You may have run into this scenario before. You receive a motion alert on your phone from the Ring app, and the snapshot shows you the back of someone. You then view the recording, and it’s your Amazon driver walking down the pathway away from your house. You had no idea anyone was at the door, so now you’re wondering – why didn’t my Ring doorbell alert me that someone came until they’re leaving?
We get our Ring doorbells to alert us of visitors, and any potential unwelcome visitors. But it’s no use if the doorbell is missing them! What gives? Why is this happening, and how can you fix it? The gist is…
Some Ring Doorbell models have specific issues with missed motion (especially when installed right by a wall), whereas all Ring doorbells can have problems when there’s weak Wi-Fi, faulty motion zones and with certain other in-app settings.
Let’s dive into this topic more by firstly recapping on what the Ring Doorbell range offers.
What is the Ring Video Doorbell?
The Ring Video Doorbell is part of Ring’s line of smart home products. Ring has quite a variety of smart home products, such as smart cameras, smart lights, and even Alarm Systems. However, their Video Doorbells remain one of their most popular products.
These convenient devices combine a doorbell and a smart camera in one. Not only can you be notified that someone is at the door, but now you can actually see them as well. These Video Doorbells also feature two-way speakers, so if you’re taking a while to come to the door, you can let your visitors know that you’ll be right there. This is also great for giving delivery personnel instructions, even if you’re not home.
Ring Video Doorbells come in a few different versions. Video Doorbell options are:
- Video Doorbell (Wired)
- Video Doorbell 2020 Release
- Video Doorbell Pro & Pro 2
- Video Doorbell 3 & 4
- Video Doorbell Elite
The Video Doorbell 2020 release, 3, and 4 are all strictly battery-operated. This means that there’s a battery inside that needs to be removed and recharged. The 2020 release’s battery isn’t removable, however, so you’ll have to dismount the entire doorbell in order to recharge it.
The Wired, Pro, Pro 2, and Elite are all wired versions. The Elite is unique, however, because it doesn’t need to be wired into the existing doorbell wiring. It uses a PoE, or Power over Ethernet connection, via an Ethernet cord where it gets power and internet.
The brains behind your Ring Video Doorbell is the Ring app.
This is where you’ll set up your cameras, as well as settings that specify how your cameras detect and record motion.
Motion Zones and Motion Sensitivity
Ring Video Doorbells work by recording motion-detected events. This means, when motion is detected on your property, your Ring Video Doorbell activates and records said activity. They do this according to settings you have in the Ring app – namely Motion Zones and Motion Sensitivity:
- Motion Zones are where your camera will check for and detect motion. When someone enters your Motion Zones, the camera will begin recording the event that caused the motion.
- Motion Sensitivity is how sensitive your camera is to motion. It means all the difference between your video doorbell catching just larger objects and people – or every leaf or squirrel that travels across your Motion Zones.
Most of the time, these Video Doorbells and motion detection work perfectly. However, issues do sometimes occur.
Problems With Ring Motion Events
One issue experienced by Ring users, is at times the Video Doorbell doesn’t record until someone is right at the door! You may notice that sometimes your Video Doorbell will completely miss when someone crosses the threshold of your Motion Zones (or 3D “bird’s eye view zones”). This results in you getting a Motion Alert when the person is literally standing in front of your door – and sometimes only after they rang the doorbell.
Another issue reported is that the Ring doorbell is missing people entirely. Perhaps you’ve had an Amazon delivery, and the only indication you have of such is that notification that Amazon sends you! This can also happen in the case of a food delivery.
Sometimes the Ring Video Doorbell will also catch footage as the person who was just at the door is walking away. Literally, no footage until the person is leaving – definitely not an ideal situation!
So if you’re experiencing any of these issues, you’re not alone! Of course, that isn’t very comforting – you don’t want these issues in the first place! So what’s causing these issues and how exactly do you fix them?
Reasons and Fixes for Ring Motion Event Issues
The Wi-Fi connection is actually the most common reason for video issues. Battery-operated doorbells such as the Ring Doorbell 2020 Release, as well as versions 3 and 4 seem particularly vulnerable to Wi-Fi problems.
A weak or spotty Wi-Fi connection can make it harder for your Ring Video Doorbell to react to someone entering your Motion Zones. In order for the Ring Doorbell to send you a notification and record the motion event, it needs to be able to connect to the Cloud. If the connection took a while to stabilize due to bad Wi-Fi, streaming may not actually occur until the person is leaving.
You can check the Wi-Fi signal strength in Device Settings in the Ring app. If the Signal Strength is in green, you’re good to go. However, if it’s in orange or red, this indicates there is a problem. This can result in partially frozen recordings, or even recordings that get missed entirely.
So how do you fix this? One way is to upgrade your Wi-Fi speeds. Sometimes there are just too many devices trying to use the Wi-Fi, causing quite a bit of lag. More bandwidth for your devices (for example, by upgrading your ISP internet plan) can be a great remedy to this problem.
