How to Disable the Camera on an Echo Show
IoT devices aren’t immune to hack attacks – one of the first things online criminals target on a devices’ camera or microphone. That said, disabling the camera on an Echo Show isn’t only about keeping your gadgets out of harm’s way.
When you place or receive a call on an Echo Show, the camera turns on by default. But there are times you might want to disable it and continue with audio-only. Either way, disabling the camera is straightforward and you don’t need to be tech-savvy to do it.
Disabling the Camera
The Echo Show Settings menu allows you to quickly turn the camera off. Swipe down from the Echo Show home screen to reveal the basic menu. Tap on Settings and choose Device Options, then navigate to “Enable Camera,” and tap on the button to toggle it off.
When the camera is toggled off, the small dot within the “Enable Camera” button is on the right. This way the camera won’t turn on automatically when you make or receive calls. If you want to turn it on in the middle of a conversation, you’ll need to go back to the Settings menu and enable it first.
There’s a warning message when you hit the button to disable the camera. But you shouldn’t worry about it; the notification informs you that you won’t be able to use features that are associated with the camera.
This is fine because your goal is to disable it anyway. Besides, you can always go back and turn the camera on if need be. Therefore, hit the arrow button and confirm the action. Otherwise, the system keeps the camera toggled on.
Using Voice Commands
One of the coolest things about Echo devices is that you get to utilize Alexa commands to change the settings. Say “Alexa, turn off the camera” or “Alexa, disable the camera”, and the AI does so without having to navigate through the menus.
Upon issuing the command, you get a reply informing you that the request was successful. Next, go into Settings and double-check. The important thing to remember is that turning off and disabling the camera aren’t the same requests.
If you ask Alexa to turn the camera off, the AI temporarily shuts down the feature. This means the video transfer gets cut off for that call and the camera is triggered by default the next time you place a video call. On the other hand, the “disable” command switches off the feature completely.
Note: If the “disable” command fails to execute, you’ll need to do it manually via the on-screen menus.
The Drop In Feature
Echo Show users have a love-hate relationship with the Drop In feature. It’s a great way to see what your children are doing as Drop In turns your Echo into a handy intercom. However, there are safety concerns since the camera turns on by default when someone Drops In on you.
The logical thing to do is go to Settings and toggle off the button next to “Enable Camera”. But then, your camera gets disabled for all other camera-related features, not only Drop In. If you want to avoid this, press the on-screen button to disable the camera when Drop In initiates. And there’s always the option to issue a verbal command to Alexa.
Drop In Tips and Tricks
Drop In isn’t turned on by default. To use the feature, you need to enable it from the Communications menu. Go to Settings, choose your device and proceed by tapping on Communications.
Now, you can toggle it to My Household to have an overview of what’s happening with your children. Needless to say, the same menu also allows you to disable Drop Incompletely. More importantly, there’s an option to pick and choose the contacts that can Drop In on you.
Launch your Alexa app and tap the speech bubble icon at the bottom of the screen. Select Contacts and find the people you’d want to permit/ban to Drop In.
Physical Security Layer
Chances are you’ve already considered taping off or shielding the camera on your laptop and other IoT gadgets. This isn’t surprising, given the fact that the authorities recommend you do it as the surest way to avoid live-streaming your activities if the device gets hacked.
But if you’re using the Echo Show 5, for example, there’s no reason to duct tape the camera. The gadget has a built-in camera screen that shields you from prying eyes. In fact, why not use this shield to temporarily disable the camera?
Of course, it’s not the same as telling the software to stop using the camera. But the shield can work as a great tool to hide you from the people who voice-call or Drop In at an awkward moment.
Hello, HAL. Do You See Me, HAL?
There are two ways to disable the camera on an Echo Show – use voice commands or toggle it off from Settings. Whichever you choose, it takes just a few seconds to change the settings and stop worrying someone might abuse the system.
Do you keep your web cameras covered? Which show do you use and does it have a camera shield? Give us your two cents in the comments section below.