“Alexa, Drop In” – Using Alexa as an Intercom
Simply set up the Alexa Drop in feature on your device and broadcast between all Alexa devices in your home or with specified phone contacts, want to find out how? Read below!
I’ve mentioned a few times that you can use your Amazon Alexa to communicate with others in your home if there’s a camera. But can you use your Alexa device as an intercom between rooms?
The answer is yes! If you have an Alexa-enabled device (Like the Echo or a Sonos Speaker) in each of those rooms, you’ll be able to have 1-1 or global conversations in your house.
You will need to bare in mind that this doesn’t require the other user to accept the drop-in or call, so you may find yourself contacting them at a bad time! Regardless of video or voice calls, this can be quite daunting to have at any point.
You may want to be fairly familiar with Amazon Alexa, as such, I highly suggest you read our Beginners Guide to Amazon Alexa.
What is Alexa Drop In?
Alexa Drop In was originally only distributed in the US but has been enabled in the UK now.
It is a feature which is available on all Alexa-enabled devices which allows you to connect one to one to other devices in your household.
This is particularly useful for anyone who has a particularly large home, multiple buildings on one network or multiple floors in their building.
It’s definitely a nice break from having your family shout up the stairs to get your attention, although, I find most people tend to shout into the Alexa Drop In. Ouch.
Your device needs to have permission to Drop In prior to doing this, basically, this means if you get a new Alexa Device you will need to go through the process of enabling Drop In access to all of the other devices.
Until this is done, your new Alexa device won’t be able to make the most of the Alexa Drop In feature.
Much like when you have a notification from Amazon directly, your Alexa Ring light will turn green when you have a Drop In via that specific device.
You’ll hear a notification for the drop in followed by a green light and then the connection will have started.
If you have an Echo Show, you won’t see a green glow but you will be notified of the call in question and your devices screen will have a frost / blur effect on it.
How do I use the Alexa Drop In?
Alexa Drop In Tutorial guidance
There’s quite a few steps to enabling this and setting it up, one of the major steps is to sign into the device as yourself and enable calls and messages via the Alexa App.
How do I enable Drop In for Calls and Messaging?
You will need to do this on a device basis, however, the steps are extremely simple to do via your Smartphone or Tablet (It can also be done via your PC).
- Open the Amazon Alexa App / Dashboard from your Smartphone / Tablet. If you haven’t, make sure you’re logged into your own account.
- Tap on the “Conversations” icon at the bottom, this will be a small text bubble
- From here, confirm your name and allow access to your phone contacts. You should then get an SMS message with a code to verify your phone number
- Select the Hamburger Icon after you’ve confirmed the verification process.
- Select “Settings” and then select the Alexa enabled device you wish to enable Drop In on
- Under “General”, select “Drop In” and ensure it’s enabled / on.
- Select Drop In and select “My Household Only”, this means no external networks can just drop in.
- This process will need to be redone for all devices you wish to have Alexa Drop In enabled on
How do I name my Alexa Devices?
When you have multiple Alexa devices, you’ll want to make sure they have a naming convention that stops you from dropping in on other users by accident. Simply giving them the name “______’s Alexa” is likely to cause problems, so I highly suggest naming each device after the room it’s in.
- Open the Alexa App and select the “Hamburger” icon
- Select the “Settings” option and then select the device you wish to rename.
- Select on the “Edit Name” section.
- Change the name to one which follows an easy to say standard, for example “Kitchen” or “Living Room”, I would highly suggest not giving it a name for a user, for example “Katie” or “Phillip”.
- You will need to do this for every Alexa device on your network.
Now that it’s set up, how do I use Alexa Drop In?
Now that everything has been set up, you’ll be able to make the most of Drop Ins. The actual feature itself is extremely easy to use once you’ve gotten familiar with it. These are the follow commands you can use for Dropping in:
How to Drop In on a specific device:
“Alexa, Drop in on Device Name“, replace Device Name with “Kitchen” etc
If you want Alexa to specify the devices you can access is:
“Alexa, Drop in on Home“
From here, Alexa will list every device on that specific network / group. This is perfect for users who easily forget their set up.
Like these commands? Check out my comprehensive breakdown on Alexa Easter Eggs and Jokes.
How to drop in on a contact (Even outside of your network / home)
It is possible to drop in on your friends echo devices, however, this does require you to have permissions via your contacts. You would need the user to download the Alexa App, sign up for Alexa calling and Messaging (Using the steps below) and once enabled, simply use the following command:
“Alexa, Drop in on Name Of Contact in Phone“
If you have an Echo Show, as mentioned before, please keep in mind you need to turn off Video functionality when you’re not using it. This can be done by using the following command:
“Alexa, Turn Video Off”
Telling the family that dinner’s ready or reminding the kids it’s time for bed won’t require as much shouting if you’ve got a smart home with Echo speakers scattered around. Amazon announced a feature called Alexa Announcements, which will let you simultaneously broadcast a voice message to every Echo in the house.
The one-way Announcements function is meant for messages the whole network needs to hear. They’ll play back on all supported devices, which include the Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Echo Spot.
