Understanding Motion Detection

NoteBefore you Enable Motion Detection on your camera, you must first arm your Blink system. Once you arm your Blink system and Enable Motion Detection, you will then receive motion notifications on your mobile device. This article describes how to manage the Motion Detection feature for your Blink camera.  

How Blink cameras detect motion

Blink cameras use either Passive Infrared (PIR) or Pixel Difference Analysis (PDA) to detect motion. Both technologies provide similar motion detection. Blink cameras detect motion best from about 7 to 19 feet (2m to 6m) away, and can respond to motion at 30 feet (10m). Other factors affect what motion is detected like camera placement, object size, and temperature. 

Motion Detection using Passive Infrared (PIR) sensors

Blink Wired Floodlight, Outdoor and Indoor (3rd Gen), Blink Indoor (1st Gen), XT2, XT
The Passive Infrared (PIR) sensor detects heat energy from anything in the view. To detect movement, a special lens exaggerates activity across the sensor. PIR can be sensitive to groups of motion, like sunlight and shadows through a tree, blowing leaves, or rain.

PIR is most sensitive to motion moving across the field of view. Objects that are the same apparent temperature as the background may not be detected when they move. PIR sensors also work well with the Night Vision IR light in Blink cameras.

Motion Detection using Pixel Difference Analysis

Blink Mini
Pixel Difference Analysis (PDA) compares every frame of video to the next one, looking for a certain amount of difference. The amount of change needed to make a Motion Detection event is controlled with the Sensitivity setting in the Blink app. Low sensitivity means it is harder to make a motion detection event. High sensitivity responds to small amounts of motion.

Mini cameras have been used to detect motion through glass. Remember, this is not the most accurate way to detect motion, but these tips will help. 

  • Make sure the area being watched is well lit.
  • Put the face of the Mini as close to the window as possible. Some people have even used gaffer's tape to seal the Mini against the window.
  • Turn off the Recording LED and the Night Vision IR LED to prevent glare from reflected light.

Note: The Mini camera was not designed to detect motion through glass and your results may not be consistent.


Motion Settings 

Motion Settings allow you to customize how your Blink camera detects motion. Located in Device Settings for each camera, you can control motion detection, zones, retrigger time, and more. Visit the New Device Layout Settings article for a complete list of motion settings for your Blink camera. Note: Before you Enable Motion Detection on your camera, you must first arm your Blink system.

Arming and Disarming your Blink system

Use this article to understand how to arm and disarm your Blink system for motion detection using the Blink app.

When you first set up your Blink system, your system is Disarmed by default.

system will be Disarmed by default

Arm your system by tapping Armed at the bottom of the Home screen. A message will display confirming that your system has been Armed or Disarmed

 system will be Disarmed by default

Once your system is Armed, any motion detected by your cameras will send a notification to your mobile device.

Armed system camera icons

When your system is Armed, two icons appear. The Snooze icon a bell shaped grey outline with smaller letter Z to show a snoozing bell and the Running man solid color running man means the camera is active.

Additional resources


Enable Motion Detection

Once you have Armed your system, the Running Man and Snooze icons display. The Running Man icon allows you to Enable or Disable Motion Detection from the Home Screen for each camera in your system. Once Motion Detection is enabled, you will receive Motion Notifications from the Blink app.

How to use

Tap the Running Man icon to enable or disable Motion Detection for that camera. A message will display at the bottom of the Home Screen confirming that Motion Detection has been enabled or disabled.

  • A blue Running Man solid color running man means the camera is active means Motion Detection is enabled and the camera is actively watching for motion.
  • A gray Running Man motion detection is not active means Motion Detection is disabled for that camera.

Why would I want to disable motion detection?

If you have more than one camera in a system, but only want to receive notifications for a specific camera (or cameras), you can Disable the camera you don't want notifications from. For example, you may want to be alerted to visitors at the front door, but not your dog running through the garage.

