Smart Doorbells like Ring are a cool addition to any smart home. They let you control and monitor your home remotely while adding an extra layer of security that will deter most burglars.
Since the camera is on your door and has access to your home network, it is only logical to save some of the footage to a local drive. After all, what good is a security camera if it can’t record evidence footage?
While this is possible with other doorbells, Ring’s shift to a subscription model limits the options to people without an active subscription.
How Does the Ring Doorbell Record Video?
Currently, Ring Doorbells record all significant events to your Ring account. These include when the doorbell detects movement or someone presses the button.
The subscription-based recording is the easiest and most handy. This will be a good idea if you aren’t tech savvy or don’t fancy tinkering.
Saving, viewing, or sharing recordings from the Ring Doorbell triggered by motion detection needs a monthly subscription.
However, since the subscription fees can add up, finding a workaround is always welcome. Here are some handy ways to record footage from your Ring doorbell without paying for the subscription.
Warning: Ring frowns upon any recording without a subscription. All these workarounds are essentially cons that could see your Ring account suspended. They’re also patched with each software release keeping you trying fixes very often.
Lastly, any automated workaround that wants you to disable a firewall and use third-party scripts or APIs could leave your network or security system vulnerable to attacks.
Use the 30-Day Free Trial.
The easiest and legal workaround is signing up for the 30-day free trial. You can activate the trial on the Ring app thanks to a convenient pop-up that displays on an account that hasn’t exploited the trial for the first time.
Thirty days is long enough to figure out if you really need the extra smart features on your Ring or not.
Since you can only have one trial per account, don’t expect to use this trick to get free recordings with a Ring subscription indefinitely.
Screen Record From Your Smartphone
If your smartphone has screen recording, you can always initiate one every time your Ring Video Doorbell sends an alert.
Though manual, this is a simple way to capture footage of what is going on – as long as you see the alert, launch the app, and start recording on time.
You won’t see the alerts if you are offline or at a place with no network coverage.
An alternative would be getting a dedicated recorder phone and finding an app or script that:
- Looks out for the Ring app Alert
- Launches the Ring App
- Starts automatic screen recording
Since Ring releases patches that make such implementations worthless, mentioning a couple of tools won’t do you any good. The Ring company does all it can to protect its revenue stream, and such a workaround will be problematic.
Record on Your Desktop or Laptop
If you have a computer lying around your house, you can shift the recording activity from your phone to your computer.
- Get the Ring desktop app or the web platform to show a live feed from the camera
- Find a screen video recording tool like Ezvid, ShareX, and TinyTake to record your screen with the live video feed playing
Since you will be recording much footage, you might need a NAS or a couple of beefy hard drives to store the footage. Configuring the storage such that it starts rewriting over the oldest footage is a great way to give you perpetual capture.
- The recording resolution will be limited to the size of the live feed playback
- You will have one long chunk of video instead of the few moments when something happens
- Searching through the footage will be tough
Once again, since this goes against Ring’s terms and conditions, you can get your Ring account suspended, and further action is taken if they realize you are doing this.
An alternative to mere screen recording is setting up a ‘man in the middle’ attack on your Ring doorbell.
This approach lets you configure your router and another PC to capture traffic from the camera to the router, decode it and convert it to video footage.
Ring knows people attempt such attacks and constantly release security patches to render such exploits useless.
Since writing the code for such an interception is hard work, people resort to using open-source scripts.
I won’t mention any scripts or APIs since I have reservations about running third-party software on my network that’s designed to hack into one of the IoT devices in my home. What stops that developer from intercepting more than I want and transmitting it to a remote server?
Buy a Different Doorbell With an Open IP Camera
If you are tired of the subscriptions and extra features Ring gives you once you pay, reinvesting the subscription money into a different cameral that natively lets you record locally is a more reasonable and safe alternative.
Some even come with internal memory and SD card slots letting you capture constant footage or footage when triggered without using a phone or computer. All you have to do is to connect to the doorbell via the network or pop the SD card into another device to check out the footage.
Yes, there are upfront costs. But you will save substantially if you run the new doorbell for two years or so.
Some of the plausible alternatives to consider include:
- Eufy video doorbell 1080p
- Remo+ video doorbell
- UOKIER Doorbell
- Geree doorbell
- Nooie cam video doorbell
- Lorex 2K video doorbell
Finding workarounds to record footage from your Ring doorbell without a subscription is futility. Once a company locks down an ecosystem, any workarounds will be sketchy. They will either be labor intensive or fail with every software update the company releases.
Check this too: Use the Eufy Doorbell Dual to Ward off Pesky Parcel Thieves
Case in point the slowly dying Jailbreaking world of the iPhone.
My wisdom? If you can’t pay for the subscription, use the existing doorbell as a live video feed device as you save money for a different smart doorbell that lets you record footage without jumping through any hoops that contravene the terms and conditions.