Turn your Echo speakers into a security system
Adam Molina / Android Authority
One of the lesser-known options on Amazon Echo speakers is Alexa Guard, a security feature that uses microphone sound to detect intruders or alarms. Here’s a guide to using Alexa Guard, plus the benefits of upgrading to the more powerful Alexa Guard Plus.
See also: How to Use Amazon Alexa
Alexa Guard is a US-only option that listens for the sound of broken glass or smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If you pay for Alexa Guard Plus, sound detection expands to things like footsteps and door closings, 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 To keep. Follow the prompts.
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What is Alexa Guard?
Normally, the only thing Echo speakers listen to all the time is Alexa’s wake word for voice commands. With the basic version of Alexa Guard enabled, the speakers can listen to sounds of breaking glass or smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. You will receive a notification from the Alexa mobile app if this happens.
To deter intruders, you can also configure Guard to turn on Alexa-linked smart lighting and connect it to security systems from ADT, Scout, or Amazon’s own Ring.
Enabling Guard is pretty straightforward, although it’s currently limited to the United States. In the Alexa app for Android or iOS:
- Press the Following tab at the bottom of the screen.
- Faucet Settings.
- To select To keep. You will need to scroll down the list a bit.
- Faucet Configure sound detection and follow the prompts.
Note that you’ll need to arm Alexa Guard every time you leave the house and disarm it when you return (more on that later). You’ll probably also need multiple Echo devices, as Guard in your living room won’t help much if someone comes in through the kitchen window.
Alexa Guard vs. Alexa Guard Plus
Amazon also offers a paid Alexa Guard upgrade, Alexa Guard Plus. After a one-month trial, 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 in 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, Resideo, A3 Smart Home, or Wyze.
Here’s what Alexa Guard Plus adds:
- More sound detection options, including footsteps, conversations and door closing.
- Smart alerts (notifications) that include the ability to play audio, listen live, call the Amazon-operated emergency helpline, or report information to a supported security provider.
- 24/7 access to the emergency helpline, whether through the Alexa app or by saying “Alexa, call for help” in front of any Alexa-enabled speaker. Helpline workers can request emergency services such as the police or fire department.
- A dog bark sounds if an Alexa-enabled camera detects motion outside.
- The siren sounds if an intruder is detected inside. You should turn off smart activity alerts if you have pets, as Guard has no way of filtering out pet noises 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” to an Echo. You’ll still need to set up 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 (go to Away mode) when you say “I’m leaving” to Alexa and disarm (go to Home mode) when you say “I’m home.” Make sure you are really ready to go when you arm, because your activity may trigger false notifications. This is especially true if you have Guard Plus’ additional sound detection options enabled.
If these phrases don’t work or you want to replace them with something else, you can troubleshoot through the Routines menu in the Alexa app. There you will find the phrases listed if they are active. Also, don’t forget that you can use Alexa Guard as a trigger or action in any routine – you can, for example, disarm Guard when you unlock the front door.
Read: 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. In fact, 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.
Read more: The best Alexa devices
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