Amazon will start charging for formerly free Alexa Guard smoke and security alerts

You'll need to pay for an Alexa Emergency Assist subscription to keep using those features.


Amazon is paywalling more formerly free features on its smart home devices. Several months after it moved some basic Ring alarm system features behind a subscription plan, Amazon is doing something similar for several Alexa Guard functions.

Alexa Guard is a free security feature that came as standard on Echo devices. It listens out for things like alarms and intruders when you aren't at home. However, the company is shutting down Alexa Guard, as The Verge reports.

Some Alexa Guard features will remain available to everyone at no extra cost as part of the core Alexa experience. These include the Home and Away modes (for arming and disarming a Ring Alarm system) and Away Lighting, which turns on smart lights to make it seem like you're en casa.

However, you'll need to pay for the new Emergency Assist service to keep using several features. Amazon is paywalling Alexa Guard's smoke and CO alarm detection functions. You'll also soon have to pony up for a subscription if you want Alexa to keep an ear out for the sound of breaking glass, signifying a possible intruder.

There's at least some good news for Ring Protect Pro members who linked their Ring and Alexa accounts as of September 20. Those folks will get an Alexa Emergency Assist membership at no extra cost until October 31 next year. Guard Plus, which added some extra features to Alexa Guard for a monthly or annual fee, is no longer available for purchase. It was included with a Ring Protect Pro plan.

Alexa Emergency Assist currently costs $6 per month or $59 per year. However, that's listed as an introductory price that will only remain valid for everyone until January 8. After that time, non-Prime subscribers will have to pay extra for Emergency Assist. Much like Guard Plus, Alexa Emergency Assist enables users to call emergency services via the voice assistant on an Echo device.