Ring makes some of the most popular and best video doorbells and home security cameras, but privacy groups have raised concerns about the company's policies when it comes to sharing video with law enforcement.
While Ring owners can decide whether or not they want to agree to requests by the police issued through the Ring app, a report revealed that Ring gave video to law enforcement without a court order and without Ring notifying the owners.
However, if you already own a Ring camera and are uncomfortable with the company sharing your video without your knowledge, you don't have to go out and buy a new camera. You can turn on end-to-end encryption in the Ring app, which will prevent anyone but you from being able to access the footage.
Here's how to turn on end-to-end encryption in the Ring app.
Before you turn on end-to-end encryption, there are two things to note. The first is that by turning on this feature, it deactivates a number of other features, such as the ability to view live video on a Fire TV or Alexa-enabled smart display. Here's a full list of the features you'll lose:
- Shared users
- Shared video
- Event timeline
- Live View
- Motion verification
- Rich notifications
- People-only mode
- Snapshot capture
- Quick replies
- Alexa greetings
- Virtual security guard
The second thing to note is that not every Ring device supports end-to-end encryption. In fact, none of Ring's battery-powered video doorbells support end-to-end encryption. Below is a list of devices that it works with:
- Ring Video Doorbell Pro
- Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
- Ring Video Doorbell Elite
- Ring Spotlight Cam Wired
- Ring Spotlight Cam Mount
- Ring Stick Up Cam Elite (2nd Generation)
- Ring Stick Up Cam Wired (2nd Generation)
- Stick Up Cam Plug-in (3rd Gen)
- Stick Up Cam Wired (3rd Gen)
- Stick Up Cam Solar (3rd Gen)
- Indoor Cam
- Ring Floodlight Cam (2021 model)
- Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro
How to turn on end-to-end encryption on a Ring Video Doorbell
1. Open the Ring app on your smartphone, and select the menu button in the upper left corner.
2. In the drop-down menu that appears, select Control Center. Here, you will see options for Account Management, Account Verification, Authorized Client Devices, Video Management, Public Safety, and more.
3. Scroll down and select Video Encryption.
4. In the menu that appears, select Advanced Video Encryption. The next screen will present you with two options: End-to-end encryption and SD Card Encryption. The latter is only for owners of the Ring Alarm Pro system, so select End-to-End Encryption.
5. Tap Enable End-to-End Encryption. Note that this will disable Live View on Alexa devices, and Shared users will also lose access.
6. Select Encryption Setup and then tap Generate New Passphrase. You need to write down the passphrase, as you can't manually create your own. And, if you lose the passphrase, you won't be able to view video at all. Press Confirm and Continue.
7. Enroll your mobile device by entering the passphrase. If it's successful, you should receive a 'Success!' screen. Tap Continue.
8. You will now see your enrolled Ring devices. All that remains is to connect your device to the Ring Wi-Fi network.
9. Go to your Ring device and make sure it's in setup mode. In the case of a Ring video doorbell, the LEDs around the button will spin white.
10. When prompted, connect to the Ring Wi-Fi network. The app will then begin the process of registering your device. When it's registered, you will hear a confirmation from your video doorbell, and the app will indicate that the doorbell is registered.
If you decide you no longer want end-to-end video encryption, you can disenroll your devices in the Ring app. However, you will lose access to any videos that were recorded while end-to-end encryption was activated.
Now your Ring doorbell is encrypted. If you'd like more security tips for your tech, get started by learning how to encrypt files on Mac and how to password protect folders on Windows. If you want to learn more about what you can do with your smart home tech, kick off by learning about 9 things you never knew you could do with smart lights.
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Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.