Technology might have been a problem in your marriage, but it’s even more likely it will be an issue during and after your divorce. Smart homes offer lots of convenient perks to a technologically savvy couple, but those same devices can present privacy concerns when you’ve decided to split.
If your former spouse installed your smart devices, you might struggle to feel like your home is a safe space. Smart thermostats, lighting, locks, and even home security cameras are often accessible via smartphones and can be operated remotely.
Here’s what you need to know to reclaim control of your smart home after divorce.
Assert your independence, and make sure your space truly feels like it belongs to you.
Do a surveillance sweep
Often, we can forget how many smart home devices we actually have humming along quietly in the background. Walk room to room and make a list of all the devices you’ll need to check and update. Look for things you may not have noticed before like the smart lighting in the bedroom, the speaker that plays Spotify from a shared account, or the smart thermostat that knows when you’ve arrived home.
Once you’ve finished your smart device inventory, you can double-check what devices are connecting to your Wi-Fi by going into the settings for your router. Because most companies provide manuals online, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find detailed instructions about how to secure and change the settings on each smart home device.
Change usernames and passwords
You’ll want to change usernames and passwords not only for your network of smart devices but also for your shared accounts and your router. Focus on setting up strong passwords that will prevent hacking but also won’t contain personal data your ex-spouse might guess, like the date of a special event or your favorite color. If you have serious concerns about privacy, some devices and accounts offer two-step authentication as an extra security measure. And make sure you change any default settings that might send texts or emails to a shared phone number or joint email account.
Secure your smart speakers
In addition to securing standard smart speakers, you’ll also want to address smart home hubs like Amazon Echo or Google Home with virtual assistant functions that respond to your requests and stay listening to the room. You’ll want to change settings and passwords, including blocking incoming voice and video calls and removing drop-in functions. For more sophisticated smart home hubs, you may also have to disable the microphone and camera. While you’re managing your settings, don’t forget to delete voice command data and disconnect from any shared online accounts so you don’t get sabotaged by surprise purchases.
Update your home security system
After you take care of updating your smart home devices, you’ll want to update profiles, passwords, firmware, and software on your home security system. Newer systems have a control panel that acts as the hub for your other security devices, so be sure only you can control this device by changing the password or removing other account profiles. Next, pay particular attention to things like cameras, door locks, smart lighting, and home security alarms that your former partner may have retained access to remotely on a smartphone app.
Your home alarm system helps you feel secure in your space, and the last thing you want is for it to be vulnerable to interference. As a recent divorcée, you should feel confident that you’re the only person who can access your home and that you can keep unwanted guests out.
Install additional security measures
Once you’re living on your own, you may find that you want to add security measures and devices that make you feel safer at home alone. This desire may mean installing window or door sensors or integrating indoor cameras with motion detection. Even simple changes like smart lighting that turns on when you pull into the garage or creates the illusion of occupancy when you’re away can help you feel safer in your home. You may also decide it’s an excellent time to get a canine companion who can not only keep you company but help scare off intruders. Securing your home can help you reclaim a safe space to call your own.