Ring FAQ

Ring Alarm is a bare-bones home security system that delivers protection at an affordable price. If you want to add extras like cameras or security lighting, the up-front equipment price gets steeper—but the $10 a month Ring Protect Plus monitoring fee is hard to beat.

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General questions

Does Ring work without Wi-Fi?

It depends on the Ring product.

  • Ring video doorbells still work as normal doorbells if you hardwire them to your existing doorbell or have a Ring Chime accessory. You can’t watch video, get notifications, or talk to visitors without Wi-Fi.
  • Ring Alarm security systems function normally as long as you have a Ring Protect Plus subscription, which comes with a cellular backup in case your Wi-Fi goes down.
  • Ring Smart Lights still activate when they detect motion, but you can’t control them or get push notifications without a Wi-Fi connection.
  • Ring security cameras do not work without Wi-Fi.

Does Amazon own Ring?

Yes. Amazon acquired Ring in 2018 for $1 billion. Amazon has also purchased other smart device companies like Blink and Eero.

Does Shaq own Ring?

Shaquille O’Neal isn’t just a famous basketball player—he was also an early investor in Ring. He often appears in commercials for Ring products.

How long is Ring’s warranty?

Ring products have a one-year warranty. Active subscribers to Ring Protect Plus get a lifetime warranty on Ring devices.

Ring Protect subscription

Ring Spotlight Cam

Do I need a Ring Protect plan?

No, you can still use the following Ring features without a subscription:

  • Live video feeds
  • Camera motion detection notifications
  • Two-way talk between Ring cameras and the Ring mobile app

If you subscribe, you’ll get more features:

  • Ability to store, save, and share video recordings (Basic and Plus)
  • Photo snapshots throughout the day (Basic and Plus)
  • Professional monitoring for Ring Alarm (Plus)
  • Extended warranties on your Ring devices (Plus)
  • 10% discount on some products in Ring’s online store (Plus)

How much does Ring Protect cost?

Ring Protect Basic costs $3 a month or $30 a year for one device. Ring Protect Plus costs $10 a month or $100 a year but covers every Ring device in your house. If you have cameras in multiple residences, you will need an additional Ring Protect subscription for each location.

Does Ring require a contract?

No, you can cancel your subscription anytime without fees.

How long does Ring save videos?

Ring stores videos for 60 days before deleting them to make room for new recordings. Plan to download any videos you want to save before then.

Can the Ring doorbell record longer than 30 seconds?

Ring’s battery-powered doorbells and cameras don’t record videos over 30 seconds long, but hardwired Ring cameras can record up to 60 seconds of video.

How many Ring cameras can you have?

Ring user accounts support an unlimited number of Ring cameras with or without a subscription.

Can Ring record video locally?

No, Ring cameras can't save footage directly to the device. Ring cameras send video directly to the cloud storage server.

Ring doorbells and security cameras

ring doorbell

How does Ring doorbell work?

When a visitor presses the doorbell button on your Ring, you receive a notification on your smartphone. You also get a live view of your porch and can speak with guests to give instructions or let them know you’re coming to the door. The video doorbell also sends you a notification when it detects motion.

Do you need an existing doorbell for Ring?

No, all Ring Video Doorbell models (except the Ring Video Doorbell Wired, Pro, and Elite) can run on battery power, eliminating the need for doorbell wiring.

Still, all Ring Video Doorbell models (except the Peephole Cam) can connect to your home’s existing doorbell wires. This provides power to the unit without the need to charge a battery every few months.

Are Ring’s cameras wireless?

Yes, Ring’s cameras and doorbells connect to the internet using Wi-Fi. The company also sells a variety of battery-powered cameras that don’t require power cables.

How long does the battery last on Ring doorbells?

In our experience, Ring’s battery-powered doorbells and cameras can last for one or two months on a charge. This is shorter than the 6 to 12 months Ring states on its website.

If I wire in a Ring doorbell and the power goes out, will the doorbell still work?

Many wired Ring doorbell models also have a battery that allows them to work when the power’s out:

  • Ring Video Doorbell (Gen 1 and Gen 2)
  • Ring Video Doorbell 2
  • Ring Video Doorbell 3
  • Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus

But even if they work, your Wi-Fi and internet probably won’t, so they won't record any video. Ultimately, Ring's use of batteries is to facilitate easier installation in places without wiring—not to ensure continuous operation.

The Ring Wired, Ring Pro, and Ring Elite don’t have a battery.

Do Ring cameras have night vision?

Yes, all Ring cameras come with infrared LEDs that enable night-vision recording.

Are Ring doorbells waterproof?

Ring doorbells offer weather resistance to keep rain and snow out of sensitive electronics. This doesn’t mean you can submerge them in water, but that’s an unlikely scenario for everyday users.

