One of the lesser well-known functions of an Amazon Echo smart speaker is the possibility to ring and Drop-In on other Echo speakers which you have permission to connect to.
A further bonus of the Drop-In feature is that the other party doesn’t have to answer, so you can talk to the dog on your lunch break or check everything is okay if someone isn’t answering their phone.
But how do you set it up, and how can you actually prevent being contacted if you’re concerned about privacy? Here is our rundown of what the Drop-In function is, and how to use it.
Firstly: Drop-In is only available on dedicated Amazon Echo devices and not third-party speakers, which could limit you. You can also start calls on the Alexa app
What Is Drop-In?
Drop-In is a function that allows your Alexa-enabled device (phone or Echo speaker) to instantly connect to another Alexa device. Instantly means that they don’t have to actually do anything to answer; once there is a connection, you can listen to what the Echo can hear and can also talk to it.
If you have an Echo with a screen, you similarly will be able to see anything in range (and they will be able to see back).
When you Drop-In on an Echo device, both device’s light rings will pulse green, so you know it is connecting and they know they have an incoming Drop-In too. The green light will also go around when you have an incoming Drop-In so you know to prepare and have time to cancel it if you wish.
With video-enabled speakers, the screen is cloudy for a period before connecting so again, you have time to compose yourself.
Who Can I Drop In On?
You can drop-in on any speaker that is in your home and connected to the same account. So, you can listen in and talk to the kids in their bedroom, or ask who is cooking whether your dinner is ready yet (if you’re brave enough).
Or, you can drop-in on any of your contacts who have allowed permission for you to connect. This is great if you have someone you call on the phone to check on daily, but if they don’t always answer you start to panic.
How Do I Set Up Drop-In?
You first need to set up Alexa Calling. This is easy to do through the ‘Communication’ tab on your Alexa app (the little speech bubble). You just need to pop in a UK-registered phone number.
You need to do this through your app as it needs permission to sync with your contacts and verify the number. With this, you’ll also be able to call landlines.
But back to Drop-In – the perk of this, as mentioned, is that they don’t have to answer the phone or do anything. To enable Drop-In, go to the Conversation Tab > Contacts > Their Name > Toggle On The “Allow Drop In” switch.
If you have an Echo Show, you can toggle the switch on there
They will have to do the same in return. Once enabled, it applies to everyone in your household, so they can also Drop-In on any other speakers in your home.
How Do I Drop-In On Amazon Echo Devices?
If you have more than one Echo in the home and want to Drop-In on your living room speaker while at work to check the kids are okay, say: “Alexa, Drop In on [name of Echo device]”.
If you’re unsure what they are all called, or Alexa can’t quite understand pronunciation, just say: “Alexa, Drop-In on Home”. Alexa will list all of the Echo devices in your home, and you can choose from the list.
Using the app to Drop-In? Just go to the Communicate bubble and select ‘Drop-In’. A list of eligible speakers will appear.
A contact’s device
As long as they have also signed up for Amazon messaging and calling and have allowed you as a Drop-In contact, simply say: “Alexa, Drop-In on [contact’s name]”.
You have to say the name exactly as it appears in your contact list, so if Darren has a nickname after a certain night out, you’ll either have to say this out loud or change the name on your phone…
Video Drop-In With Echo Show
A perk of the video-enabled Echo’s is that you can see the person on your Drop-In. As mentioned, the screen will be cloudy for a period until you a) get prepped or b) refuse the call.
But another perk is that the Echo Show has motion sensors. So, if your contact is already nearby their Show, you will be notified with a ‘recently active’ note.
You can turn off video altogether if you have an Echo Show or Echo Spot, so you don’t have any surprises. This can be done during the call, too, by touching the screen and pressing “Video Off”.
How To Disable Drop-In
Simply say: “Alexa, disable Drop-In for my household” to disable Drop-In to any speakers in your home. Or, you can turn it off in the app.
For specific contacts, toggle the enable button to disable in the app under their name. You can also hang up if you see it is about to connect.
If you only temporarily want to disable Drop-Ins on a certain device (because you’re working or the kids are sleeping) just turn on the Do Not Disturb function by asking Alexa.