How to use Alexa as an Intercom – Hint, it’s called ‘Alexa Drop In’ – Everything you need to know
Step-by-Step Guide Tutorial | Alexa Drop In Commands | Alexa Drop In Compatible Devices | Is Drop In Free? | Drop In Privacy | and More...
Published: 2nd Jul 2019
One of the coolest features of Amazon Alexa is the Alexa Drop In. Comparable to an Intercom system, it lets you connect instantly and communicate with other users on Alexa-enabled devices. The really cool part about it is that the person on the other end does not need to answer your audio or video call. It connects automatically. While this is a great feature when you can’t get a hold of someone, it also requires a bit of caution. You do not want to be caught in embarrassing situations, do you?
To get us started, how about a few pranks to scare the wits out of someone in your household or spread some laughs?
Searching for an answer? Here's our table of contents:
Alexa Drop In Pranks - Have Fun With Your Family And Friends
Did you know that when you start any statement with, “Alexa, announce…” Alexa will repeat whatever you just said to every device in your household? Well, now you know! You could use this feature to make it seem like Alexa is speaking on her own and spook your unsuspecting children. For instance, when you have a gut feeling that one of them is up to no good, why not make it seem like Alexa is spying on them? Something as simple as “I see you!” might be enough to send chills down their spine.
What Is Alexa Drop In?
On to more serious matters now; what exactly is Alexa Drop In and how does it work? Drop In is an Alexa feature that allows you to connect instantly with Alexa-enabled devices, both in your household and beyond (more on that later). In larger homes, this is a pretty useful alternative to traipsing up and down the stairs and shouting from the hallway to get people’s attention.
The only condition for using this feature is that your contact needs to give you permission to Drop In on them. This means that you need to give yourself permissions to access all the devices within your household in order to enjoy this feature.
Any time you Drop In on a device, its light ring will first turn green, and then connect to the device automatically. Once it connects, you will hear or see everything within the range of the device, depending on whether it’s a video or audio call, and so will your call recipient.
If you are using a device with a screen, you get a few seconds to prepare, as it first gives you a sound alert and then transitions to a frosted glass video before turning clear.
How Can I Use Alexa Drop In?
Alexa Drop In Tutorial
In order to start using this innovative feature, you first need to sign up for calls and messages on the Alexa app and then enable it on the different devices you use.
How To Enable Alexa Drop In Calls And Messages
One of the most important steps is naming your devices if you have several of them. This will make it easier to give Alexa commands to use the feature flawlessly. Follow these steps to name your devices:
|Read also: How to Change Amazon Alexa's Name (Wake Word), Voice, Accent, Sex - Everything You Need to Know|
How Do I Use Alexa Drop In With My Echo Devices?
Once you are done with the setup process, it is now time to get down to business. Using the feature is quite simple once you figure out the right command to use. Take a look at some of the common Drop In commands that you are likely to need:
Alexa Drop In Commands
Dropping In On Your Echo Devices
If you have multiple devices in your home or office, you need to specify the one you would like to connect with. Simply say:
Alternatively, you could say:
This command will prompt her to list all available devices for you to select from.
Dropping In on A Contact (Even In Another House)
You can only use Drop In with contacts who own Echo devices and who have given you permission to do so. If you want to be Dropping In on grandma, for instance, tell her to download the Alexa app and sign up for Alexa Calling and Messaging - just like you did. After enabling Drop In, you simply need to say:
Keep in mind that you have to say the name exactly as it appears on your contact list. It is worth noting that, if you are using a video-enabled device like the Echo Show, you have the option of turning off video functionality. Just say:
Making Alexa Announcements
‘Announcements’ is a feature that lets you broadcast messages to the Echo devices in your smart home. Just like an intercom feature, it allows you to connect automatically without someone having to answer your call. However, it does not facilitate two-way audio.
To broadcast a message using Drop In, use any of the following commands:
In response to your instructions, Alexa will chime on every device in the household and say, “Announcement.” She will then replay your message, for example saying, “It’s dinnertime.”
Alexa Drop In From Phone
In order to access Drop In from your phone, you need to use the Amazon Alexa app. The procedure is pretty straightforward:
How Can I Drop In Using Fire Tablets?
