The IR night vision feature on Ring cameras can be a great add-on, but it can also cause plenty of headaches. Users have been requesting more control over IR night vision for years, but can you disable night vision on Ring devices?
You can’t disable auto IR night vision on most of Ring’s cameras or doorbells (the Ring Doorbell Pro 2 is the only one that allows this). You can toggle Color Night Vision on and off, but IR night vision is always on. However there are workarounds that allow you to block IR night vision on Ring cameras.
Let’s hit the lights and find out what’s going on with Ring’s IR night vision.
How Ring Cameras and Doorbells Do Night Vision
It’s important to have a good understanding of how Ring cameras and doorbells achieve night vision video recording before we jump into trying to enable or disable certain features. In fact, understanding how this night vision camera works well actually gives us some tips for how we can toggle this feature on and off.
Ring’s cameras and doorbells are equipped with a specific version of night vision known as infrared night vision. Commonly abbreviated as IR night vision, this type of recording uses infrared light to record pictures and video and otherwise total darkness.
The cameras do this thanks to an infrared light built into the housing of the camera. Infrared light is outside of the visible range of light for humans, but there are cameras that can pick it up. This allows infrared cameras to sufficiently illuminate the scene without creating a light that would distract the entire neighborhood.
However, this only creates a black and white image. Because humans can’t see in the infrared range, infrared recording doesn’t return any color information that we can use.
There is a way to convert a black and white IR night vision recording into color. Ring uses software-backed false color images to bring in some color information into our black and white videos.
How Color Night Vision Works on Ring
Here’s how Ring’s cameras are able to take a balck and white image and add some color to the picture.
There will likely be some ambient light visible to your Ring camera. Common sources of ambient light are street lights, lights on neighboring homes, and even the moon and stars. This ambient light won’t be enough to light up an entire scene, but it will be enough to add small amounts of color information.
Ring can pick up on these small amounts of color information and make an educated guess about the rest of the scene. This allows Ring to create false color images that add more information to recordings:
False color images can help you get a better sense of what’s going on in your night vision recordings. You might even be able to get important information like the color of a person’s outfit or the color of a vehicle.
False color images aren’t perfect. It’s common for Ring to overgeneralize or just miss color information all together. In fact, you’ll most likely still have sections of your recording that are black and white even with this feature enabled.
Can You Disable Night Vision on Ring Cameras?
Ring makes some great smart home gadgets, but they are reluctant to hand over the controls for their tech. Let’s see how much of this night vision we can turn off.
IR Night Vision
Unfortunately, it is impossible to turn off IR night vision on any current Ring camera or doorbell model, other than the expensive Ring Doorbell Pro 2. If your camera comes with IR night vision, it’s always going to automatically turn on even if you don’t want it to.
Thankfully Ring built some extra sensors into the $260 Ring Doorbell Pro 2 which allows you to ‘dim down’ or disable night vision completely, within the Video Settings menu of the Ring app:
The three Pro 2-specific options here are:
- Standard – night vision will run as normal.
- Wall Nearby – sometimes nearby glare will disrupt the night vision mode, causing too much white light to make the recording quality worse. Choosing this setting will reduce this problem, giving you decent night vision quality.
- Night Vision Off – this will never switch your doorbell into night vision mode, which is ideal if you have nearby light sources that would otherwise ruin the recording quality. Equally, if your doorbell is behind a pane of glass, enabling this setting will result in much better nighttime recording quality.
But assuming you don’t have the Pro 2, don’t throw your Ring cameras out just yet! We’ll cover some workarounds that will effectively turn off night vision further down in this article.
Color Night Vision
There’s much better news when it comes to toggling color night vision on and off. You can freely turn color night vision on or off in your Ring app menu. Here’s how you can disable this type of night vision.
- Open the Ring App
- Tap the three lines to open the menu
- Select Devices
- Tap the device you want to change
- Select “Device Settings”
- Tap the Video Settings menu
- Select Color Night Vision
- Toggle Enable/Disable
Disabling this option will make any new recordings go back to standard black and white mode:
Why Would You Want to Disable Night Vision?
Why would anyone want to turn off their night vision?
Well, there are actually some compelling reasons for skipping night vision recordings. Let’s look at a few shortcomings of IR night vision and some surprising information on crime and home security that might have you second guessing your night vision camera.
No Useful Information
Ring’s photo and video notifications are great—during the day. You get to see what deliveries are being made, who’s stopping by, and can even video chat with your guests.
However, things get much less useful at night. No deliveries, not as many guests, and fewer people out in general. Your night vision recordings might not be all that important. There are even fewer home break ins at night, but we’ll get to that in just a second.
Trouble With IR Recordings
Ring has some pretty effective cameras, but their IR recordings are often low quality. Depending on how your yard is set up, your neighbor’s lighting choices, or even street lights or neon signs, your IR recordings might be washed out and low quality.
