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8 home security camera settings you should be using

By Jill Schildhouse,

2023-03-14
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8 home security camera settings you should be using Reviewed / Getty Images / mihailomilovanovic / Wyze

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While home security systems certainly have an element of “set it and forget it” because they are now easier than ever to install, there’s a bit more to know than simply plugging it in and aiming it at the area you’d like to protect.

In fact, you may have chosen your particular brand and model because it offers one of these 10 features to look for when buying your next security camera , and those bells and whistles were important to you.

Now it’s time to use and customize them! To get the most out of your home security system, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with all the settings offered. After all, these settings are here for a reason, and it’s up to you to optimize their usefulness.

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1. Privacy zones

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You can choose the area you want your camera to cover. Reviewed / Ring

Today’s home security cameras have such wide fields of vision that you may wind up inadvertently capturing footage of your neighbor’s house or yard. Unless you choose to be the unelected president of your neighborhood’s watch program, you can probably scale back on monitoring areas beyond your property line.

It’s easy to adjust your home security camera settings accordingly with the app that matches your product. Many video doorbells, like the Ring Video Doorbell Wired , offer this feature. Once in device settings, tap privacy settings, then edit privacy zones. Use your finger to drag a rectangle around the zones you want to protect. No more accidental spying!

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2. Package detection

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Keep your packages safe and capture any thieves with this special camera set. Reviewed / Eufy

You may hear stories of porch pirates , or package thieves, more often around the holidays when deliveries increase, but they’re definitely a year-round problem. Protect your packages with Eufy’s dual-camera video doorbell , which offers a front camera to capture an approaching person’s face and body plus a bottom camera aimed toward the ground at your packages.

This model also comes with Eufy Delivery Guard, a feature that tells you when a package gets delivered and sends reminders to grab your packages before someone else does. Package detection is also available on Ring and Nest doorbells .

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3. Multi-factor authentication

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Stay safe from those pesky hackers. Reviewed / Blink

While the extra step of setting up multi-factor authentication may seem like a chore, you’ll be grateful for this privacy feature once you understand that it helps prevent your account from being hacked. Ring, Google Nest and Arlo all offer this feature, as does Amazon Blink’s $50 video doorbell . In the event of a digital intruder, it’ll be a big relief to receive a notification of an unwanted login attempt, and know that your home security camera settings are doing their job.

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4. Privacy shutter

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No more embarrassing moments to be caught on camera. Reviewed / Arlo

Not everything you do needs to be on camera. A privacy shutter gives a little peace of mind in the form of a digital or physical obstruction over the camera lens to block the camera’s ability to see and record events of your choosing.

The Arlo Essential Indoor Camera features an integrated cover you can control via the Arlo app—when enabled, it will cease motion and audio recording. This setting can be used in tandem with the app’s recording schedules, as well.

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5. Motion sensitivity

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An ideal setting if you live in a busy neighborhood. Reviewed / Wyze

Receiving too many unnecessary notifications about activity on your property? Reduce the noise by adjusting the motion sensitivity, as with the Wyze Video Doorbell Pro . There are low and high options so you can be as “on alert” as you’d like.

With the solar-powered Eufy SoloCam S40 , you can customize these settings in the “motion detection” tab and even choose whether you want it to detect only humans or all motion. With Ring products, you can also set up 3D motion detection, which uses radar technology to identify the distance of an object.

Then, as soon as someone enters the designated range, it will begin recording—this is a great choice for more accurate detection and motion alerts, reducing excessive notifications.

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6. Continuous recording

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Capture everything with nonstop recording. Reviewed / Jesse Flores / Google

Not all cameras offer continuous recording, but if your model does, this is one of the home security camera settings you should enable. Continuous recording is exactly what it sounds like: seamless recording 24/7 without the need for an event to trigger it (as opposed to motion detection recording, which relies on a specific trigger).

Bottom line? You won’t miss a thing. The Nest Outdoor Cam features continuous recording when plugged into an outlet, as long as you’ve upgraded to a paid subscription of Nest Aware.

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7. Night vision

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Don't miss anything that happens in the dark. Reviewed / Ring

What good is a camera that stops working after the sun goes down? Thankfully, night vision features have come a long way, capturing clear images in low-light situations. The Ring Video Doorbell Elite offers color night vision, illuminating the darkness with clear and vibrant colors to help you make out more details than ever before.

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8. Smart device connection and responses

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Keep your entire home connected. Reviewed / Ring

Many home security cameras are built to connect to the other smart devices in your home, which can come in really handy. Can’t find your phone, but someone is ringing your doorbell? Depending on your model, and with the right home security camera settings in place, you can pull up the live stream on your Amazon Echo Show , Fire Tablet, Fire TV Stick , or Google Nest smart display to see who it is.

If you have a Ring Video Doorbell Pro and are a Ring Protect subscriber, you can even have Alexa greet your visitors as soon as they ring your doorbell (simply set up Alexa Greetings in the app). Alexa Greetings can help with things like package deliveries (instructing the visitor where you leave your package) and taking a message.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 8 home security camera settings you should be using

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