To use Drop In on your Fire tablet, use the following simple steps:
How Does Alexa Drop In Auto-Answer Work?
The one feature that sets the Alexa call feature apart from Drop In is the fact that the person on the other end does not need to accept the request. Rather, the process is automated. However, the automatic Alexa Drop In answer only applies if you have the relevant permissions.
Essentially, auto-answer only works if the device on the other end has the Drop In feature enabled. Alternatively, if you are calling a contact on your Alexa contact list, the person needs to have enabled the feature for auto-answer to work.
Alexa End/Cancel Drop In
Ending a Drop In conversation is quite easy; just say, “Alexa, hang up.”
Alexa Drop In Privacy
One question that many users of the Drop In feature frequently ask is, “How can I block and unblock Alexa Drop In?” When you need a little privacy, you can temporarily disable Drop In to prevent calls and messages from coming through. To do this, you need to select or schedule the ‘Do Not Disturb’ Feature.
How Do I Turn Off Alexa Drop In?
Alternatively, you can say, “Alexa, do not disturb me.” And when you are ready to turn it back on, say, “Alexa, turn off Do Not Disturb.”
How Can I Schedule Do Not Disturb?
If you want to disable the feature at specific times every day, here is what you need to do:
How Will I Know If Drop In is On Or Off?
To confirm whether your Drop In is on or off, you can go to Settings on the Alexa app and, under the general section, select ‘Communications.’ Select ‘Drop In’ and check whether it is On, Off or in Household Calls mode. Adjust to the desired settings.
Alternatively, check the light on your smart speaker which serves as a status indicator. Alexa's Drop In colours will let you know whether you are on a call or not. When you have an incoming call, there will be a pulsing green light. On the other hand, when there is a spinning blue light that ends with a purple flash, it means that your device is in Do Not Disturb mode and cannot receive calls.
Alexa Drop In Permissions
Considering how intrusive the feature is, Amazon has laid out features that allow you to address privacy concerns. Drop In permissions allow you to determine who can contact you and at what time. They include:
How Can I Add Contacts To Alexa Drop In?
Your contacts cannot simply Drop In on you unannounced unless you let them. Therefore, you need to go through your contact list and give specific contacts permission to contact you. Likewise, they also have to allow you to Drop In on them.
Follow these steps to enable Drop In for your contacts:
To view all the contacts you have given permission to Drop In on you, go to ‘Contacts’ and then select yourself. Check under ‘Others Who Can Drop In On My Devices’ and you will see a list of everyone who can contact you. If you no longer want a specific contact to Drop In on you, tap ‘Remove.’
What Devices Are Compatible With Alexa Drop In?
Alexa Drop In works with the following devices:
You can also use the feature from your Alexa app. However, it will be limited to making calls and not able to receive them. Essentially, Drop In works with all Alexa-enabled devices with the exception of:
Alexa Drop In Echo Show
Using Echo Show for Drop In lets you enjoy both video and audio. To initiate a Drop In using Echo Show, say, “Alexa, Drop In on [device or contact name].” If you do not want to have video running, say, “Alexa, video off.”
Alexa Drop In Ecobee
Technically, Ecobee devices do not support Drop In. However, you can make an Alexa announcement using an Ecobee device such as the Ecobee 4 Thermostat of Ecobee Switch+.
FAQ: What Can Alexa Drop In Do/Not Do?
These are some of the most common questions you might want to be answered about your Alexa Drop In:
Can Alexa Drop In On Another House?
Yes! Alexa can Drop In on another house. If someone on your contact list has given you permission to Drop In on them, you can do so and connect with a device in their house. Grant them similar permissions if you want them to Drop In on your house too.
Can Alexa Drop In On Google Home?
No! Alexa Drop In is currently limited to specific Alexa-enabled devices.
Can Alexa Be Used For Conferences?
Yes! Using a device like the Echo Show, you can make both audio and video calls and hold virtual conferences. This might be particularly handy for team supervisors who want to connect with team members at a moment’s notice.
Can Alexa Drop In On Phone/Tablet/iPad (IOS, Android)?
