(Pocket-lint) – Ring is one of the stars of the smart home, with the Video Doorbell being one of those connected devices that everyone wants.
The Ring Video Doorbell will make your front door a connected experience, providing smartphone notifications, allowing two-way communication as well as capturing video of everyone who comes to your door.
But there’s a lot more to it than that. Make sure you’re a Ring master with our comprehensive tips and tricks.
Basic Ring tips and tricks
Do I need any tools for installation? The battery-powered Ring Video Doorbell is the most common device people choose and the tools you need for installation come in the box. You might need a drill depending on where you want to install it, but otherwise everything is provided, including wedge mounts. If you’re after a Pro model, you’ll need to check the existing wiring.
Which Ring Video Doorbell should I buy? That depends what you need. There’s the basic Video Doorbell, the older Video Doorbell 2, new Video Doorbell 3 and 3 Plus, Video Doorbell 4, the Video Doorbell Pro and the Door View Cam. The Pro needs a wired connection while the others run on batteries. You can find a full comparison of devices right here, but the Ring Video Doorbell 4 will be the top choice for many.
Do I need a smartphone to use Ring? You’ll need a compatible smartphone to setup your Ring Video Doorbell. One of the benefits of having a Ring video doorbell is that you get those alerts on your phone. But if the phones are out of the house, the Ring Video Doorbell will still ring.
Do I need a Ring Chime? The Ring Chime or Ring Chime Pro is a separate chime/bell for your Ring doorbell. It’s not essential, but it will allow you to have the doorbell chime in other rooms of the house so you’re not dependent on smartphone alerts.
Can you use an existing chime with Ring? Yes. If you have a wired doorbell that you’re replacing with Ring, you can connect your Ring Video Doorbell to keep using your AC chime. Refer to the installation instructions or the support section of the Ring website for more information.
Create a separate Wi-Fi network for your Ring devices: This is a basic smart home security measure. If you can create a second Wi-Fi network from your router, it’s worth separating your smart home devices from the normal network you’d use for devices like phones, tablets and laptops. Should you have a security breach through your smart home device, this might limit access to other information on your network.
Can I use Ring without a subscription? Yes you can. There’s a free level of monitoring with no additional cost. That will allow all the connected features of Ring, but won’t save any video for you to access later – it’s live or nothing. The Protect Basic plan offers 30 day online storage for all video captured at £2.50/$3 a month. If you have multiple Ring devices, you might need the Protect Plus plan at £8/$10 a month.
Ring security and privacy
Ring can see what’s going on around your home, so you want to make sure that your account is secure too.
How to enable Ring two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication means that you need more than just a password to access your account – you’ll need a code sent to your smartphone too. You can enable this in the account second through the Ring website, or in the Control Center section of the Ring app.
How to remove Ring access from devices: If you’ve authenticated a lot of devices over time with Ring, but have no idea what those devices now are, you can remove them all from your account in Control Center. Just head into the app and you’ll see “authorised client devices”. There’s the option to “remove all” here – but remember you’ll then have to login on devices you want to grant access to Ring.
Allow police access to your videos: If you’re in the US, there’s an option in Control Center to allow requests if the police want to access a video in your area. This might be to gather evidence of a crime – but you have to grant permission to the request to allow that to happen.
Managing motion detection and alerts on Ring
Have alerts open full screen video: If you really want to see what’s happening, you can have any alert open as full screen video on your mobile device. Head into the app menu, find your device and click the settings cog top right. Here’s the option to turn on.
Enable rich notifications in the Ring app: This will mean you don’t need to open the app to see what’s happening, it will give you a preview in the notifications. Head into the Ring app, devices, and open the device. Then select smart notifications and turn on rich notifications.
How to turn off motion notifications: You can turn off motion notifications, but still have motion recorded. Head into the Ring app and you’ll find options for motion alerts in the Video Doorbell, as well as for your Chimes. You can turn off those alerts if you don’t want them.
Customise the motion capture range and area: You can select zones that you want motion detection for. That might be to exclude an area with passing traffic, for example. Head into the app menu, select your device, then motion settings. Here you can change the range, zone, frequency or use the wizard.
Put motion detection on a schedule: While at home you might not need motion detection, but might prefer it when you’re out at work. Head into the advaced settings in motion detection and you can define times and days to have motion detection turned on.
Snooze your motion alerts: If you have a lot of people coming and going – perhaps you’re loading the car or have the door open for a party – then you can snooze the motion alerts through the app. Head into the settings, find your devices and hit snooze the appropriate length of time. You’ll also get this option through notifications on Android devices.
Ring Video Doorbell battery tips and tricks
With the Video Doorbell and the Video Doorbell 2/3/4 there’s an internal battery whereas the Ring Video Doorbell Pro is wired. On the Ring Video Doorbell 2/3/4, this battery is removable, making for easy battery management.
How long does the Ring battery last? The battery life of the Ring Video Doorbell depends on how often it is used and how many motion alerts it detects. That might be a couple of months, but in a busier house, it might be a couple of weeks. The weather also makes a big difference, reducing the life as it gets colder.
How do I check the battery life? There’s a visual icon in the app, but if you head into the device settings and tap on “device health”, you’ll get a proper battery percentage. As your battery depletes, you’ll get alerts to tell you it is low.
Turn turn motion detection to prolong battery: If you find the battery isn’t lasting long, then switching to a lighter motion detection frequency will give you a better life. Whether that’s suitable depends on what you want detection for and if you have other security devices.
Does the Ring Video Doorbell work with a flat battery? No, if you have the Ring Video Doorbell or the Ring Video Doorbell 2/3/4 it needs the battery. If the battery is flat, you get no response from it – no rings, no alerts, no notifications, no sounds.
Can I buy a spare Ring Video Doorbell battery? You can and you should. There’s no fast charging on the battery pack, so it takes a number of hours to fully charge the battery. You can get spare batteries so you can keep one fully charged.
Turn off mobile video access: This is another option in the app settings that will preserve battery life – accessing the live video feed uses a lot of power.
Using Ring with other devices
Use the desktop app to stay connected: When sitting at your desk, or gaming with headphones, the desktop app is a lot more convenient than using your phone all the time. It will bring those alerts to your computer. You can download the app here for Mac, Windows, iOS or Android.
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Use Alexa to view Ring Video: Alexa supports Ring and the Echo Show and Spot (and Fire Tablets with Alexa) can view the Ring video feed. Simply install the Ring Skill through the Alexa app to enable linking. Then you can ask Alexa to show your Ring Video Doorbell on an Echo Show or similar.
Answer your door with Echo Show or Echo Spot: When your doorbell is pressed, you can ask Alexa to answer the door – just say “Alexa, answer the front door” and you’ll be able to talk to whoever is at the door. If it’s not working, try uninstalling the Ring Alexa skill and reinstalling.
Use Alexa Routines to create custom actions: Ring is now one of the devices supported by Alexa Routines. This means you can have Alexa perform particular actions when motion is detected or the doorbell is pressed. That might be change a light colour or make a custom announcement. You can set them up in your Alexa app, with full instructions here.
Create custom Ring actions with IFTTT: Ring is also IFTTT compatible, meaning you can link your account and create custom actions with other IFTTT devices or services. Custom recipes include lowering your Sonos volume when someone rings the doorbell, pausing your TiVo, or perhaps recording on your Arlo camera – or creating your own recipe. You can find all the details here.
Using Ring with Google Home: Google won’t do as much with Ring as Alexa will, but you can still use voice to turn on recording or turn off motion alerts. You can’t view the live stream however, so you might want to consider Nest Hello instead if you’re tied into the Google system.
Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on .