dashboard, and go the Settings tab > Personalization and sign in with the Microsoft account that you use with your phone. Here you can clear your interests, or other Cortana data (such as your calendar, contacts, geofence location, and browsing history), which clears them both on the cloud and in your Notebook. You can view and clear your saved places in the mapping app you use.

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