Microsoft explains privacy settings around the new Recall feature, formerly AI Explorer

AI Explorer requires quite a massive minimum spec

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Key notes

  • Microsoft unveiled the Recall feature for Copilot+ PCs at Build 2024.
  • Recall allows searching all PC actions and files, with privacy controls and local storage.
  • But still, there are still concerns regarding privacy issues, since it records snapshots of your PCs.

Microsoft came out with a lot of AI-centric announcements at the recent Build 2024 conference. The Copilot+ PCs and smaller language models got plenty of airtime, but perhaps folks have been voicing their concern over the AI-powered Recall feature.

If you’re out of the loop, the Recall feature on Copilot+ PCs, which was then called “AI Explorer” during its development, lets you search for anything on your PC. And by saying anything, we mean anything and everything: not just files, but even actions that you’ve previously done on your PCs such as opening meetings, websites you visited, etc.

It sounds really promising, but there are still some privacy concerns. Of course, it’s impossible to perform the Recall feature without Windows 11 tracking down everything you do on your desktop. It then presents all the actions in the format of an explorable and scrollable timeline.

“To help provide you with that “photographic” memory, Windows saves snapshots of your screen periodically,” says Microsoft in the announcement.

The Redmond tech giant then cleared out the rumor. The new Recall feature, turns out, does not always keep snapshots of your screen automatically. You still have control over what’s saved, and it’s possible to disable, pause temporarily, filter apps, or even delete them at any time. 

All the process still runs locally, meaning it won’t be stored in Microsoft’s cloud whatsoever. To tweak the settings of this Recall feature, you can go to Settings > Privacy & security > Recall & snapshots.

The Recall feature, previously known as an “AI Explorer,” may still not come for all PCs, though. It requires quite a big resource. A previous leak suggests that you need to have at least 16 GB of RAM, a Snapdragon X Elite NPU, a total of minimum 225GB system drive, and an ARM64 processor.