The holidays are just around the corner, and you might be thinking of buying some gifts for your family and friends on Amazon.
But how do you make sure that your purchases remain a secret until the big day? You don’t want to spoil the surprise by having them see your order history, delivery notifications or package labels.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your Amazon gift purchases a secret this holiday season.
Amazon website. (Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson)
1. Create a separate Amazon account
One of the easiest ways to keep your gift purchases a secret is to create a separate Amazon account just for buying gifts. This way, you can avoid sharing your order history, recommendations and wish lists with anyone else who uses your main account.
You can also use a different email address and phone number for your gift account, so you won’t receive any delivery notifications or emails that might give away your gifts.
If you don’t already have one, here’s how you can get a cheap Amazon Prime membership.
Woman shopping on Amazon. (Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson )
2. Turn on Amazon Household
This may be the simplest solution. Amazon Household is an Amazon feature that allows you to share your Prime benefits with the family. You can create up to two adult accounts, four teens and four child profiles. Amazon Household keeps all shopping purchases and notifications for shipping separate. So, no need to worry about your Christmas present being revealed before giving it out.
With Amazon Household, you not only get to keep your purchase separate, but you can also share eBooks, audiobooks, digital content and games.
An Amazon household ad. (Amazon)
3. Hide or archive your orders
Another option to keep your gift purchases a secret is to hide or archive your orders on your Amazon account. This will remove them from your default order history view, so they won’t show up when you or someone else checks your recent orders. The following will only work on a desktop or laptop browser (not on a tablet or mobile device).
- Log In to your Amazon account
- Click on ‘Returns and Orders’ in the top right cornerA list of your orders from the past three months will appear
- A list of your orders from the past three months will appear
- Scroll to find the item you want to hideBelow the item, you will see ‘Archive Order’A window will appear and you’ll need to select ‘Archive order’ againIf you do not see ‘Archive Order,’ select ‘View order details to the right of the purchased itemOn the right-hand side, select "Archive order’
- Below the item, you will see ‘Archive Order’A window will appear and you’ll need to select ‘Archive order’ again
- A window will appear and you’ll need to select ‘Archive order’ again
- If you do not see ‘Archive Order,’ select ‘View order details to the right of the purchased itemOn the right-hand side, select "Archive order’
- On the right-hand side, select "Archive order’
The last step to archive an order on Amazon. (Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson)
Even though the item will no longer appear in Your Orders, you can still view it in ‘Archived Orders’ from Your Account.
4. Turn off shipment notifications and tracking
If you don’t want to receive any shipment notifications or tracking information for your gift purchases, you can also turn them off on your Amazon account. This will prevent you from getting any emails, texts or push notifications that might reveal your gifts.
To turn off shipment notifications and tracking in Amazon, you can follow these steps:
- Open the Amazon app on your phone, open the menu and tap "Settings."
- Tap the "Notifications" option in the list.
- Disable the types of notifications you don’t want to receive, such as "Shipment Notifications," "Delivery Notifications," "Returns and Order Updates," etc.
A woman shops at Amazon on her laptop. (Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson)
5. Hide from Alexa
Now, if you have some real sleuths in your household, you are going to need to do more than just archive your purchases to make sure your gifts are still surprises. You can start by changing your Alexa settings.
- Open the Alexa app
- Click Settings
- Find and Select Notifications, then select Amazon Shopping
- Scroll to Say or Show Item Titles. Toggle the switches off for "For items in delivery updates," "For items in return updates" and "Including items in your shopping cart marked as gifts, or those that might be gifts during major holidays"
Now Alexa will still notify you when a package is being delivered, but it will not say what the item is.
An Alexa device. (Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson )
6. Clear Your Search History
We all have that one relentless person, determined to find out which presents were purchased this year. Another step to keep them off your tracks is deleting your ‘Search History.’
The following will only work on a desktop or laptop browser (not on a tablet or mobile device).
- Go to ‘Account & Lists’ in the upper right corner of your browser, then select ‘Recommendations’
- Click ‘Your Browsing History (text in gray strip towards top of the screen)
- Select ‘Manage history’ (text towards the right part of the screen). This will open up a row and reveal "Manage history"
- Click ‘Remove all items from view’ button
- Then select ‘Remove all items from view’ yellow button that will appear in the center of your screen
7. Use Amazon Locker or Amazon Hub
If you don’t want your gift purchases to be delivered to your home address, you can also use Amazon Locker or Amazon Hub to pick them up at a nearby location. This way, you can avoid having your packages left on your doorstep or seen by anyone else in your household. Amazon Locker and Amazon Hub are secure, self-service kiosks where you can pick up and return your Amazon packages at your convenience.
A child placing a box into an Amazon locker. (Amazon)
To ship to an Amazon Pickup Location
- Go to Amazon Pickup.
- Search by address, Zip Code, or landmark.
- Choose a location.
- Select Add to my addresses.
- Once the address is in your address book, select Ship to this address during checkout. For the option to appear, all items in your order must be eligible for delivery to a Pickup location.
Kurt's key takeaways
Whether you choose to create a separate account, hide or archive your orders, turn off notifications or use Amazon Locker or Hub, you can rest assured that your loved ones will be surprised by your gifts. Amazon makes it easy and convenient to shop for gifts online, and with these tips, you can keep your purchases a secret this holiday season.
What are some of the benefits and challenges of buying gifts online versus in-store? Which one do you prefer and why? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact
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Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson is an award-winning tech journalist who has a deep love of technology, gear and gadgets that make life better with his contributions for Fox News & FOX Business beginning mornings on "FOX & Friends." Got a tech question? Get Kurt’s CyberGuy Newsletter, share your voice, a story idea or comment at CyberGuy.com.