It can be somewhat tricky to get access to an existing Ring doorbell if you've just moved into a house or apartment.
If the Ring Doorbell belongs to your landlord, then you'll have to ask them to add you to their account, using the “Shared Users” feature.
If you now own this Ring Doorbell, then you’ll either have to factory reset the device or contact the previous owner to get them to remove the device from their Ring account.
In this article, I’ll show you how to connect to a Ring doorbell that is already installed.
How to Connect to a Previously Installed Ring Doorbell that is Owned by Someone Else
If you've just moved into a house or apartment and there is a Ring doorbell in place, then you'll need to ask your landlord or the previous occupant to add you to the account. They do this via the “Shared Users” feature of the Ring app.
They'll need to open the Ring App, Tap the three lines at the top, and choose “Devices.” Then tap the Ring doorbell from the list. Scroll down and tap “Shared Access,” then “Add User.” Finally, they put in your email address, pick the doorbell, and tap “Send Invite.”
Once you get the email invite, click “Manage Access”, log in to your Ring account (or create one), then accept the invite.
With this access, you'll be able to get alerts and answer the doorbell, but you won't be able to change settings or delete videos.
How to Connect to a Previously Installed Ring Doorbell That You Now Own
Sometimes, you may come across a previously used Ring doorbell… be it a gift you've received, a device you bought secondhand, or one already installed by the previous homeowner.
In this scenario, there are three ways you can gain access to this video doorbell on your Ring app.
- Reach out to the previous owner and have them revoke or hand over the ownership of that particular doorbell to you.
- Reset the Ring doorbell manually and start anew.
- Reach out to Ring for assistance.
Things to Check If a Ring Doorbell Is Pre-Installed
Right off the bat, you need to check whether the Ring doorbell is powered up and working. You can check this by pressing its primary “Ring” doorbell button.
This button should light up when you press it, even if there’s no Wi-Fi connection.
However, if the doorbell is not powered on, you will have to remove the device and recharge it.
If it’s a hardwired-only Ring doorbell, you’ll need to see if it's correctly wired to the doorbell transformer terminals or if the circuit breaker has tripped.
Setting Up The Ring Doorbell via the Ring App
After making sure the doorbell is switched on and receiving power, you can try to add the device to the Ring app.
If you cannot gain access to the doorbell via the app, that means the device is still linked to its previous owner.
If the LED indicators on the video doorbell are spinning white, flashing blue, or transitioning in an upward direction, you can tell the doorbell is in pairing mode or looking to connect to a Wi-Fi network.
1. Tips for Reaching Previous Device Owners
The easiest way to obtain ownership of an existing Ring doorbell is to contact the previous owner and notify them to remove the device from their account, including payment information and shared users.
However, this might not be very straightforward if you cannot get in touch with the previous owner.
So if you can’t reach the previous owner, you can try resetting the Ring doorbell manually to gain access to the device or contact Ring for assistance.
When you contact Ring about this, they will immediately contact the owner via e-mail.
However, in case the previous owner doesn't respond soon (usually within 14 days or so), Ring will ask you to verify your ownership and immediately grant you access to the Doorbell.
After Gaining Access to the Video Doorbell
If you've managed to get access to the device in the app, you will be able to find the previous owner's contact information.
You will then have to cancel the previous owner's payment plan and put in your information instead.
You’ll also have the option to delete this device from the previous owner's account and remove any existing shared users.
That being said, if you still cannot reach the previous owner or gain access to the device after resetting it, you will have to contact Ring for assistance.
2. Resetting the Ring Doorbell
As I mentioned previously, if the previous owner doesn't respond, you can try to factory reset the video doorbell manually and see whether it can grant you access.
Depending on the model, there are different ways to factory reset a Ring video doorbell. For exact model-specific instructions, you can check out this detailed guide, or read through the comprehensive step-by-step I've outlined below.
- First, inspect the bottom flat surface of the doorbell for any security screws. If you find screws at the bottom, move on to step 3.
- If there are none, remove the faceplate by pulling it up and releasing it from its tabs. After that, move on to step 6.
- Inspect the screw and check if it's star-shaped. If so, you will need a Torx head screwdriver, specifically a T-15 Torx Bit. If you've got the original screwdriver provided by Ring, that will also be able to remove this screw(s).