There are ways you can improve IR night vision recordings, but you can only do so much. If the home across the street has seasonal lights that are visible from space, your IR footage might be unusable anyway.
Heck, my neighbor across the street has a Ring Doorbell, and both of our doorbell’s infrared light shows up in each of our recordings:
Too Many Notifications!
Ring’s cameras are great, but do you really need to know about everything that passes by your camera’s lens?
This is especially a problem late at night when you’re trying to get some rest. Night vision footage is often of incidental objects or animals that pass by and not all that crucial. Disabling night vision can give you some much needed time away from the constant flow of notifications.
Setting Realistic Security Goals
We’ve all heard that the majority of crimes happen at night, but the majority of home break ins happen during broad daylight (with 10am-3pm being peak time).
Think about it from the would-be burglar’s perspective. They want the easiest job possible—which means entering a home when no one is around. Homeowners are most likely to be away from 6am to 6pm while they are at work and that is precisely when most break ins happen.
Your IR and false color night vision isn’t really preventing crime as much as it is giving you peace of mind.
Attracting Bugs, Bugging Wildlife
While humans and most animals can’t see in infrared, reptiles, amphibians, and bugs often can. The powerful IR light on your Ring camera is going to act like a beacon for insects while potentially being a nuisance for other wildlife.
Disabling the IR night vision will lower the amount of late-night insects on your property and could do other creatures a favor!
Workarounds and Hacks for Disabling Ring Night Vision
If you can’t disable night vision on a Ring camera or doorbell (Pro 2 aside), what can you do?
We’ve got a few workarounds that will either effectively disable the infrared light or it will take away the problems that the light was causing to begin with.
Here are three quick workarounds to solve all of your IR night vision woes.
Cover the Infrared Light
The first fix that you can try is to simply cover the infrared light. Your Ring camera will still attempt to record when lighting conditions are low, but the infrared light will be totally covered which will prevent it from being able to capture any video.
Covering the infrared light with electrical tape won’t do any damage to your Ring device. Make sure to change your electrical tape every few weeks and clean off the surface of your Ring camera. This will prevent tape residue from building up on your camera.
The infrared lights on your Ring camera are located at the base of the device or on either side of the camera lens. The Ring doorbell has its infrared lights right beneath the doorbell button itself:
Simply cover these lights up with tape and you have effectively toggled infrared night vision off. The exact location of the IR light can vary though, so before applying tape you might want to simply put your finger over the suspected location, and check the results in the live view app.
If the recording goes very dark (assuming it’s night-time, of course!), then you have successfully found the location of the IR light. Tape away!
Set a New Motion Schedule
Motion schedules can help take care of all those pesky notifications that you get from your Ring cameras. If your main problem with IR night vision recording is that you’re getting too many notifications you can use motion schedules to tell Ring when you want notifications and when you don’t.
Here is how you can set up a new motion schedule for your Ring camera:
- Open your Ring app
- Tap Devices
- Locate your device
- Tap Motion Settings
- Tap Motion Schedule
- Create your new Motion Schedule
- Save the new schedule
- Repeat as needed
Add More Lights
This is the last workaround which might not be right for every homeowner. Ring automatically turns on IR night vision when light levels get too low to record. You can trick your Ring camera into never turning on IR night vision by installing some more lights.
You can install lights that illuminate your porch or yard so that Ring never turns on IR night vision. This might not be too practical as your neighbors, or maybe even family, might not appreciate the all night lightshow.
You can also take a smart light and set it on a dusk-to-dawn schedule. With that light pointed at or near your Ring camera, it should have just enough light to think it’s always daytime and never switch over into the automatic infrared night vision.
What About Future Ring Products?
We’ve got good news and bad news about the future of Ring products when it comes into toggling night vision on and off.
Being able to disable infrared night vision is one of the most requested features for Ring cameras. There are countless reasons why individuals would want to turn off infrared night vision and us fans of Ring technology have been requesting this feature for years.
And the fact that Ring finally added this to the Ring Doorbell Pro 2 surely means that they’ll add this to all their other devices, right?
Well, here’s the down side. Ring has yet to announce this feature for any future device. While there is plenty of speculation about the features that are going to be available on the next series of Ring cameras, there is no official announcement saying that you’ll be able to toggle IR night vision on and off.
We’re just going to have to wait as these devices continue to be developed to find out more about their night vision features.
Alternatives to Ring that Offer More Night Vision Settings
If you are all-in on controlling your IR lights and auto night vision settings, you might want to check out some of Ring’s competition. It seems that most other brands let you toggle this feature on and off at will.
Here are some smart camera and doorbell brands that let you toggle night vision on and off.