At the moment, Alexa can only Drop In on Amazon Fire 8 and 10 tablets. But, while you can use the Alexa app on your Android or iOS phone to Drop In, you cannot receive a Drop In call on these devices.
Can I Use Alexa Drop In As A Baby Monitor?
Yes! Dropping In on various rooms around your household is, in fact, one of the highlights of the feature. All you need to do is set up an Echo Show in the baby's room and activate permissions to access it. Anytime you want to check up on the baby, simply say, “Alexa, Drop In on [device name, e.g. baby's room].”
Can Alexa Drop In On A Group?
Yes. But keep in mind that if you choose to use Alexa Drop In on a group of devices, only one of the devices will answer.
Can Alexa Drop In On Multiple Devices At The Same Time?
Yes. In the case of announcements, Alexa Drops In on many devices at the same time. The only limitation is that the listeners or viewers on the other end cannot respond to the announcement.
Can Alexa Drop In On Fire TV?
The straightforward answer to this is no. The Amazon Fire TV does not have a Drop In feature. Neither does it support messaging and calling. But if you want to access the feature, you can choose to bundle up the TV with an Echo device. Since the TV’s remote control has voice support, and the Echo supports Drop In, you can use the combination to access the feature.
Can Alexa Drop In Silently?
Another common question that people have is “Can Alexa Drop In without notification?” The answer is not really! When you receive a Drop In, you get a notification in the form of a green pulse on your Echo device before automatic connection.
How Do I Know If Someone Is Dropping In On Alexa?
On Echo speakers, you will hear three chimes before it connects; while on Echo Show, you get both the chimes and a blurry screen for 10 seconds before a video chat begins. For any device that has a ring of light at the top, you will notice the aforementioned green pulse when someone Drops In.
Can Google Home Drop In Like Alexa?
Google Home has a feature known as 'Broadcast' that functions as an intercom around the smart home. Using this feature, you can broadcast a message from one smart speaker to the rest of the house.
Alexa Drop In Vs. Google Home Broadcast
Alexa’s Drop In feature beats Broadcast since it allows you to connect automatically to anyone in your household, and beyond, and hold a two-way conversation. Broadcast is limited to making announcements and does not yet support calls and messaging.
However, one of the main differences between Amazon Alexa and Google Home Broadcast is that Google’s intercom feature allows for a two-way conversation. For instance, if you get a broadcast telling you dinner’s ready, you can tell the sender you are coming. The response will be sent to their phone.
|Read also: How to Use Google Home as an Intercom – Hint “OK Google Broadcast” + Everything Else You Need to Know|
Is Alexa Drop In Free?
Yes! Alexa Drop In is free because it connects over the internet courtesy of your Wi-Fi. It is therefore comparable to when you make calls over the internet.
Could Alexa Drop In Be Hacked?
Yes! Just like anything else that uses technology, especially with an internet connection, your Alexa Drop In can be hacked. To avoid becoming a victim, make it a habit to always mute your devices when speaking about confidential or personal matters.
Does Alexa Store Conversations From My Drop In?
Yes! Alexa stores all your conversations, including Drop In. The more she listens to you, the better she gets to know you, and every conversation is an opportunity to build her knowledge base. If you would like to delete stored conversations, go to your Amazon account. Under ‘Manage Your Content and Devices’, hit ‘Delete’ to erase everything.
Does Alexa Drop In Use A Lot Of Data?
The amount of data Alexa Drop In uses will vary from one user to another - a person who uses video calls will use more data than one who uses audio. The frequency and duration of your Drop In sessions will also play a significant part. Overall though, using Alexa will have a greater impact on your utility bill than your data.
Can Alexa Drop In Work With Ring Doorbell?
Yes! It is possible to initiate two-way communication between any Ring doorbell and Amazon Echo Show and Spot. To start a conversation with someone at the door, say, “Alexa, answer [doorbell name].” To enter live view, say, “Alexa, show me [doorbell name].”
Can Alexa Drop In Work With Any Doorbells?
So far, Alexa can initiate two-way communication with Ring doorbells but does not support any others.