Another solution is to use a Wi-Fi extender:
This is especially useful if your Ring Video Doorbell is located far from the router. The Wi-Fi extender can boost the signal, making it easier for your device to connect to the Wi-Fi, and provide you with the video footage you need.
Motion Zones and Sensitivity are two settings in the Ring app that help determine when your camera records motion-detected events, and how sensitive they are to them.
In the Ring app, go to your Video Doorbell, then tap the gear symbol in the top, right corner to go to Settings. There, you’ll choose Motion Settings.
On the next screen, at the top, you’ll see where you can adjust Motion Zones. This is where your Video Doorbell detects motion and thereby alerts you. If you’re missing alerts, make sure that the Motion Zones are set up how you want them to be. You can even have more than one Motion Zone.
Below Motion Zones, you’ll also see Motion Sensitivity. Here you can adjust how sensitive to motion you want your camera to be by adjusting the slider. Further to the left, your camera will be less sensitive, and further to the right, it will be more sensitive.
Another feature in this area is Smart Alerts. Smart Alerts use AI detection to determine the cause of your Motion Alerts. For example, you can choose to only be alerted when a Person steps into your Motion Zone. There’s even a setting to detect Packages. This can lower the number of unwanted alerts, and even save on battery life.
If you’re not too concerned about battery life, set your device to maximum sensitivity and disable person-only alerts to see if this helps.
Battery-Powered vs. Wired Doorbells
As mentioned before, Ring’s Video Doorbells have to connect to the Cloud to begin uploading recordings of motion-detected events (apart from in the case of Ring Edge). Battery-powered doorbells are reliant on Wi-Fi, while video doorbells such as the Elite with the Ethernet connection have more stable and powerful internet connections.
A stronger connection to the internet and Cloud makes Motion Detection more efficient and faster.
However, doorbells that use existing doorbell wiring for power, such as the Wired, Pro, and Pro 2, sometimes have been reported to have less accurate motion detection in some cases.
This may be due in part to the wiring itself. If the wiring is faulty in any way, or the transformer isn’t powerful enough, power to the doorbell may not be consistent enough for it to work properly. You can often check the power status under the Device Health section of the app – be sure to verify that it says that it’s good. You can also click the ‘Transformer Voltage’ value, to see the exact voltage that is being output:
If you’re experiencing motion event issues with your wired doorbell, try first checking on your Wi-Fi connection, as well as Motion Settings. If neither are the issue, you may want to look into the wiring, even consulting a professional electrician if need be.
Sometimes people and motion events are missed because of the angle or location the doorbell is placed. Angled doors and walkways can make it harder for the doorbell to catch motion, as can nearby walls that obscure large parts of the recording area.
Corners where it’s hard to see people coming can cause blind spots that your Ring doorbell can’t pick up on. If the camera can catch a glimpse of someone coming, try adjusting Motion Sensitivity so that it’s higher, and will thereby pick up subtle movements that can trigger a Motion Alert.
If your doorbell sits in a higher place where it may miss someone, say, coming up the stairs, try using a wedge to angle the doorbell downwards slightly. Ring sells such kits so that you can place a wedge as part of the doorbell mount, and catch people as they come up the stairs.
Editor’s Note: finally, I have spoken to people with a Ring Doorbell Wired (2021 model) that have it installed near a wall, and have very poor motion detection – even after the model was replaced. It does seem like the Ring Wired does have an issue with nearby walls, resulting in motion only being detected when someone is right by the front door. I know of neighbors with a Ring Pro (and have a nearby wall) without this issue.
Other Options for Video Doorbells
If you’re not keen on missing Motion Alerts (and who would be?!), there are other options you can explore when it comes to Video Doorbells.
Wyze, another smart home manufacturer, also makes Video Doorbells. They have the wired Wyze Video Doorbell, and the battery-operated Wyze Video Doorbell Pro which is usually available for under $100. Some users have complained about some motion events being missed, but most are due to internet connection issues.
Another option you can try is the Nest Doorbell. Made by Google, this video doorbell works with the Nest hub. Many users have had good reports about the effectiveness of their Nest doorbells.
Simplisafe also has a great video doorbell, though retailing at about $170, it’s pricier than Ring, Wyze, and Google Nest.
There are many options when it comes to Video Doorbells. The one you choose depends on what price point you’re looking for, as well as compatibility with any smart home hubs you may have.
Life in Motion
We get our video doorbells so that we can catch people as they near our home – not as they walk away. Or worse off, not to miss them entirely! While Ring has had a few snafus in this area, fortunately, these aren’t too common, and there are ways to remedy such situations.
And if Ring isn’t your cup of tea anymore, not a problem. There are plenty of other video doorbells to choose from so that you can ensure the safety and security of your home.