It's quite common to run into problems with a Ring doorbell not detecting motion. On one extreme you can end up with lots of false positive alerts and on the other, you have completely missed events.
Some of the common reasons a Ring doorbell is not picking up motion include a poor mounting position, incorrect motion settings in the app, or problems with the app version.
In this article, I walk through 16 troubleshooting steps to help you get your doorbell to respond to motion again.
How Ring Doorbell Motion Detection Works
Before we start, it’s important to understand how Ring video doorbells register motion.
Ring video doorbells use two different technologies to detect motion depending on the time of day.
Passive Infrared Sensors
Primarily, Ring video doorbells use passive infrared sensors (PIR) to detect motion.
These are essentially heat sensors that monitor the heat changes within the doorbell’s capture zone.
However, during the day it can start to produce false positives because of sunlight, windows, cars, and even the wind.
Advanced Motion Detection
To minimize this, it combines with another feature called “Advanced Motion Detection.”
This feature includes object detection algorithms to scan the shapes (or pixels) of the video feed and recognize humans and other objects (such as packages and vehicles).
With advanced motion detection turned on, the video doorbell has a lower chance of registering false alarms, minimizing unnecessary alerts sent your way.
Also, in the case of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, it adds radar technology to determine the exact distance motion activity is going on in front of your camera.
Troubleshooting Steps for Ring Doorbell Not Detecting Motion
A Ring video doorbell can detect motion between 5 to 30 feet of the camera. Additionally, there are various motion settings you can customize such as the eligible motion zones, sensitivity, motion detecting frequency, and how motion alerts are sent to your phone.
If any of these settings are not properly configured, your Ring doorbell won't detect motion correctly or send you a proper notification.
So in the guide below, I'll show you step-by-step instructions on how to check for these settings and troubleshoot motion detection on your Ring video doorbell.
Step 1: Double-check if Motion Alerts are Enabled in the Ring App
According to Ring, the main cause of a Ring doorbell failing to detect motion is often because a user has disabled Motion Alerts in the Ring app.
Surprisingly, this applies to 90% of all cases and is especially common with new users.
So to enable this setting simply open the Ring app and select your camera, you'll then need to enable “Motion Alerts” and “Ring Alerts” on the camera's home screen. (Make sure both options are switched to the blue “on”).
Step 2: Test Your Camera to See if it Can Detect Motion
If motion notifications are enabled in the Ring app and the doorbell isn’t detecting motion, you may want to test whether the camera detects any movement.
Ideally, when there is movement inside any of your camera’s motion detection zones, the camera should send push notifications to your phone, allowing you to see who is at the door.
You can test your Ring doorbell’s motion detection capabilities by simply walking in front of its field of view and keeping your smartphone on hand.
This helps you trigger motion while also checking whether the Ring video doorbell detects motion instantly and sends you an accurate and instant alert.
If your camera doesn't detect your presence, even when you're moving within the assigned motion zones, the motion detection settings on your Ring doorbell will need to be readjusted.
Step 3: If the Camera is Behind Glass or Reflective Surfaces Reposition It
The Ring doorbell works by using Passive Infrared (PIR) to detect the amount of heat emitted by the object causing motion or light changes.
You can customize the sensitivity of the camera by filtering the amount of heat it detects. However, the PIR sensors won't work properly if there are any obstacles in front of your camera.
So make sure the camera is installed without any obstructions. It should have a clear line of sight to your front yard without glass panes, hardware cloth, grilles, or other objects getting close up in its camera lens.
Also, to get proper motion detection, it’s best to reposition the camera away from direct sunlight or front-facing windows, glass doors, or other shiny surfaces (say, a car that’s parked right in front).
This tends to reflect too much heat into the camera, throwing off its accuracy in detecting motion through heat changes.
Step 4: Set Motion Frequency to “Frequent” and Retest
Ring doorbells can have a considerable amount of delay when you adjust the motion detection frequency to “Regularly” or “Periodically,” going so far as a 30-minute delay where it just shuts down the motion sensors and doesn’t react to the environment.
