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 menu icon on the top right to reveal more options.
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.
Select contacts from the fly-in menu (the icon on the top left). Hit the search bar and type the name of the contact you’d like to remove from Drop-In.
As soon as the contact information screen appears, you’ll be able to see Allow Drop In under Permissions. Just tap on the button on the right to toggle the permission off.
That particular contact will no longer be able to pop out of your Echo unannounced.
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.
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.