List Of Countries Alexa Drop In Works In
There are currently only a handful of countries around the world in which Alexa Drop In works. Note that there are constant updates and new regions are gaining accessibility. But for now, these are the countries in which the feature works:
For the countries that still remain unsupported, it is just a matter of time before the feature becomes available. Therefore, the best solution is to wait it out.
However, some users opt to be adventurous and try tweaking settings here and there to access features like Drop In that are currently unavailable.
For instance, there may be restrictions in downloading the Alexa app from Google Play Store or Apple AppStore, without which you cannot access a majority of Alexa functions. One of the most common solutions is to change the location on your device.
If you use iOS, this would require changing everything, including your billing information, through Apple ID. On Android, there are slight differences but the concept is more or less the same - you need to change everything that reveals your location.
Note, though, that doing so will mess with other functions, both on your device and in your interactions with Alexa. To illustrate: a request for news or weather information will not return a response tailored to your location.
But, you can address that, too, once you download the Alexa app to your device. Simply go to the web version of the app and enter the correct location. Here’s how to do it:
Can Alexa Drop In On Another Country?
If you live in a region where Alexa Drop In works and travel to another country, you may wonder whether the feature will still work. After all, it would come in handy if you need to check on the kids back home or ask your house sitter how the pets are doing.
Fortunately, the answer to this is yes. However, there are some conditions you need to meet to access the function:
- Have a Wi-Fi network which you can use with your Echo device
- Have the Alexa phone app to reconfigure your Echo and connect it to the available Wi-Fi network
Note that if you meet both conditions, you do not actually have to go through the Echo reconfiguration process. You can simply use your phone app to initiate Drop In calls. Here’s how:
Though this is much easier than reconfiguring an Echo, it has a major limitation. As mentioned previously, you can only use a phone to initiate Drop Ins; you cannot accept incoming Drop Ins.
If you live in a country where the feature is not available, simply download a US version of the app.
On iOS, create a US iTunes account to download the Alexa app from the US iTunes store. This is because international versions of the app likely don’t have Alexa Calling & Messaging. On Android, you can get an APK version of the app.
From there you can access the feature and make calls both locally and internationally.
Alexa Drop In Troubleshooting:
Why Is My Alexa Drop In Not Working?
If your Drop In feature is not working, there could be a number of possible reasons why. Take a look at some of the most common ones:
Compatibility Of Devices
The first thing you need to do is to confirm whether Drop In works with the device you are trying to use. We have outlined the devices that support the feature above. If your device is not on the list, it’s probably not working because it is incompatible.
Check whether the device has the relevant permissions to Drop In on the contact or device you wish to call. You can only call devices and contacts when you have permission to do so. Under Settings in your Alexa app, select the Echo device you want to connect to. Then, under Drop In, confirm whether permission is on or off. Toggle it on if it is off.
If you are having trouble connecting to a contact, it could be because they have disabled permission.
Disable Do Not Disturb Mode
Another reason why your Drop In feature might be refusing to work could be because Do Not Disturb mode is turned on. For Drop In to work, you have to turn it off. You can do so by voice command: “Alexa, turn off Do Not Disturb” or using your Alexa app. To do so through the app:
Update The Alexa App
At times, your Drop In feature might fail to work because the app on your smartphone is outdated. Check if the version you have is the latest one. If it’s not, update it and try using the feature once again.
Try Resetting Echo Device
If you have tried all of the above options and none has been successful, it is time to call in the big guns – reset your Echo device. Note, however, that when you reset the device, you will need to register it afresh on your Amazon account and enter the required settings on your app to use it.
Why Is My Alexa Drop In Calling The Wrong Device?
At times, Alexa Drops In on the wrong device when you forget to give yourself permissions to access specific devices. To confirm if this is the problem, go to your Alexa app and, under the Conversations tab, tap the contact button. Select your name and toggle on the switch next to ‘Can Drop In Anytime.’ When you are done, click OK.
More Alexa and Echo content from SMARTHOME news:
More from around the web:
Amazon: How Does Drop In Work?
Pocket-lint: How to set up and use Drop In on Amazon Echo devices
If you have any more questions, throw them in the comments guys! Happy to help!