Ring Doorbell 2 Motion Detection Not Working? (We Have a Fix!)

Hannah DeMoss
by Hannah DeMoss

The Ring Doorbell 2 uses motion detection sensors and a camera to help homeowners optimize home safety. When the motion detection stops working, homeowners no longer receive push alerts when someone approaches the door, and the camera does not kick on to take video footage.

Ring Video Doorbell 2 motion detection can stop working for many reasons. The sensor may be mounted too high to detect motion, the unit may need a firmware update, it may have lost internet connection, or it may need a hard reset. Ring does not sell replacement sensors to repair broken units.

It is usually the case that there has been a firmware malfunction or a change in the front door setup that caused the motion detection sensors to stop working. There are several things that Ring Video Doorbell owners can try to fix the motion detection malfunction on their own before calling Ring tech support.

Check for Changes Around the Door

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Occasionally homeowners rearrange items around the front door and do not realize that these changes affect the sensors. Things such as new stairs, or a rearrangement of stairs, hand railings, windows, and decor can all cause the Ring doorbell sensors to malfunction.

  • The addition of or rearrangement of the steps leading up to the door can cause a sensor malfunction. Reset the sensor fields in the app.
  • Often the sensors will not pick up activity leading up the steps to the door if it has been mounted too high. The sensor field is much narrower than the camera field. For this reason, the doorbell should be mounted 48-inches from the floor. This is ideal for both camera and sensors to work properly.
  • A Ring doorbell that has been remounted after work has been done on the porch may need a wedge behind it to be angled down enough to catch motion on stairs. This can be done by purchasing a wedge accessory or adding washers to the attachment screws until it achieves enough angle to detect motion on the steps. 
  • Doorbells that are mounted in a corner of the wall must be mounted on a corner mount accessory. This may need to be combined with a wedge accessory to get the right angle to capture motion on steps.
  • Items that have been added to the front door area such as holiday decorations and furniture can obscure motions in the area leading up to the door. For best functionality, the area should be kept clean so that the sensors can detect motion.
  • The addition of windows, mirrors and shiny wall decorations can cause reflections and glare that effectively blind the Ring Video Doorbell sensors. View the camera feed through the app and identify items that may be causing shadows, reflections, or glare and move them.
  • A doorbell that faces an exterior wall that is relatively close, in the 10 to 15-feet range, the sensitivity should be reduced in the app. Ring doorbells are made to detect motion up to 30 feet away. A very short range can cause motion detection malfunction if the sensitivity is set to high.

When the front door and porch area seem to be clear and visible to the Ring doorbell, then double-check the sensitivity settings in the app. Attempt to trigger the doorbell by walking up the steps with the sensitivity set to both standard and frequent. When the doorbell is positioned properly it should begin to detect motion.

Also, try setting the zones through the app. Make sure that the zones that are activated on the device will cover the front door area with enough range to detect motion coming from a lower area to a higher area. The zones may have been changed or disrupted since last checked.

Check for Firmware Updates

Firmware is the internal programming that makes electronics work the way they are supposed to. This sometimes needs updating to keep them working well. If the Ring doorbell is not connected to WiFi, then it is not receiving firmware updates.

  • Ring doorbells should receive firmware updates automatically. They will have partial or no functionality while they are updating but will return to full functionality when the firmware update is complete.
  • Owners can look at the Device Health in the app to see if there is a firmware update required or scheduled for the Ring doorbell. This should happen automatically during off-hours.
  • Double-check that the Ring doorbell has a strong WiFi signal. If it is located far away from the router, consider using a signal booster in the vicinity of the doorbell so that it has an uninterrupted signal during updates.

Ring releases firmware updates in batches. The doorbell should ping the server to receive updates, but if this does not happen for some reason such as a power outage or internet disruption, then the doorbell may miss a firmware update. If this is the case, customer service may be able to push an update to the unit’s mac address.

Check for Uninterrupted Power

Sometimes wired Ring doorbells often stop working after a power outage or a severe storm. Owners sometimes do not connect a recent weather or power disruption to the failure of the Ring doorbell.

  • Check that the electrical breaker that it is connected to is in the on position.
  • Remove the Ring doorbell from the wall mount and carefully double-check the wired connections in the unit and to the doorbell wires. Occasionally high winds can break the wire connections and cause a unit failure or intermittent power.
  • Check that it still has a connection to WiFi after a power failure. Sometimes this connection needs to be reset for connectivity.

When it is clear that the angles are correct, the phone and app settings are all set to notify when motion is detected, and the unit is receiving uninterrupted power and a strong WiFi signal, then it is time to try a hard reset on the device.

Do a Hard Reset on the Ring Video Doorbell

Some users find that the quickest way to get the Ring Video Doorbell 2 to work properly is to do a hard reset. This interrupts the power connection and causes the unit to reestablish connections with the server, forcing firmware updates and resetting malfunctioning sensors. It is a quick way to start from square one with the Ring doorbell and get it set up again like new.

  • Unmount the Ring doorbell from the wall. 
  • Find the orange button that is located on the back of the unit. 
  • Press this orange button firmly for at least 15 seconds. This is a power interrupt button. As this button is pressed, the residual power is drained from the unit which allows it to start with a “native” connection once the power and connectivity are restored to the unit.
  • Once the button is released, the doorbell will begin flashing as it establishes connections and downloads updates.
  • This process should be complete in about five minutes. Do not attempt to use the doorbell during this time. Allow it to finish booting and updating. When the light returns to a steady mode, then it can be checked for function.
  • Open the app and reset the motion fields, sensitivity settings, and double-check that all notification settings are set to the blue, on position.

If the doorbell still will not work, check for updates on the app. If there are no updates available, then try uninstalling and reinstalling the app. Some users find that reinstalling the app and resetting the doorbell at the same time will solve the problem by essentially forcing a brand-new setup.

Ring Protect Plan

While the Ring doorbell does not need a paid security account to work with minimal functionality, users can not record video without this paid monitoring account. If the doorbell is not linked to a Ring Protect Plan and notifications are disabled on the smartphone, then it will appear to not work.

  • Double-check that notifications are allowed to receive push notifications and live feed without a Ring Protect Plan.
  • If a Ring Protect Plan is in place, make sure that the card used for payment has not expired. If the account has lapsed, the unit may appear to stop working.
  • If the Ring app has been installed on a brand new phone, the notifications and permissions will need to be updated for functionality.

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Ring does not offer sensor replacement kits or the possibility of having the sensors replaced. Customers who can not get their Ring Video Doorbells to work using DIY troubleshooting methods will have to contact Ring technical support for additional help. This investment in time is well worth it for those who can get the unit working.

Unfortunately, the unit malfunctions often happen after the one-year warranty period has expired. When this happens as troubleshooting does not result in a fixed unit, then they end up buying a brand new unit. For most Ring users, the video doorbell is a vital component of home security and deterrence of package theft. Simply going without a functioning unit is not an option.

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Hannah DeMoss
Hannah DeMoss

Hannah DeMoss has been a writer for nearly a decade. Her passion for writing began years ago has continued to grow. Her expertise at home involves furniture restoration and other small DIY tasks. When not writing, Hannah enjoys the outdoors with her husband and pups, as well as traveling.

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