How to use Alexa’s Drop In feature

Echo show showing person on screen against an illustrated background.
Illustration by Samar Haddad / The Verge

Amazon’s Drop In feature has become a useful tool for contacting people in your household, finding out what your kids are up to (especially when they’re being too quiet), and checking in on elderly relatives. It allows you to literally “drop in” using an Alexa-capable device, either just via audio or with audio and video. But since you don’t want anyone dropping in on you unwanted, it’s a good idea to understand how to set it up and how to use it.

Set up your device for Drop In

In order to allow somebody to drop in on any Alexa-capable device, first you have to enable the Drop In feature on that specific unit.

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone and select the Device icon on the bottom of the screen.
  • You’ll see a list of your devices. Select the one for which you want to enable or disable Drop In.
  • Tap the gear icon at the top right of the pop-up window, then scroll down to and select Communications.
  • Tap on Drop In. Now you can turn it on for permitted contacts (which means whoever is in your contact list and who has permission to use Drop In), people in your household only, or nobody.

Give someone permission to Drop In

If you want somebody outside your household to have the ability to drop in to your device, then you have to mark that contact as a permitted contact.

  • In the Alexa app, go to More > Communicate and tap on the icon resembling two people at the top right.
  • You’re now on your Contacts screen. If you want to allow an existing contact to drop in, just tap on the person’s name. You can also create a new contact by either selecting the Add New button and then Add Contact, or by tapping the three dots in the upper right corner and then Add Contact. (You can also, if you wish, import all your contacts associated with your device — just tap on Import at the bottom of the screen.)
  • Whichever you choose — a new contact or an existing one — scroll down in the individual’s contact page. Under Permissions, you’ll see Allow Drop In, which you can toggle on or off.

Using Drop In

Now that you’re all set up, it’s easy. Just use the command “Alexa, drop in…” with the name of the device you want to call.

To see what’s going on in another room that has an Echo Show named “Kid’s Den,” for example, just say something like “Alexa, drop in on Kid’s Den.” The device in that room will chime and its light, if any, will turn green. You’ll then be able to see and hear what’s going on in the other room through your own device — and if they’ve got a device with a camera, they’ll be able to see and hear what’s going on in yours. (Of course, if either party is using an audio-only device, that will limit the communication to, well, audio.)

To stop the connection, say, “Alexa, hang up.”