Although decreasing the frequency does have its uses, you can try setting the motion detection frequency to “Frequent” so it’s always scanning for motion without any set delays.
To do this:
- Open the Ring app on your Android or iOS device and tap select our video doorbell.
- Then, from the device's dashboard, select “Motion Settings” and then head over to “Advanced Settings.”
- There are three options. From here, select “Frequent.”
- Then, confirm your changes and save the new settings.
- Finally, retest your camera again (similar to step 2) and see if it’ll give you any motion alerts.
Step 5: Disable People Only Mode in the Ring App's Smart Alerts Section
The “People Only Mode” in the Ring app is a setting designed to prevent your doorbell from bombarding you with motion notifications from non-human triggers—like swaying trees or a passing car.
Although incredibly useful, it’s not perfect by any means. Sometimes it might halt almost all motion alerts, even when there's actual movement.
Depending on your doorbell model and software version, you can find the toggle for “People Only Mode” in the “Motion Settings” or “Smart Alerts” submenus.
So try disabling it and checking the camera's motion detection capabilities again. If it detects your motion and sends you an alert to your smartphone, you can be sure that this feature is unnecessary and needs to stay off.
This feature is available to Ring Protect subscribers only.
Step 6: Review Your Motion Sensitivity Settings
When you set the motion sensitivity of your Ring doorbell too low, it can't pick up on distant or subtle movements.
So, even if it's angled in the proper direction, package deliveries or vehicles might not trigger an alert.
- To re-adjust your motion sensitivity settings, head over to the Ring app, select your doorbell, and go to “Motion Settings.”
- From here, you can find the option to customize the “Motion Sensitivity.” Once you've stepped into this menu, you'll find a motion sensitivity slider.
- Try shifting the slider more towards the right, saving your changes, and trying to trigger the motion detection of your Ring doorbell.
Step 7: Double Check Your Motion Zones and Retest
It doesn't matter if you've tweaked your Ring doorbell’s motion zones before, it won't hurt to redefine them now.
You can adjust the motion zones in the Ring app. Here’s how:
- First, open the Ring app and select your Ring doorbell (using the hamburger menu on the top left)
- After that, you’ll be greeted by the device dashboard. Tap on “Motion Settings”
- Depending on the model and software version, you’ll have an option to “Edit Zones” at the top of the list or an option called “Camera Motion Zones” after scrolling down. Tap into this option.
- A screenshot of your doorbell camera feed will pop up, highlighted with the zones you’ve already set up. Here, you can start to adjust zones or add new ones.
- To adjust an existing zone, simply tap on it and drag the circle points on its edges to adjust accordingly. You can then tap on “Save” to confirm your changes.
- You can also add a new motion zone by tapping on “Add Zone.”
If you have a battery-powered video doorbell, Ring recommends you enable Advanced Motion Settings through the “Advanced Settings” menu in the camera’s dashboard.
Extra Tips on Setting up Accurate Motion Detection Zones
When setting up motion zones, make sure to keep the following in mind:
- Prioritize driveways and pathways that lead directly to your home and your property line.
- Don’t set your motion zones on the main road or sidewalks as it might trigger incessantly because of passersby.
- Try to cover your front porch, lawn, or immediate area in front of your video doorbell as much as possible, without getting into your neighbor's territory or the sidewalk.
- Try to minimize objects or angle the video doorbell so it’s got a clear view. You can cut back tree branches, move away unnecessary decorations, etc.
- Best to exclude areas such as walls, hedges, and open sky to minimize false positives.
For Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 Users: Reconfigure the 3D Motion Detection/Bird's Eye Zones
With the 3D motion detection feature, it's possible to pinpoint the exact distance where motion is detected from the video doorbell.
However, if the motion zones for bird's eye view are configured improperly or set to a distance that's too close, it might prevent the video doorbell from detecting motion accurately.