- Unscrew the screw(s) at the bottom of the doorbell.
- Pull the faceplate/cover away from the doorbell.
- You will be able to see a small orange-colored button, on the sides or at the front. Press and keep holding this button for at least 15 seconds, or until the light starts flashing.
- Wait until the lights stop flashing and the doorbell gives out an audio cue saying: Now in Setup mode.
- After this audio cue – and depending on your model – the lights will stop blinking and follow a spinning ring pattern. This indicates that the Ring doorbell has successfully performed a factory reset.
Setting Up the Ring Doorbell
If you've followed the previous guide and performed a successful factory reset on the Ring doorbell, you can now start setting up your account and linking this doorbell.
With the help of this guide, I’ll show you how to set up your Ring doorbell.
- If you haven’t already, download the Ring smartphone app and sign up/log in to your account.
- Open the app and tap on the Menu icon. It’s usually the button that looks like three lines stacked on top of each other.
- A side menu will pop up. Here, tap on “Set up a new device.”
- After that, select Doorbells.
- The app will ask you to scan the barcode/QR code on the doorbell. This code is usually on the sides or back of the doorbell. However, make sure you remove the faceplate first.
- After that, you will be asked where to set up this doorbell. Set up your address, and tap on Continue.
- Then, you will be provided some instructions regarding the physical installation, setting up a name, and asking you to confirm if the doorbell is running on Setup mode. Follow those instructions and press Continue.
- After that, you will need to confirm the device. A name will show up that corresponds to the MAC address on the QR code, check this and confirm.
- Finally, it will ask for your Wi-Fi details and some optional features. After that, you're all set.
Security Tips for New Account Owners
After setting up this Ring doorbell, it's time to configure a few optional features.
- Previous User Information: First, make sure that there are no traces of the previous owner linked to this device. This information includes account access, the previous owner's payment information, and shared users. Make sure to delete these before you add in your data.
- Shared Users: You can then allow other users access to this doorbell as guests or shared users. Depending on the level of access, they might only be able to check the live feed and event history but not change any settings.
- Snapshot Capture: When setting up your Ring doorbell for the first time, you will be asked to set up a feature called Snapshot Capture. This is a handy feature where the Ring doorbell takes a photo at regular intervals during the day. However, do note that it tends to consume battery a lot faster.
- Ring Protect Plan: Unfortunately, Ring has locked away its most important features behind a paywall. So if you don’t want to miss out on crucial features such as video storage on the cloud, advanced motion detection, extended warranties, and professional monitoring, it’s best to subscribe to a Ring Protect Plan.
- Chime: The Ring chime is a nifty gadget that will act as an actual doorbell chime, Wi-Fi range extender, and night light. It’s a great option if your Ring doorbell has a weak Wi-Fi signal.
How to Remove a Ring Device and Leave it to a New Owner
When it's time to hand over your Ring Doorbell to a new owner, or simply leave it be if you’re moving house, it’s best to revoke your ownership and keep it easy for the next person who will use this device.
Thankfully, revoking ownership is a simple process you can carry out in the Ring app.
To do so:
- Open the Ring app on your device.
- Access your device dashboard by tapping the three lines (≡) icon found in the top left corner.
- Then, hit the “Devices” button.
- From there, select the Ring device you want to let go of.
- From the device’s dashboard, proceed to “Device Settings”.
- Move to “General Settings”.
- Finally, tap on “Remove this device”.
- Provide any confirmation messages and your Ring device will be ready to accept a new owner.
It's important to repeat this process for every Ring device you want to disassociate from your account. This applies even to devices left behind when you sell your home; ensuring they're ready for the next owner.
3. Reach out to Ring for assistance
If you're still struggling then I recommend you reach out to Ring directly who may be able to help. Contact details are on their website here.
Gaining access to an existing Ring doorbell can be tricky for first-timers, especially if they don't have the proper tools (such as the Ring screwdriver) or can’t reach the old tenants and get them to revoke their ownership of the device.
With the knowledge from this guide and the proper tools, you can reset it and make it your own.
Other than that, you can also get help from Ring and get them to grant you access after you verify that you’re the new owner of the house.
So try resetting or getting help from Ring. Also, if you’re selling it off or moving house, make sure to revoke your access so you can make it easier for the next owner.