September 18, 2020
6 Amazon Echo settings you won't regret changing

3 Amazon Echo security features to turn on when you leave the house


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An Amazon Echo can guard your house.


Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Whether you’re visiting a family member for a few days or taking that much-needed camping trip, it’s always reassuring to know your house is protected while you’re gone. An Amazon Echo can be your watchdog.

The Alexa voice assistant has several built-in security features to help protect your home, such as Alexa Guard, which can detect if someone is breaking into your house, and Alexa Drop-In, which lets you listen in to see what the detected noise could be.

Read on for more Amazon Echo ($34 at Amazon) security features that can help protect your home and how to use them. 

Read: 4 worst places to put your Amazon Echo in your house


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Alexa Guard

A helpful security feature for your Amazon Echo is called Alexa Guard. This free, built-in tool uses the Echo’s microphone to listen for activity, like a window breaking, in your house when you’re not there.

To enable this setting, open your Alexa app menu and tap Settings. From here, scroll down to the bottom and select Guard > Set Up Guard. Tap Add to allow Alexa to send you notifications for Smart Alerts on your phone. The notifications will alert you if Alexa detects the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms or breaking glass. Tap Confirm.

When you’re ready to leave your house for the day, you can say, “Alexa, I’m leaving” to activate Alexa Guard. Remember to say, “Alexa, I’m home” when you return home. On the same screen in the Alexa app, you can tap the green button at the top that says Home to turn on Alexa Guard.

If you live with other people, make sure to let them know that you’ve turned Alexa Guard on — this way, they can turn the setting off when they arrive home.

Read more: Top 6 cheap home security devices in 2020

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Your Echo device will listen for sounds like glass breaking and smoke alarms.


Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Alexa Drop-in

If you’ve got Alexa Guard turned on and you received a notification from Alexa about an alarm or glass breaking, you can immediately drop in on your Echo device. To do so remotely, open the Alexa app on your phone and tap the Communicate icon on the bottom of the screen. Select Drop In and choose the Echo device you want to listen in on. 

If you have an Amazon Echo Show and your camera is enabled, you’ll be able to see a view of what’s happening in your home while you’re away.

Away Lighting

If you’ll be gone for an extended period of time, using Away Lighting will help make it appear as though someone is home. Alexa can turn the lights on and off, like your front porch or living room light. Note that you’ll need a compatible smart light, smart switch or a smart plug ($25 at Amazon) for this to work.

Away Lighting is located in the Guard settings — so again, open the Alexa app settings and tap Guard. From here, tap the gear icon in the top right corner and tap Lights. The next screen will tell you to make sure your smart accessory type is set to “light” in device settings. Tap the device settings link to see the list of your smart accessories and select all that apply. All that you select will work when you trigger Away Lighting when leaving the house.

If you don’t have a smart light, plug or switch, you can select Shop Smart Lighting, which will take you to an Amazon page for smart plugs.

Now that you’ve updated the security settings on your smart speaker, here are six Amazon Echo settings you won’t regret changing
, three Amazon Echo pet peeves and how to fix them
and four top Amazon Echo features to improve and perfect now
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