Set up Bird’s Eye Zones
Here’s how you can set up Bird’s Eye Zones via the Ring app
- Open the Ring app and click on the menu icon at the top left corner. It's the hamburger menu with three horizontal lines.
- Tap on ‘Devices.'
- Pick your doorbell from the list.
- Go into ‘Motion Settings.'
- Choose ‘Set up Zones' on the map or the Bird's Eye Zones option below it.
- Follow prompts for ‘Set up Feature’.
- Specify the exact location of your doorbell camera installation.
- Position your doorbell icon accurately by dragging it into place.
- Use the split screen to align the camera view with the device's direction by sliding left or right.
- Customize your zones by hitting ‘Set up Zones'.
- Tap on ‘Add Zone.'
- Resize and move it as needed, then name it before hitting ‘Done'.
- Repeat the zone setup process for other zones. (You can set up to three.)
- Save your zones by hitting ‘Continue'.
- Make sure to test the zones by moving around the edge of your motion-detection area. Adjust the range as needed.
However, please note that the weather, obstacles, Wi-Fi connection, and reflections can affect radar functionality.
Edit or Delete Existing Zones
Modifying already set zones follows a similar path.
- Open the Ring app
- Select your device
- Head to “Motion Settings”
- Tap on Edit Zones
- Then adjust your bird’s eye zones by dragging the circles around its edges.
- Tap on “Done” and then “Save” to confirm changes.
If you want to troubleshoot motion detection settings even further, you can also disable the Bird’s Eye Zones and retest motion.
To disable Bird’s Eye Zones:
- Open the Ring app and select your doorbell
- From the device dashboard head to Motion Settings > Bird’s Eye Zones
- Then, toggle the button on the left to disable them.
However, do keep in mind that radar detection stays on, even when Bird's Eye Zones are off.
So, motion notifications still come in from up to 30 feet away, based on the motion zones set up according to the camera’s FOV.
Step 8: Check the Camera Mount and Angle
Sometimes, if you have several steps leading to your main door, the Ring doorbell may not pick up activity happening right outside your door.
So you’ll need to adjust the mounting angle appropriately.
The idea is to tilt the camera a little downwards. Depending on your model, you can do this by setting up additional wedge/corner kits to the mounting surface of your Ring doorbell.
These kits help you tilt the camera downwards or rotate it to the left or right in 15,30, and 45-degree increments.
Step 9: Confirm Whether Motion Schedules are Disabled
The Ring app has a great feature that allows you to disable motion alerts on a specific day and time. This feature comes in very handy, especially when you’ll be doing something right outside your door or during high-traffic hours.
However, it might be turned on indefinitely, so check the motion settings on your Ring app to confirm there is no Motion Schedule enabled. If one is enabled, disable the schedule and retest your camera.
Step 10: Verify the Wi-Fi Connection to Your Ring Doorbell
The Ring doorbell works by connecting to your home Wi-Fi network, which allows it to communicate remotely with your smart device.
If there is no Wi-Fi or the signal strength is poor, the doorbell won’t work or it might cause delays.
Fortunately, the Ring app includes a way to check your Wi-Fi signal’s strength.
This feature is called the Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI).
To locate the RSSI:
- Fire up the Ring app
- Tap the hamburger menu, hit Devices, and select your Ring doorbell.
- From the device dashboard, tap the “Device Health” tile and look under the Network section for Signal Strength.
Strong signals show green RSSI values; weaker ones are gray, amber, or red.
RSSI will indicate a strong signal when it’s closer to 0; hence an RSSI of -40 is better than -100.
If you're running into a poor signal, you can:
- Consider setting up a mesh network
- Adding separate Wi-Fi extenders or a Ring Chime
- Clearing any obstructions that might block the Wi-Fi signal
- Reposition your Wi-Fi Router
- Remove unnecessary devices from the Wi-Fi network
- Switch between 2.4GHz and 5GHz (depending on your Ring Video Doorbell model)
Step 11: Verify Notification Settings in The Ring App
Double-check that the notification settings in your Ring app are on. Both the Motion Alerts and Ring Alerts, located in the device dashboard, should be switched to the blue “On” setting.