In the example below, there are two devices in the Home From system; Front Door and Garage. The Running Man is Enabled solid color running man means the camera is active for the Front Door camera, and Disabled motion detection is not active for the Garage. The Home Front system is Armed. If the Home Front system is Disarmed, the Running Man and Snooze icons will not display.
home screen

Icon memory

Each time your system is Armed, your settings will stay the same until you change them.

Enabling or Disabling Motion Detection within Device Settings

You can also enable or disable Motion Detection within Device Settings.

Go to Device Settings   and then tap Motion Settings. The first setting is Motion Detection. 

The Motion Detection setting allows you to change your camera's motion detection without having to Arm your system.

  • Tap Motion Detection off and that camera does not detect motion. If your system is Armed and motion occurs in front of that camera, notifications will not be sent.
  • Tap Motion Detection and that camera will detect motion.

Note: This setting is the same as tapping the Running Man icon on or off. When you tap the Enable Motion Detection toggle to the off position, the Running Man changes to gray motion detection is not active for that camera. Switching it back on will change the Running Man to blue solid color running man means the camera is active for that camera. 

Learn more about snoozing Motion Notifications.


Snooze Motion Notifications

Use this article to understand how to use the Snooze function in the Blink app.

After arming your system, the Snooze icon appears above each camera thumbnail on the Home screen. Snooze allows you to temporarily pause motion notifications. For example, if you are receiving too many Motion notifications from your camera, you can Snooze the motion notifications but the camera will still record clips. The default snooze length is 30 minutes; however, you can select 1, 2, 3, or 4 hour snooze increments.

Starting Snooze

  1. When the camera's system is Armed, Snoozeappears next to the Running Man icon (Motion Detection) blue motion icon.
    • By default, this icon is gray (Snooze is off).
    • If the Running Man icon is gray (Motion Detection is off) motion detection is not active, the Snooze icon does not display.
  2. Tap Snooze and the bell turns solid blue. A message displays asking you to choose how long you want the Snooze to last. Select 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
    • Use the checkbox to apply the selected Snooze time to all other cameras on the system that currently have Snooze active.

Stopping Snooze

  1. When Snooze is active, the icon turns solid blue . Tap an active snooze to end it early. A confirmation message displays the amount of Snooze time remaining. You can tap the x in the upper-right hand corner to continue the active snooze or tap End Snooze.
    • The Snooze icon will switch back to gray .
    • Tap the checkbox to end Snooze for all cameras on the system. 

Alexa Snooze Notifications

Alexa will continue announcing events even if you have turned on Snooze notifications for your camera or system. To turn off Alexa Motion Announcements, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Alexa app.
  2. Go to Settings > Device Settings.
  3. Select the device you want to stop the announcements for.
  4. Under ANNOUNCEMENTS, turn off Motion Announcements

If you want Alexa to resume announcing motion notifications, you must turn on Motion Announcements in the Alexa app.

Setting a Custom Snooze notification

When you have a Blink Plus Subscription Plan or trial, you can set Custom times up to 24 hours. Learn more about Blink Subscription Plans extra features and benefits for your devices.

1. Tap Snooze on the home screen and select Custom.

2. Select the amount of time to Snooze your notifications and then tap Start Snooze. You have the flexibility to select any time between 1 minute and 24 hours to stop your notifications.

Your set custom Snooze time will then appear as a notification on the Home screen.

Related Articles


Activity Zones

Use this article to understand how to set and reset Activity Zones in the Blink app.

Activity Zones let you mask off certain regions to selectively prevent motion alerts. This can help with excessive motion clips or false alerts. For example, if you are using your cameras outside and you have a tree or bush that is triggering unwanted motion clips, adjusting your Activity Zones can prevent this.

Privacy Zones

If you want to completely block off an area from being recorded by cameras, you'll want to add a Privacy Zone instead. Learn about on-camera Privacy Zones available on the Indoor and Outdoor (3rd Gen) cameras.

