Understanding and Optimizing Motion Detection with Smart Alerts

Question: What are Smart Alerts and what are the best ways to use them to optimize my Ring devices such as Ring Video Doorbell, Ring Video Doorbell 2, Stick Up Cam or Spotlight Cam Battery?

Answer: Smart Alerts are user-accessible controls that allow you tweak your motion detection protocols to provide a balance between consistent alerts and preserving battery life. This article will detail exactly what Smart Alerts are and how you can best utilize them to optimize your Ring device's motion detection capabilities. 

Motion Detection and the Problem with Traffic Patterns

Your Ring device comes with a very powerful suite of motion detection sensors that are constantly scanning the areas they've been set to monitor. Should they detect motion, they're designed to inform you by sending a motion alert to the Ring App on your mobile device. 

Problems arise, though, when the area being monitored is subject to repetitive motion within a relatively short span of time. For example, kids playing in your front yard may trigger your motion alerts over and over again as they continually criss-cross the area being monitored by your Ring device. In addition to creating an unwanted series of false alerts, too many false alerts can run down the battery in battery-operated Ring devices.

It's exactly this sort of situation that the Smart Alert algorithm was designed to alleviate. 

The Smart Alert Algorithm

Without getting into too many technical details, Ring's Smart Alert algorithm is an internal program that runs inside of your Ring device. It analyzes the traffic patterns of detected motions, looking for repetitive patterns. When it detects such a pattern, it essentially "sleeps" your device for a certain period of time, cutting down the number of motion alerts you'll get from the same set of stimuli. The more time a repetitive pattern of motion continues, the longer the time between issuing motion alerts. 

Smart Alert Controls

The Smart Alert controls (found under the Motion Settings in your Ring device) are used to tweak the Smart Alert Algorithm based on the individual circumstances of your monitored area. Smart Alert controls have three settings that can be changed at will and are useful under a variety of conditions. 

  • Light: Setting the Smart Alert algorithm to "Light" will maximize the system's sensitivity to repetitive motion and the amount of time the system will "sleep" after detecting such motions. The result of this is that the system will more readily identify a motion source as something that shouldn't be reported and extend the amount of time between reports. This will substantially cut down on the number of motion alerts you'll receive and can help preserve battery life. The light setting is best used in heavily trafficked areas (such as yards where kids play) where the possibility of unwanted motion alerts is high. 


  • Normal: This is the default setting for the system and will cut down the sensitivity to repetitive motion and shorten the system's "sleep timer." This setting is ideal for areas where you don't expect much in the way of human traffic, but may be dealing with repetitive alerts due to animals. 


  • Frequent: This setting minimizes the system's sensitivity to repetitive motion and by default will tend to react to each motion it detects as a discrete event. If it does detect repetitive motion, it also eliminates the system's sleep time before the next round of scanning. This setting is useful for areas that get minimal traffic such as back and side yards or for areas that require heightened security. While it will drain the batteries faster than other settings, it also provides the most coverage for an area. This setting is also useful when adjusting your motion settings.


Note: When changing your Smart Alert settings, it's important to run a test event on your Ring device in order for the settings to be changed in the device itself and not just the Ring app. 

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