You can use the following commands to make an Alexa Announcement:
“Alexa, Tell everyone _______“
“Alexa, Broadcast ________“
“Alexa, Announce ________“
Once specified, Alexa won’t ask for confirmation but will send a chime sound effect to every device with the prefix “Announcement” followed by your message.
How do I use Alexa Drop In from my Phone?
One of the great thing about the Amazon Alexa App, is that it allows practically any Android device to become a voice controller for your Smart Home.
If you have an Android or IoS device simply follow these devices to allow you to Drop In via your phone for free calls.
- Open your Amazon Alexa App and tap on “Communicate”
- Select “Drop In”, this will open a list of your contacts and Echo Devices that you have already enabled the feature on
- Tap the device you wish to Drop in on, this will start instantly.
How do I use Alexa Drop In from my Fire Tablet?
Despite me suggesting you simply avoid the Fire Tablet, if you do already have one, it’s very similar to the phone steps:
- In your Tablet settings select “Alexa” and then toggle that on.
- Also toggle “Hands-Free Mode” on.
- Select “Communications” and then enable “Calling and Messaging“
- There will be an additional option for “Drop In“, make sure that is enabled.
- You can now select Drop Ins for only your household / network or specific “Preferred Contacts“
- That’s it done! You may as well enable “Announcements” from here as well
How do I disable it?
The Alexa Drop In feature is impressive for what it is, there’s no doubt about it. But due to the fact you don’t need to accept the incoming Drop In, it can be quite daunting to have around the house. So, how do you disable Alexa Drop In?
Due to the process being automated, it will only automatically answer the incoming ‘call’ if the device dropping in has the relevant permissions to allow Drop Ins.
This should only be kept to people you are comfortable with dropping in and if you have an Echo Show or other Alexa enabled devices which have video, I highly suggest keeping the camera not pointing to your main center of your room.
You can cancel or end the drop in simply by using the following command:
“Alexa, Hang up”
Can I set up a privacy schedule / routine?
Is it possible to actually stop your Alexa from allowing Drop Ins with ease? Anything you can do to stop people just dropping in when you’re getting out of the shower? You can just turn on the Do Not Disturb mode for your Echo by doing the following:
Enabling Do Not Disturb for your Echo Device:
- Open the Alexa App on your Smart Phone or Tablet
- Select Devices
- Select Echo & Alexa
- Select the device you wish to turn DnD on for
- Select Do Not Disturb
- This will prompt you with a toggle
Alternatively, simply use the following commands to control your DnD mode on your Alexa device:
“Alexa, Do not Disturb”
Alexa, turn off Do Not Disturb
Setting up a Schedule for Alexa Drop In
You can specify that Drop In only applies at certain times, for example, it turns on only between 9AM and 3PM. Follow these steps to do so:
- Open your Alexa App
- Select Devices in the bottom right
- Find your device in question (Echo & Alexa)
- Scroll down and select Do Not Disturb
- Enable it and toggle the Schedule option
- Set the specific time you wish to start and stop this on.
Can I turn off Alexa Drop In?
Yes you can, simply follow these steps to turn off Alexa Drop In:
- Open your Alexa App and select the Menu Icon
- Go to Settings and select “Device Settings”
- Select the Echo Device you wish to disable this on
- Select “Communications” followed by “Drop In”
- Toggle Drop In to “Off”
- From here you can also restrict access to people specifically in your household from the option on screen.
How do I tell if this is on or off?
If you want to check to if Drop in is toggled on or off, you can do it simply by going through the steps above to check via the app. Alternatively, you can simply check the Alexa ring colour to check whether or not this is actually set up correctly.
For example, if you have an incoming call, the light will be pulsing green, however if you’ve set up Do Not Disturb the light will spin blue and end with a purple ring flash.
Simply tell she who shall not be named “Alexa, turn off Do Not Disturb“.
How to change Alexa Drop In Permissions
As mentioned prior, this feature can be daunting, using the settings in this video, you can specify your drop in only to either be contacts you’ve given permission to or only people in your household if it’s not turned on.
The various settings that you can select are:
- On – This will only allow contacts on your Smart Device to Drop in on your specified Alexa Device if you’ve given them permission to do so.
- Only my Household – This will ignore your contact permissions, but will keep everyone in your household as an enabled user for dropping in
- Off – Drop In will no longer be enabled, as such, you won’t be able to drop in with others or be dropped in on.
What devices are compatible with Alexa Drop In?
There’s a wide range of Alexa Devices which work with the Drop in Feature, typically, if it has Alexa, the feature works.
- Amazon Echo (1st Generation)
- Amezon Echo (2nd Generation)
- Echo Dot (1st Generation)
- Echo Dot (2nd Generation)
- Echo Plus
- Echo Show (Audio & Video)
- Echo Spot (Audio & Video)
- Fire HD 8 Tablet
- Fire HD 10 Tablet
- Sonos One
- Sonos Beam
Note: If you have an Ecobee device, it will not support Alexa Drop In, however, you can still make an Announcement if you have an Ecobee 4 Thermostat or Ecobee Switch+.