One of the lesser-known options on the Amazon Echo speaker is Alexa Guard, a security feature that uses microphone audio to catch intruders or alarms. Here’s a guide to using Alexa Guard, plus the benefits of upgrading to the more robust Alexa Guard Plus.
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Alexa Guard is a US-only feature on Alexa speakers that listens for broken glass or smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If you pay for Alexa Guard Plus, voice detection expands to things like steps and locked doors, and emergency response options become available. To get started with Alexa Guard, open the Alexa app, select More tab, then Adjustment, Scroll down and tap Protector, Follow the signs.
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What is Alexa Guard?
Normally the only thing Echo speakers are constantly hearing is a wake word for voice commands. With the basic version of Alexa Guard enabled, speakers can hear the sound of glass breaking, or smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. You’ll get a notification from the Alexa mobile app when this happens.
To deter intruders, you can configure the Guard to turn on smart lighting connected to Alexa, and/or link it to security systems from ADT, Abode, Scout, and Amazon’s own Ring.
- tap More tab at the bottom of the screen.
- tap Adjustment,
- to select Protector, You’ll have to scroll down the list a bit.
- tap set up sound check And follow the signs.
note that you have to arm Alexa Guard whenever you leave the house, and Capturing When you return (more on this later). You’ll probably also need multiple Echo devices, because having a guard in your living room won’t help much if someone sneaks in through a kitchen window.
Alexa Guard vs Alexa Guard Plus
Amazon also offers a paid upgrade to Alexa Guard, Alexa Guard Plus, After a one-month trial period, it costs $4.99 per month, or $49 per year, with the latter option saving 18% if you’re up for an annual commitment. It’s included for free with Ring Protect Pro plans, as long as you link your Ring and Amazon accounts. Eventually, you’ll get Guard Plus with security plans from Abode, Scout, Rezidio, A3 Smart Home, or Wyze.
Here’s what Alexa Guard Plus adds:
- More voice recognition categories, such as footprints, talking and closing doors.
- Smart alert(s) including audio recording, a live listening option, and/or the ability to call an emergency helpline operated by Amazon or forward information to a supported security provider.
- 24/7 access to the emergency helpline, whether via the Alexa app or say “Alexa, call for help” in front of an Alexa-compatible speaker. Helpline workers can make requests to emergency services such as the police or fire department. You cannot call those services directly.
- If a compatible camera observes motion outside, the dog barks. These include products from Arlo, August, Blink and Ring.
- If an intruder comes to his senses inside the house, the siren sounds. If you have pets you should disable Activity Smart Alerts, as the guard has no way of filtering out pet noise from humans.
related: The best smart security cameras you can buy
How to set up Alexa Guard Plus
You can subscribe through Amazon’s website, or say “Alexa, try Guard Plus” for an Echo. You’ll still need to configure Alexa Guard through the Alexa mobile app, which includes adding a home address and activating your subscription. The address is needed so that respondents know where to go.
How to Bind and Deactivate Alexa Guard
Usually the Alexa Guard is set on the arm (switch to far mode) when you tell Alexa “I’m leaving,” and disarm (switch House mode) when you say “I’m at home.” Make sure you are really prepared to go hand in hand, as there is a chance that your activity could trigger false notifications. This is especially true if you have voice recognition options in addition to Guard Plus.
If those phrases aren’t working or you want to change them to something else, you can fix things through the Alexa app More > Routines Menu. If phrases are active you will find phrases listed there. Remember, too, that you can use the Alexa Guard as a trigger or verb in a routine – for example, when you unlock the front door, you can disarm the guard.
Reading: How to Use Alexa Routines
Which Echo Devices Support Alexa Guard?
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
Virtually all Echo devices support Alexa Guard, dating back to the first generation. The only exceptions are the Echo Look, portable Echo products (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, astro,
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frequently asked questions
Most likely this is due to money and complexity. Expanding to even Canada or the UK will require development resources, partnerships with local security firms and dedicated emergency helpline teams. It may eventually happen, but Amazon is starting out with its most lucrative market.
If you want Guard Plus as a free add-on, you’ll need to sign up for Ring Protect Pro through Ring.com, or a first-generation Ring Protect Plus subscription.
With this all you need to do is link your Ring and Amazon accounts, which you’ve probably already done if you have both Ring and Echo devices. When you go to activate Guard in the Alexa app, you’ll be guided through Guard Plus setup.
Yes, but if you sign up for Guard Plus, you’ll want to disable Activity Smart Alerts. Noises made by cats, dogs or birds can otherwise turn off Plus’ extended voice recognition.
No, there are legal reasons, but above all else, Amazon is probably keen to avoid people abusing those services.
If there’s a real danger you’ll have to manually call emergency workers, or use Amazon’s emergency helpline (see first for details). The latter is only available to people with Guard Plus, a verified phone number linked to Alexa, and Alexa Communications enabled in the Alexa app.
If you have a child who may accidentally call for help, be sure to disable communication for any personal Echo devices they have. You can do this through the device’s settings in the Alexa app.
Strictly not, because even after you arm it, it can only trigger local actions (ie sirens, smart lighting, and so on) then push alerts to you. It’s up to you to call for help.
If you or someone you know will always be able to see Guard Plus alerts, monitoring may not be so important. However, it would be a good idea to pair the Guard Plus with other smart security products, such as door, window, and motion sensors. If they’re compatible with Alexa, you can have routines trigger things like lights, sounds, and locks.