Can you hack the Ring doorbell?

No internet-connected device is immune to hacking. Regardless, you can reduce the likelihood of hacking by following good security practices:

  • Secure your Wi-Fi network by changing default names and passwords.
  • Set strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication on your Ring account. Consider using an authenticator app as your second authentication factor.
  • Apply the same security standards to other smart home accounts you use, especially if you link them to Ring.
  • Set up end-to-end encryption on wired cameras and wired doorbell cameras from Ring.

Ring Alarm security system

Ring Alarm

How does Ring security work?

The security system sends an alert to your phone whenever it detects activity. Arming the system determines which types of alerts you get. If you have a Ring Protect Plus plan with professional monitoring, the monitoring center calls the police after checking for false alarms.

Does Ring Alarm require professional monitoring?

No, you can self-monitor your Ring Alarm system without paying for a monthly subscription. With self-monitoring, it’s up to you to call the police during an emergency.

Does Ring monitoring call the police?

Yes, Ring Protect Plus’ professional monitoring center contacts the police if there’s an alarm.

What do I do if my Ring security system has a false alarm?

Any time the alarm goes off, Ring’s monitoring center calls you (and your emergency contacts) with an automated message to verify the alarm. You’ll need to provide a verbal password to cancel the alarm.

Ring recommends saving the monitoring station’s phone number (+1-833-209-2159) in your contact list under “Ring Alarm” so you can respond more quickly (have your emergency contacts do the same).

If no one cancels the false alarm, the monitoring station contacts the police. Most police departments charge a fine if you have a certain number of false alarms in a calendar year.

Who monitors Ring security systems?

Ring operates its own monitoring center.

What is “home mode” on Ring Alarm?

Home mode allows you to arm the alarm system while you’re at home. To prevent false alarms, motion sensors inside your house won’t trigger an alarm if you move around. But the alarm still goes off if someone opens a door or window. This mode is useful at night when the whole family’s asleep at home.

Do I own or lease a Ring security system?

You own the equipment.

Can I take my Ring Alarm with me when I move?

Yes. Because you own the equipment, you don’t have to ask permission to move it to a different house. You will need to change the address on your account if you have professional monitoring. This tells the monitoring center where to send help during an alarm.

Is Ring’s service transferable?

Yes, Ring customer support can help you transfer devices to a different Ring account. There’s no contract for service plans like Ring Protect, so the new user can sign up for service whenever they’re ready.

What sensors does Ring Alarm have?

Ring Alarm supports the following sensors:

  • Contact sensors trigger an alarm when a burglar opens a door or window to enter your home.
  • Motion detectors trigger an alarm when there’s movement in your home while you’re away.
  • Flood and freeze sensors help you prevent water damage in your home.
  • Panic buttons trigger an immediate alarm when you push them.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide listeners detect sounds of your smoke and CO sensors going off. These indirectly detect hazards in tandem with your existing detectors.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms directly detect hazards in your home. This is a third-party sensor that doesn’t work with professional monitoring.

Can Ring Alarm detect gas leaks, smoke, and carbon monoxide?

Ring Alarm can detect smoke and carbon monoxide, as long as you have the correct sensors. Ring Alarm doesn’t detect gas leaks.

Does Ring Alarm sound a siren when there’s an intruder?

Yes, there’s a siren in the base station and keypad. You can also buy additional keypads and standalone sirens for other parts of your home.

Does Ring Alarm work if the power goes out?

Yes, Ring Alarm’s base station has a battery backup that lasts for 24 hours if the power goes out. If you have a Ring Protect subscription, the base station contacts the monitoring center using AT&T’s cellular network in case you lose your internet connection during the same power outage.

Do I need a landline phone to use Ring Alarm?

No, Ring Alarm uses broadband internet and cellular connections to communicate with the monitoring center.

Do I need an alarm permit for my Ring Alarm?

It depends on where you live. Many cities require an alarm permit (including a small annual fee), but you’ll need to contact your local police department to see if you need a permit.

Is Ring Alarm easy for children to use?

Probably. Most older children and teens shouldn’t have problems putting in a pin code to disarm the system when they get home from school. It’s up to you to decide if your child is mature enough to use the control panel.

How do I get a Ring sign for my yard or stickers for my windows?

Ring sells yard signs and stickers separately from its security systems. All of Ring’s doorbells and security cameras come with a sticker.

Can I get a discount on my homeowners insurance?

Yes, you can get an insurance discount by downloading an alarm certificate from your Ring account settings as long as you have professional monitoring. You can send or print a copy for your insurance agent.

Ring Smart Lights

Ring Smart Floodlight

Do Ring Smart Lights have a camera?

No, Ring Smart Lighting products do not have cameras. Some Ring security cameras have spotlights and floodlights, but these aren’t part of the Ring Smart Lighting product line.