Creating an Activity Zone

1. To use Activity Zones, tap Camera Settings  above the the camera you want to change.

settings for camera

2. From Camera Settings, select Motion Settings and then tap Motion Zones.

Activity Zones

3. On the Activity Zones screen, the most recent thumbnail is shown with a grid pattern.
Tap Update Photo to refresh the thumbnail image so your settings are accurate.

Activity Zones config

4. Select your desired inactive Activity Zones by tapping on the rectangle you would like to isolate. A selected area will become grayed out. The area within the gray square will not detect motion, even if motion occurs. 

In the example below, bushes and plants are chosen as inactive Activity Zones since these outdoor elements may cause unnecessary motion events.

tap the squares that you DON'T want to record motion clips

Optional: Basic and Advanced options are included for Wired Floodlight, Indoor and Outdoor (3rd Gen), and XT2 cameras.

Activity Zones settings

Advanced mode allows you to zoom into the thumbnail for more precise zone selection. Swipe to move the view and tap to select areas that are active or inactive for motion detection. When you're done, tap Save.

Advanced mode

5. After you've selected your desired inactive Activity Zones, tap Done. To make all zones active and restart the process, tap Reset Zones.

click done button to complete settings


Privacy Zones

Privacy Zones are only available for the Wired Floodlight, Video Doorbell and Indoor and Outdoor (3rd Gen) Camera. A Privacy Zone is an area you select that does not allow motion alerts to ever leave the camera.

Examples of why you may use Privacy Zones would be to exclude a neighbor's door, or window from being viewed or recorded by your camera. Up to two Privacy Zones can be set and they are easily recognized as grey areas of the screen.

To use this feature, access the settings of the camera that you want to modify.

camera settings

From camera settings, select Motion Settings and then tap Motion Zones.

camera settings

You will then see options for Activity Zones and Privacy Zones. Click here to learn how to fully set up Activity Zones.

Tap the Privacy Zones button to view the screen. You now see the camera thumbnail with a grid pattern. You can also tap the Update Photo button to refresh the thumbnail image. Tapping Reset Privacy Zones deletes the existing zones. Privacy Zones cannot be edited, only deleted (reset) and recreated.

Tap and drag on the screen to draw up to two zones you want selected within the thumbnail image. Once zones are created they can be moved and resized by dragging on the blue dots at the corners of each.

camera settings

After your zones are drawn, tap Done to save them. You can tap Save to apply all settings changes and be sent to the Home screen.

If you tap Zones again, the Zones screen now shows the Privacy Zones in black to help contrast with activity zones, which are grey in the Activity Zone view.


Retrigger time

Use this article to understand what Retrigger Time is and how it affects your cameras when recording motion.

The camera turns on instantly (within a fraction of a second) to record a video clip when motion is first detected. There is a delay from the end of a motion clip to the start of the camera capturing a new motion clip. This delay is known as Retrigger Time and prevents the camera from sending too many motion notifications during motion triggers. 

When you arrive home to your Armed Blink system, you can trigger a motion alert by walking past your camera. The delay between clips or retrigger time provides enough time to Disarm your system. By default, the system will capture a five second clip, and wait for the retrigger time of 30 seconds. If motion continues, the camera will capture another five second clip. This retrigger time can be adjusted under camera settings.

Each camera in your system has an individual retrigger time setting.

Adjusting the Retrigger Time

  1. Tap Device Settings next to the camera you would like to adjust and select Motion Settings.
  2. In Camera Settings, you can adjust the Retrigger time value from 10 to 60 seconds. To increase the retrigger time, move the slider to the right and to decrease the delay move the slider to the left.
    • The longer the retrigger time is set, your camera allows more time between notifying you of the next motion event it detects. This is useful if your camera views an area where motion occurs often or if you are getting false triggers.
  3. When you have this setting where you want it, tap Save.

