A Detailed Guide: How to Turn Cortana Off on Your Windows Device

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Ever asked, Who is Cortana, anyway? Cortana is a virtual assistant developed by Microsoft for Windows 10, later also integrated into Windows phones and the Xbox gaming console. Functioning much like Siri, Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, she can complete tasks, answer questions, set reminders, and more.

However, in some cases, users might want to turn off Cortana. Concerns about privacy, which many value highly in this era of digital technology, drive a significant number of these cases. Cortana stores personal data to learn from and better assist the user, but not everyone is comfortable with this. Moreover, turning off Cortana can help minimize data usage and sometimes even improve your system’s performance—a boon for those using older devices.

Detailed Guide: How to turn Cortana off

The process of turning off Cortana varies per device. This guide will show you how to disable it on Windows 10, mobile devices, and Xbox.

Steps for turning off Cortana in Windows 10

1. Open the Start Menu and click on the Settings icon.
2. Go to Privacy and select Speech, inking, & typing.
3. Find the option Stop getting to know me and click it to turn off Cortana.

Steps for turning off Cortana on mobile devices

1. Open Cortana on your phone.
2. Head to the menu and select Settings.
3. Scroll down to Cortana Across My Devices and switch it off.

Steps for turning off Cortana on Xbox

1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.
2. Navigate to Settings, then select System.
3. Select Cortana Settings and toggle it off.

Every step simply toggles off the functionality and data collection for Cortana, effectively switching off the assistant.

How Cortana functions after being turned off

After you’ve turned off Cortana, she will no longer collect data or assist you. Any residual functions are minimal and mostly pertain to basic search functions. As for your data, it remains stored with Microsoft unless you opt to clear it completely from the server.

Benefits of Turning Off Cortana

Turning off Cortana can help improve performance, especially on older devices. It can also increase your privacy and reduce the amount of data consumed as Cortana will no longer collect information, function in the background or synchronize data across devices.

Potential Downsides of Turning Off Cortana

While turning off Cortana does have its benefits, it does come with a price. You’ll lose the convenience she provides, such as setting reminders or answering questions. Depending on how dependent you are on Cortana, keeping her enabled might make more sense.

Alternatives to Cortana for Users Who Turned It Off

After turning off Cortana, there are other digital assistants to choose from, such as Google Assistant and Siri. These offer similar functionalities but may differ in how they handle privacy, device compatibility, and personalization.


While Cortana can be immensely helpful, it’s essential to understand your rights and decide what’s best for your privacy and personal needs. Whether you decide to keep Cortana running or prefer to switch her off, this guide has shown you how to effectively navigate your options.

FAQ Section

What is Cortana?

Why might someone want to turn off Cortana?

Will turning off Cortana affect my device’s operation?

What can Cortana do that might violate my privacy?

What will happen to my data after turning off Cortana?

What alternatives are there to Cortana?

Can I turn Cortana back on if I regret turning it off?

What functions will I lose if I turn off Cortana?

Does turning off Cortana save data or improve device speed?