Why do I need a Ring Bridge?

Ring Smart Lighting products communicate directly with the Ring Bridge to function. It’s a bridge device that connects to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to control the lights with the Ring mobile app.

How long do Ring smart lights last?

The batteries in a Ring smart light last about a year before you need to change them.

Ring smart lights use LEDs that you can’t replace when they burn out, but they should last for many years before you have to replace the unit (Ring doesn’t give an exact timeline).

Ring mobile apps

Ring App

What can I do with the Ring app?

You can do the following tasks in the Ring app:

  • View video recordings
  • Use two-way audio to speak to people near cameras
  • Adjust device settings
  • Set up users
  • Sign up for a subscription

Can you set up a Ring doorbell on two phones?

Yes, you can share your Ring smart home with multiple users. Each additional user needs a separate Ring account with a unique email address.

What is Neighbors by Ring?

Neighbors is a social network on an app where Ring users share videos, get alerts, and report crimes to the police.

Do I need a Ring doorbell to use the Neighbors app?

No, you can use the Neighbors app without buying Ring products, but you still need a Ring account.

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Police partnerships

Ring has been alleged of controversial practices surrounding its partnerships with US law enforcement agencies on many occasions, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation's calls to Ring to end police partnerships with over 1,300 agencies.

While it's made recent strides toward improvement, in the interest of awareness, we've highlighted a few concerns so you can make your own judgements about choosing and using Ring equipment.

Good news

In July 2021, Ring released its end-to-end encryption feature on wired cameras, including doorbell cameras. When users use this feature, Ring and Amazon cannot access those video feeds (much less provide footage to police).

Previously, on June 3, 2021, Ring announced that police and fire departments that would like to use Ring footage must make a public request in the Neighbors app. This step is intended to help increase transparency around how Ring footage is used.

This came after Amazon's June 10, 2020 announcement that it was putting a one-year moratorium on police use of its facial recognition platform: Rekognition.

Bad news

Neighbors by Ring

  • During 2020 protests surrounding police actions, CNET reported that many people were using the Ring Neighbors app to track police activity. On the flip side, the Neighbors app raises privacy concerns because citizen-shared information can funnel to law enforcement (including protest videos that police might use to identify protesters).
  • Many police departments partner with Ring to see posts on Neighbors and can request resident footage. Law enforcement officials cannot see a video without approval from the resident whose camera recorded it. Users can choose to not to share videos and can deny video requests. This hasn't stopped Amazon from giving tips to police about how to obtain this footage by encouraging people to download the Neighbors app.
  • In 2018, Ring considered a feature that activated cameras automatically in the vicinity of a 911 call but ultimately scrapped the idea.

Police and city promotion of Ring products

According to documents obtained by Motherboard in August 2019, Ring requires cities to subsidize and advertise Ring products as part of rebate and giveaway programs for Ring products. At the time of publishing, Motherboard reported at least 14 American cities with these programs but estimated there were likely more using public funds for the same purpose.

Ring installation

Mounted ring doorbell

Is Ring installation free?

Yes, but you have to install the equipment yourself. Ring offers optional installation services through Amazon Home Services and OnTech Smart Services.

How long does it take to install Ring doorbells and security cameras?

Most battery-powered Ring doorbells and cameras take about five to ten minutes to install with a screwdriver. You usually need to drill a few small holes for mounting. A hardwired installation takes around 15 to 20 minutes.

How long does it take to install the Ring Alarm security system?

Depending on the number of sensors you have, it takes around 30 to 60 minutes to install a Ring Alarm security system.

Can I install a Ring Alarm in my apartment?

Yes, but you should check with your property manager first to explain what you’re doing and see if it’s OK.

Smart home compatibility

Does Ring work with Z-Wave devices?

Yes, Ring Alarm has a built-in Z-Wave radio, but third-party devices do not work with Ring’s professional monitoring service.

Ring Alarm should work with most Z-Wave devices. Still, it’s a good idea to check the company’s lists of compatible devices and locks compatible with Ring Alarm before you purchase additional Z-Wave equipment for your system.

Does Ring work with Alexa?

Yes, you can control Ring devices using Amazon Alexa’s voice commands. You can answer Ring doorbell notifications on any Amazon Echo, and you can view video feeds on any Echo Show device.

Does Ring work with Google Assistant?

Not currently. Ring appears to have dropped Google Assistant* support as of late 2019. There was no official announcement, so it’s possible support will come back. But don’t hold your breath because Amazon and Google historically don’t play well together.

Does Ring integrate with other smart home platforms and devices?

You can use Ring with If This Then That (IFTTT), a task automation platform that lets you control devices from a variety of smart home platforms and software services.

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Info current as of 08/11/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
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John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over eight years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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