This story is part of Home Tips, CNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
Want to keep porch pirates from stealing your deliveries? If you have certain Ring devices, you’ve got a nifty feature that can help: package alerts. Last year, Ring rolled out package alerts to select video doorbell cameras, beginning with its Video Doorbell Pro 2 and Video Doorbell (2020). This feature is designed to let users know when a package arrives and to monitor the package in case of theft.
To use package alerts, you’ll first have to be a Ring Protect subscriber, which costs anywhere from $3 per month to $20 per month, depending on whether you just want cloud storage for a single video device or you’re paying for professional monitoring for your security system. Google Nest offers the feature free with its latest video doorbell, and Arlo’s subscription is comparable to Ring’s.
The other consideration here is Ring’s political baggage: The Amazon-owned company has a messy history of facilitating footage sharing between customers and police. A few recent feature additions, however, have allowed more flexibility for Ring users — letting them encrypt video, store and process it locally and so on. Ring is also no longer helping police contact customers directly to request footage; instead such requests happen in public posts on Ring’s Neighbors app.
With all those considerations out of the way, if you still want to activate package alerts on your compatible Ring video doorbells, here’s how to do it. (For more home security tips, find out the best places to put home security cameras, and the best cheap home security systems you can buy.)
How to set up Ring package alerts
1. Open the Ring app.
2. Tap the hamburger menu in the top-left corner, then select Devices.
3. Select your compatible video doorbell (the Video Doorbell (2020) or Doorbell Pro 2).
4. Select Motion Settings, then Smart Alerts.
5. Under the Package section, select the video icon.
6. Set up your package zone, and select the alerts icon.
7. You can customize the package zone and sensitivity on this screen.
8. And you’re done!
Once you’re set up, you may want to test the feature to make sure it’s sending you notifications properly. If not, follow the directions once more to make sure you didn’t miss any steps.