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Ring finally brings end-to-end encryption to its flagship video doorbells

Ring finally brings end-to-end encryption to its flagship video doorbells


Ring users can now keep their video completely private at the cost of some conveniences

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Ring Video Doorbell 4
Ring’s battery-powered video doorbells —including the Ring Video Doorbell 4 — now work with end-to-end encryption of video and audio.
Photo by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Ring is now offering end-to-end encryption of video and audio on its battery-powered video doorbells and security cameras, over a year after it added the option to its hardwired and plug-in devices. End-to-end encryption lets users of the company’s video cameras keep their footage locked down, making it accessible only on their enrolled iOS or Android device. Separately, Ring is also making it easier to save recorded videos when an owner sells or disposes of a Ring device

With end-to-end encryption enabled, no one but the camera’s owner can access recorded footage. Even if law enforcement asked Ring, or its parent company Amazon, for the video, they couldn't provide it. Only the enrolled mobile device can unlock the video.

By default, Ring encrypts video and audio recordings when they’re uploaded to the cloud and while stored on Ring’s servers. End-to-end encryption ups the levels of security, giving only the device owner access to and control of their footage on one designated device and with a passphrase only they have.

When Ring first previewed video end-to-end encryption in January 2021, the Ring Pro 2 and Ring Elite were the only video doorbells it worked on, leaving its most popular battery-powered devices — such as the Ring 4, Ring Video doorbell — out of the privacy party. It was also an option on all its wired and plug-in cameras — including the Ring Floodlight cam — but not on the battery-powered options such as the Ring Stick Up Cam (battery).

Now, end-to-end encryption is available on all Ring’s currently sold cameras and doorbells, with the only exception being the Ring Video Doorbell Wired — its lowest-priced buzzer. Ring has a guide on its website with instructions for enrolling.

Ring Stick Up Cam battery
The battery-powered Ring Stick Up Cam joins its wired and solar-powered siblings with the option of end-to-end encryption.
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

But the increased privacy protections come with caveats. With end-to-end encryption turned on, users lose the ability to preview videos on the Ring app’s Event Timeline view and in rich notifications that show a snapshot of action in notification before opening the app. 

Also, shared users of Ring devices can’t see videos on their devices, and no user can share videos from the Ring app or view footage on Echo Show devices or any third-party apps. End-to-end encryption also disables Alexa Greetings and Quick Replies – where a Ring video doorbell can automatically respond to a visitor. Bird’s Eye View also won’t work – an option on some Ring cameras that shows the path a visitor has taken to the doorbell or camera. Disabling end-to-end encryption restores all these functions.

However, most of these features are useful conveniences — not essential to the core use of a security camera. For many users, the increased privacy protection will be worth the loss of some convenience.

This week, Ring also introduced a new feature to make it easier to save recorded videos when a user sells or disposes of a Ring device — for example, if they were selling it to upgrade to a new model. 

Deactivated Device State lets a user choose to save any videos to their account without having to download them manually (the only option previously available). 

When they go to remove the camera or doorbell from the account in the Ring app, a new Remove Device option appears, allowing them to keep or delete events/videos from the device before removing it from their Ring Account. 

The videos will be stored on the account as long as the user has a Ring subscription. If they cancel the subscription, they’ll need to manually download any videos they want to keep to a phone or computer.