Amazon has announced that it’s shutting down Alexa Guard — a DIY security feature for Echo devices that listens for intruders or household alarms when you’re away from home. The free version of Alexa Guard that listens for household disturbances was included as a standard feature on Amazon Echo devices.
In a recent email to customers, Amazon said that some of Guard’s features like smoke and CO alarm detection will instead be moved to its new Emergency Assist service, which is available for $5.99 per month or $59 per year.
Guard features like Home and Away modes (to arm and disarm your Ring Alarm) and Away Lighting (which switches on your lights to make it look like you’re at home) will still be available for free as part of the standard Alexa experience. Other features like glass break sound detection will require an Emergency Assist subscription “starting soon.”
According to Amazon, Ring Protect Pro customers who linked their Ring and Alexa accounts as of September 20th, 2023, will receive Alexa Emergency Assist for free until October 31st, 2024.
And to really turn the screws on Alexa Guard users, the Emergency Assist signup page also notes the $5.99 subscription for Emergency Assist is an introductory price that will expire on January 8th, 2024. After this, the $5.99 subscription will only be available for people who subscribe to Amazon Prime (which starts at $14.99 per month). In a statement to The Verge, Amazon spokesperson Deanna Kugler said that pricing for non-Prime subscribers will be confirmed “later this year.”
Correction, September 25th, 10.30AM ET: A previous version of this article said that Emergency Assist will require a prime subscription after January 8th, 2024. This is incorrect. Non-Prime members can still sign up for the service, but will not be eligible for the $5.99 introductory subscription price after this date.