Also, make sure your Android or iOS smart device has granted permission for the Ring app to display notifications. You can check for this in the notification section of your smart device’s “Settings” app.
Ring.com Push Notifications Via Browser
If you prefer to receive alerts on your PC or Mac, you can also customize alerts to your computer via Ring.com.
However, you need to be logged into the Ring website and be a subscriber of a Ring Protect Plan.
To learn more about setting up notifications to your PC via Ring’s website, check out this article.
Step 12: Verify “Do Not Disturb” is Disabled On Your Smartphone
Besides that, check that the “Do Not Disturb” setting on your phone is off. This feature is represented by the moon icon.
Switching it on tells your phone that you do not want to receive any alarms or notifications.
If the feature is on, turn it off. You can do so by pulling up the shortcut menu of your phone and tapping on the moon button.
After disabling DnD, retest your camera to see if you can receive motion alerts.
Step 13: Check Application Settings and Restart Your Smartphone
If you're still not receiving notifications, check the app settings on your phone.
To do so, open the phone settings and tap on “Applications” (or “Application Manager”).
Choose the Ring app and make sure that the app is enabled and the option to display notifications is turned on.
If it was on, and you were not receiving alerts, disable it and switch it on again.
Additionally, you can try clearing the application’s cache and restarting your phone.
Step 14: Update the Firmware
It may not seem like much, but updating the firmware on your Ring doorbell can resolve any software glitches and fix any bugs in the system.
Typically, Ring updates the firmware on your devices automatically. However, you can check if it's pending for updates using the steps below:
- Open the Ring app and head over to your device’s dashboard
- Tap on the Device Health tile
- Scroll down to find “Device Details”
- Here, check the label called “Firmware”
If there are no pending updates, the label will read “Up to Date.” Otherwise, it will indicate a number and update automatically whenever the Ring doorbell runs into an event (detecting motion, sounding the doorbell ring, or accessing the live view).
During updating, the doorbell indicator lights will start flashing in white.
Step 15: Restart the Doorbell
Restarting or rebooting your Ring Video doorbell can help resolve most software glitches and get the motion detection features back up and running.
There are several ways to reboot the device, you can either:
- Reboot the device from the Ring app
- Take out the batteries and reinsert them
- Disconnect the circuit breaker to your doorbell and reset it.
To reboot your Video doorbell via the app:
- Open the Ring app and head over to your doorbell’s dashboard
- Tap on the “Device Health” tile
- Scroll down to “Reboot” and confirm
- Wait a few minutes until the Ring doorbell restarts.
You can tell the device is restarting if the indicator lights on the doorbell are flashing Blue.
Step 16: Factory Reset Your Ring doorbell
Finally, you may need to reset your Ring app and Ring doorbell.
To reset the app, you can delete the app from your smartphone and reinstall it again from your Google Play Store or App Store, depending on your device.
Then, you can perform a hard reset on your Ring doorbell. Depending on the model, there are several ways to carry this out, so check out this article for model-specific instructions.
After you perform the reset – where the indicator lights flash in short bursts of blue, followed by a spinning white light – make sure to wait for about one minute for the process to finalize.
Then, log in to the Ring app on your device and set it up.
Get Help from the Pros
After you've exhausted all the above options, and your Ring camera still doesn't do a good job of detecting motion, it's best to call in Ring tech support.
They should be able to figure out what's wrong and determine if the Ring camera is physically defective.
A Ring doorbell might not detect motion events due to incorrect settings or improper placement. On top of that, you may have accidentally disabled notifications on your smartphone or enabled DnD (Do-Not-Disturb).
So don’t forget to go through the list of steps I’ve included in this guide. It will help you troubleshoot the issue and get the motion detection feature on your Ring doorbell back up and running.