How To Disable or Turn Off Drop-In on Alexa
The Drop-In feature on Amazon Alexa has received some controversy since it was first introduced a few years ago. As its name suggests, the feature allows anyone to drop in on your Alexa-enabled device unannounced.
Parents might find Drop-In quite handy, as it lets them easily reach their children. During friendly get-togethers, it makes communication easier. But the feature might also be abused to eavesdrop on a person’s Echo, Echo Show, or Dot.
You immediately get the audio feed regardless of the device, you can also get a video stream if the person is using Echo Show.
To keep prying eyes and ears away from your device, you can disable the feature from the Alexa app. The process takes a few steps to complete. Here is all you need to do:
Tap on your Alexa app to launch it and hit the devices icon at the bottom. Then, select your device.
Hit Settings at the bottom of the fly-in menu, and then select Device Settings from the following window.
The Device Settings menu lists all of your connected Alexa devices. Swipe the list and select the device by tapping on it. This brings you to the settings menu of that particular Echo.
To reach the option to disable Drop-In, you need to swipe down again and select Communication under the General tab. The feature is at the bottom of the Communication window, and you should tap on it for more options.
You get to choose three different options within the Drop-In settings. If the feature stays on, permitted contacts will be allowed to drop in on your device. The “My Household” option only allows Drop-Ins from the devices on your account.
But to completely disable Drop-In, select Off at the bottom and nobody will be able to bother you.
Note: All this applies only to the device you selected. You need to repeat the process for each connected Echo.
Disabling Drop-In for Specific Contacts
Aside from disabling the feature on your devices, you can also pick and choose contacts who are allowed access to your Echo. These are the steps you need to take.
Open the Alexa app on your smartphone and tap on ‘Communicate’ at the bottom.
Click on the people icon in the upper right-hand corner.
Tap on the contact you’d like to remove. Then, tap ‘Edit’ in the upper right-hand corner.
Tap ‘Delete Contact’ at the bottom.
Disable Contacts on Drop-In
If you want to completely disable contacts from dropping in to your Alexa devices, you can. You can choose to only allow members of your household to drop-in by following these steps:
- Tap on ‘Devices’ at the bottom of the Alexa device. Then, tap on the Alexa device you want to edit.
- Tap on ‘Communications.’
- Tap on ‘Drop In.’
- Put a checkmark by the contacts option for those who you’d like to deny or allow access moving forward.
How to Use Drop-In
Should you decide to keep the feature on, at least for some devices and contacts, it’s super easy to use it. It works between different Echo devices and you can use the Alexa app as well. Here’s how to do it:
On Echo Devices
Just say “Alexa, drop in on (your device name)” and you’ll be instantly connected. If you have multiple devices connected at home, you can say “Alexa, drop in on home”.
Alexa will provide you with a list of all the devices at home, and then you choose the one to drop in on. The same principle applies if you want to surprise a person from your contacts. Just say “Alexa, drop in on (contact’s name)”.
Note: The contact needs to be signed up for Alexa Messaging and Calling for it to work. If they’ve disabled you, there’s no way around it.
On the Alexa App
Tap the chat bubble icon in the Conversation window and select Drop-In. This lists all the Echo devices and contacts you can reach out to. Tap on one to initiate the Drop-In, and you’ll be able to hear everything that’s in the range.
The “recently active” indicator appears on Echo Show when someone is near the device. You are able to see the indicator in your contacts list as well. This makes it easier to determine if it’s the right time to drop in on someone.
You can also disable video during the Drop-In. Just say “Video off” or tap on the button on the device’s screen. This works on both Amazon Echo Show and the Alexa app.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Drop-In Safe?
Anyone who is concerned about their privacy and security may want to opt-out of this function. Of course, you can set Alexa to allow only certain people to drop in. If you have an Echo Show, you can drop in and see the room using the Show’s camera. If you have a Dot or Echo device with no camera the drop-in function lets the other user listen in on the room.
Of course, Alexa will alert you with an alarm if someone does use the feature.
Can I use the drop-in feature away from home?
As long as it’s enabled, yes. You do not have to be at home or on the same Wi-Fi network to drop in. All you need is the Alexa app (signed in to the same account of course). Since landline phones have all but disappeared in 2021, the Drop-In feature is especially useful. But not everyone wants someone joining their conversations uninvited.
Don’t Get Caught off Guard
Since Alexa gives you many options to disable or tweak the Drop-In settings, you don’t need to worry about your privacy too much. Don’t dismiss this function out of hand. It can be a useful tool to get in contact with your loved ones. In fact, some people even use it as a baby cam.