How to Restrict Camera Access on Echo Shows

Echo Shows are Amazon’s line of smart displays that feature a screen and camera, in addition to the Alexa voice assistant functionality. While the camera enables useful features like video calling, it also raises privacy concerns about who can access the camera feed. Here are some ways to restrict and control camera access on your Echo Show.

Use the Physical Camera Shutter

The easiest way to restrict camera access is to simply slide the physical shutter over the camera when not in use. All Echo Show devices except the original 1st generation model have a built-in camera shutter that physically blocks the lens. Sliding this shutter over the camera ensures no one can access the video feed, even through potential software exploits. It also signals to others in the room that the camera is disabled.

Disable the Camera in Settings

You can disable the Echo Show’s camera through the device settings menu:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the Echo Show screen and tap Settings.
  2. Select Camera.
  3. Toggle the “Camera” setting to Off.

This will disable the camera even when the physical shutter is open. The setting persists across reboots. Enabling this setting also disables features that require camera access like Drop In and video calls.

Set Up Camera Blocking with Routines

You can automate camera blocking using Alexa Routines. For example, create a routine to disable the camera when you arrive home. Routines provide more control than relying on the physical shutter.

  1. In the Alexa app, go to More > Routines.
  2. Create a new routine triggered by your arrival.
  3. Add the action “Disable Camera” to the routine.

Select Contacts for Drop In Access

The Drop In feature on Echo Shows lets selected contacts instantly connect to your device’s camera. To restrict which contacts have access:

  1. Open the Alexa app and go to Conversations > Contacts.
  2. Select each contact and enable/disable “Can Drop In” as desired.

Disable Drop In entirely by going to Settings > [Device Name] > Communications > Drop In.

View and Revoke App Permissions

Skills and third-party apps may request access to your Echo Show’s camera. Check and revoke permissions for unused skills:

  1. In the Alexa app, go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Skill Permissions.
  2. Review the list and toggle permission settings on/off as desired.

Be cautious when enabling skills that request camera access.

Set Up Alexa Guard

Alexa Guard can detect activity when you’re away and send Smart Alerts to your phone. This uses the Echo Show’s camera and microphone without providing remote viewing access.

  1. In the Alexa app, go to More > Alexa Guard.
  2. Follow the prompts to enable Alexa Guard and set up modes and notifications.

Child Accounts and Parental Controls

Amazon’s child accounts and FreeTime features allow parents to review activity, manage contacts, and block skills that use the camera. Under Account Settings, set up a child profile and adjust parental control settings as desired.

Restricting camera access helps prevent unwanted snooping and privacy violations. Be thoughtful about which features, skills, and contacts have permission to access your Echo Show’s camera. Utilize the physical shutter, device settings, routines, and parental controls to limit access.