Alexa Guard is a free feature available for supported Amazon Echo devices that can detect the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, or glass breaking when you set Guard to Away mode. How to use Alexa Guard: Turn your Echo speakers into a security system. Alexa can send you Smart Alerts, via notifications to your mobile device. If you have a Ring Alarm security system, Alexa can also arm your system when you set Guard to Away mode. You can also opt to forward smart alerts to your security provider, or to Ring Alarm if you are professionally monitored. If you have smart lights, Alexa can automatically turn your lights on and off when Guard is in Away mode, to make it look like someone is home.
One of the lesser-known options on Amazon Echo speakers is Alexa Guard, a security feature that uses microphone audio to catch intruders or alarms. Here’s a guide to using Alexa Guard, and the benefits of upgrading to the more robust Alexa Guard Plus.
Alexa Guard is a US-only feature of Alexa speakers that listens for the sound of glass breaking or smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If you pay for Alexa Guard Plus, sound detection expands to things like footsteps and closing doors, and emergency response options become available. To get started with Alexa Guard, open the Alexa app, select the More tab, then Settings. Scroll down and tap Guard. Follow prompts.
What is Alexa Guard?
Usually the only thing Echo speakers are listening for continually is a wake word for voice commands. With the basic version of Alexa Guard enabled, speakers can listen for the sounds of glass breaking, or smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. You’ll get a notification from the Alexa mobile app if this happens.
To deter intruders, you can also configure Guard to turn on smart lighting linked to Alexa, and/or connect it with security systems from ADT, Abode, Scout, and Amazon’s own Ring.
Switching Guard on is fairly simple, although it’s currently limited to the 50 US states. In the Alexa app for Android or iOS:
- Tap the More tab at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap Settings.
- Select Guard. You’ll have to scroll down the list a bit.
- Tap Set Up Sound Detection and follow prompts.
Note that you’ll have to arm Alexa Guard whenever you leave home, and disarm it when you return (more on this later). You’ll probably also need multiple Echo devices, since having Guard in your living room won’t help much if someone breaks in through the kitchen window.
Alexa Guard vs Alexa Guard Plus
Amazon also offers a paid upgrade of Alexa Guard, Alexa Guard Plus. After a month-long trial period, this costs $4.99 per month, or $49 per year, the latter option saving 18% if you’re ready for an annual commitment. It’s included with Ring Protect Pro plans for free as long as you link your Ring and Amazon accounts. Eventually, you’ll get Guard Plus bundled with security plans from Abode, Scout, Resideo, A3 Smart Home, or Wyze.
Here’s what Alexa Guard Plus adds:
- More sound detection categories, such as footsteps, talking, and doors closing.
- Smart Alerts (notifications) that include audio recordings, a live listening option, and/or the ability to call the Amazon-run Emergency Helpline or forward information to a supported security provider.
- 24/7 access to the Emergency Helpline, whether through the Alexa app or saying “Alexa, call for help” in front of any Alexa-compatible speaker. Helpline workers can request emergency services like the police or fire department. You can’t call those services directly.
- Dog barking sounds if a compatible camera sees motion outside. These include products from Arlo, August, Blink, and Ring.
- Siren sounds if an intruder is sensed indoors. You should disable activity Smart Alerts if you have pets, since Guard has no way of filtering out pet noises from human ones.
How to set up Alexa Guard Plus
You can subscribe via Amazon’s website, or say “Alexa, try Guard Plus” to an Echo. You’ll still have to configure Alexa Guard through the Alexa mobile app, including adding a home address and activating your subscription. The address is needed so responders know where to go.
How to arm and disarm Alexa Guard
Typically Alexa Guard is set to arm (switch to Away mode) when you tell Alexa “I’m leaving,” and disarm (switch to Home mode) when you say “I’m home.” Be sure you’re genuinely ready to leave when you arm, because there’s a chance your activity could trigger false notifications. That’s especially true if you have Guard Plus’s extra sound detection options on.
If those phrases aren’t working or you want to change them to something else, you can fix things through the Alexa app’s More > Routines menu. You’ll find the phrases listed there if they’re active. Remember, too, that you can use Alexa Guard as a trigger or action in routines — you could, for instance, have Guard disarm when you unlock the front door.
Which Echo devices support Alexa Guard?
Virtually all Echo devices support Alexa Guard, reaching back to the first generation. The only exceptions are the Echo Look, portable Echo products (the Echo Auto, Echo Buds, and Echo Tap), and companion devices like the Echo Amp or Echo Sub. Guard also works on Amazon’s first robot, the Astro.
Currently Supported Echo Devices
- Echo Show
- Echo Dot
- Echo Plus
Alexa cannot detect selected sounds on the following Amazon devices:
- Echo Look
- Amazon Tap
- The Alexa app
- Alexa Mobile Accessories
- Echo devices without a microphone, such as:
- Echo Link
- Echo Glow
- Echo Wall Clock
How to Enable Alexa Guard Plus if you have a Ring Protect Plan
If you already have Ring Protect Pro or Plus (1st Gen) and want to enable Alexa Guard Plus, you’ll need the latest version of the Alexa app and Echo software that’s up to date. Your Alexa app should update itself automatically. If you need to make sure your Echo device software is updated, click here.
You can only set up Alexa Guard in the Alexa app, not the Ring app. Once you’ve successfully linked your Ring and Amazon accounts, proceed to the Alexa app to activate Guard Plus. Go to Settings, select Guard, and follow the on-screen instructions to confirm an emergency address.
Note: If you have a 30-day or extended Ring Protect trial subscription, you must subscribe to Ring Protect to be eligible for Alexa Guard Plus. You will be charged when you subscribe to a plan and after your trial subscription ends.
To check for updates go to the appropriate app store for your mobile device. Once you’re in the app store, look for an Update button. If you don’t see an update button, you have the latest version of the Alexa app.
iOS – Apple
Google Play – Android
You’ll also need to link your Ring account and Amazon account. Keep in mind that the Amazon account that you link to your Ring account must be the same account where the Alexa device is registered.
You can find out more about linking your Ring and Amazon account here.
To see if your Ring Account is linked to your Amazon Account already:
- Tap the three lines on the top left of your Ring app.
- Tap Account.
- In Account Settings.
- Scroll down to Linked Accounts.
- If your Amazon Account is linked you’ll see Amazon under Linked Accounts with your email address.
- If your Amazon account is not linked you’ll see Link Your Amazon Account.
- Tap to link your Amazon account and you’ll be prompted to enter your password for your Ring account.
- Then, you’ll see a prompt to Sign In to your Amazon account.
- Once you’ve successfully entered your login credentials, you’ll receive a message that says Success! Accounts linked.
- Then, you can tap Got It! on the bottom of the screen and you will be returned to your Ring Account Settings page.
- To navigate back to the main menu, tap the three lines on the top left side of the screen.
Note: If you have more than one person in your household that uses the Ring app or more than one person with an Amazon account, make sure to use the Ring account of the owner of the Ring device(s) and link the Ring owner’s account with the Amazon account where the Echo device is registered. The email that you use for your Ring account does not need to be the same email that you use for your Amazon account.
The person that originally installed the Ring product on their mobile device is the account owner.
To find out more about Ring account ownership, click here.
You can only set up Guard Plus in the Alexa app, not the Ring app.
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