Alexa Guard, Amazon’s new feature that lets your Echo smart speaker listen for potential signs of an emergency, is still in the process of rolling out to Echo owners in the US. Once it’s live for you, you’ll be able to find Alexa Guard within the Alexa app on your iOS or Android devices.

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Alexa Guard uses the far-field microphones in Echo devices to listen for glass breaks and alarms from a smoke or CO detector. Once you arm your Echo with the voice command “Alexa, I’m leaving,” Alexa will let you know if it has heard something problematic by sending a Smart Alert to your phone. The alert will contain an audio recording of the incident; if your Echo has a camera built into it, you can use the Drop In feature to take a look at the live camera feed. And, if you pay for professional monitoring through Ring’s security kit or ADT’s Control smart home setup, you can enable Alexa Guard to send Smart Alerts directly to the security provider, who can alert authorities on your behalf.

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Alexa Guard can also switch your smart lights on and off, mimicking your normal usage to make it look like you’re at home when you aren’t there.

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Before you can take advantage of Alexa Guard, you’ll need a compatible Amazon Echo smart speaker or display. All Amazon Echo devices built with far-field microphones will support Alexa Guard, only excluding the Echo Sub (which doesn’t have the microphones) and Echo Auto (which isn’t built for it). In other words, if you already own an Echo, you’re probably good to go.

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For those who don’t yet own one, here’s the full list of supported devices:

How to set up Alexa Guard

The process for getting Alexa Guard running is the same for both the iOS and Android versions of the Alexa app. Check to see if you have the latest version, then after that it’s just a few steps to get set up.

  • Tap the menu option in the top left corner of your screen to expand the app’s options.
  • Find and select “Settings.”
  • Scroll to the bottom of “Settings” and select “Guard.”
  • Agree to allow the app to send you Smart Alerts.

If you have an Amazon Echo device enrolled in your Alexa app, setup is practically finished. (Make sure that you sync your Echo device to the Alexa app before running through this process, or it will route you to Amazon to purchase an Echo.)

Alexa Guard is an easy, free way to protect your home with some basic security features. Though it’s not a comprehensive solution, this Alexa feature might make Amazon’s Echo speakers a more convincing choice over other smart speakers, like Google’s Home or Apple’s HomePod. But if you want more protection (with Alexa integration), you may want to consider Ring’s five-piece security kit.

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