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Amazon doubles down on Echo home security. What to know

Here are Alexa's new features for Echo devices that focus on protecting your home.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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Katie Teague
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Echo Guard Plus adds several new security features.

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Your Amazon Echo  already has several security features you can use whenever you leave the house, including listening to what's going on in your home from afar to turning on lights that make it appear you're home when you're really away. It also has Alexa Guard, which just got a major update designed to better secure your home when you're out of the house.

Alexa Guard Plus is a $4.99 per month subscription service available for most Echo devices, with the exception of Echo Auto, Echo Tap and other Alexa companion devices (and the discontinued Echo Look). Here's what it promises to do.

What extra features am I paying for with Alexa Guard Plus?

Alexa Guard Plus has more security features than the free Alexa Guard. It adds hands-free emergency helpline calling and alerts you if it hears activity when you're away. Guard Plus also includes features to help scare off unwanted intruders. It'll play sounds of dogs barking, for example, if motion is detected outside. If activity is detected inside, it'll play a siren (more details below).


Your Echo device can bark at intruders.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

1. Alexa Guard can get you emergency help

With Guard Plus, you'll have access to a helpline monitored 24/7 by emergency response agents that will help you request an ambulance, the police, the fire department or personal emergency contacts. To activate it, say, "Alexa, call for help."

2. Alexa will listen for more sounds while you're away

Alexa already alerts you if it hears your smoke detector blaring or glass breaking when your home status is set to Away. With Alexa Guard Plus, you'll receive notifications about other sounds while you're out of the house, such as footsteps and doors closing. 

Once you receive a Smart Alert, you can tap on it to open the Alexa app and listen to what Alexa heard. You can also drop in to listen live and determine whether or not you need to call the emergency helpline or forward the issue to a supported security provider.

3. Alexa will scare off intruders

Your Echo speaker can help scare off intruders who are lurking around the outside of your house. You will, however, need an outdoor security camera that's Alexa-compatible, such as Ring , Blink, Arlo and August.

If your security camera detects motion outside, Alexa can play the sound of a dog barking from your Echo speaker as a deterrent.


Use your outdoor camera to detect motion.

Chris Monroe/CNET

When will Alexa Guard Plus be available? 

While Amazon didn't give a specific release date for Guard Plus, the company did announce that it'll arrive later this year. Until then, you can still use the free Alexa Guard on your Echo device to see if you might be interested in the Plus tier. To get started, open the Alexa app and tap More > Settings > Guard.

How much does Alexa Guard Plus cost?

Once available, Alexa Guard Plus will cost $4.99 per month. You can also choose to pay annually at $49 per year, saving you $11 each year.

If you're already using Ring Protect Plus, Guard Plus will be free. You'll need to link your Ring and Amazon accounts in the Ring app or on Ring.com to use Guard Plus. Other smart security companies, such as Abode, Wyze and Resideo, will soon introduce subscription tiers that include Guard Plus as well.

For more new Amazon Echo features, here's how to use every new Alexa feature Amazon announced, six of Amazon's best new features for your Echo and how to use them and how to share your customized routines with friends and family.

Watch this: Amazon's newest Echo can follow you