Test your settings

After you have set your desired retrigger time, Arm your Blink system and then walk through the field of view of your adjusted camera. You will receive a motion alert on your screen. Continue to walk through the field of view of this camera for the length of your delay. You will receive a second motion alert when your system has captured another clip. If the retrigger time was too short or too long between captured clips, return to camera settings to fine tune.

False Triggers After Using Live View

If your camera is recording motion events immediately after using Live View when there isn’t any motion, here are a few troubleshooting steps you can try:

  • Note that the motion sensor detects changes in temperature in the camera field of view. Sources of heat or cold or could cause false triggers. 
  • Try moving the camera to a different location.
  • Increase the Retrigger Time to at least 15 seconds. To do this, tap Settings , and under Motion Detection, you’ll see a slider for re-trigger time. Increasing the Retrigger time allows the motion to stop before causing another motion clip. 

If you continue to see issues after these troubleshooting steps, please contact Technical Support


Adjusting Sensitivity for your Blink Camera

Your Blink camera captures motion based on heat moving across the camera's field. The total size of heat objects and amount of motion together cause a motion event. Your camera's Sensitivity setting adjusts how much input it takes to send you a notification.

Low sensitivity is less responsive, so a larger amount of heat and motion are needed to cause a notification. The highest setting may cause alerts from blowing leaves or even shadows.

If you are receiving too many notifications with nothing interesting, try turning the Sensitivity down two points. If that is effective, test by arming the system, and walking in the field of view when Motion Detection is on, to make sure a human sized object will trigger a notification.

Be careful if you tap the notification and enter Live View with your microphone or speakers on, significantly loud feedback may occur. Tap mute speaker in the upper right corner of the Live View.

Each camera has an individual sensitivity setting. You can find this in the Camera Settings for each camera in your system.

Choosing High or Low Sensitivity

The sensitivity setting on your camera not only depends on what is making the movement, but how long the movement is occurring. 

  • High sensitivity means less motion over a shorter period of time will create a notification.
  • Low sensitivity means more movement over a longer period of time will create a notification. 

The motion can be a big or small object, or a lot of small objects. Motion detection depends on where the object is in relation to the camera lens. For example, a bird flying close to the camera can be perceived as bigger than the person walking on the sidewalk in the distance. A person walking directly toward the camera will produce less motion than a dog walking left to right across the camera's field of view. It's about the amount of motion that's occurring within the detection zone of the camera and not necessarily how large the object is.

Testing sensitivity for your home camera

  1. From the Blink app main screen, tap settings slider Settings above the camera thumbnail and then Motion Settings.
  2. Then select Motion Sensitivity and move the slider two or three points to the left towards L, for Low. Tap Save to save this setting and walk out of the frame of view of this camera.
  3. From the main screen of the Blink app, set your system to Armed to enable Motion Detection.
  4. Test the camera sensitivity by introducing movement. 
    • People, packages, and pets are what home cameras are for.  
  5. If the sensitivity is not successful, reduce the slider more, save, and try again.
  6. If you have adjusted the sensitivity to your liking, proceed to test with a larger moving object, such as yourself. Walk in front of your camera and check to see if the setting gives the desired motion alert.
  7. If the lowest sensitivity continues to cause an unwanted Motion notification, you may need to create an Activity Zone instead. Learn more about setting Activity Zones.

Related articles


Early Notification

When Early Notification is enabled, the camera sends the alert when motion is first detected.

When Early Notification is not enabled, Motion Alerts are sent after the Motion Clip is saved.

The amount of time 'earlier' you receive an Early Notification depends upon your Clip Length settings and other factors like network speeds.

The Early Notification option is only available for the following Blink devices:

  • Blink Outdoor and Indoor (3rd Gen)
  • Mini
  • XT2

Why would I use Early Notification?

A real advantage of Early Notification is being able to enter Live View when you tap the Motion Alert notification. In this way, you can be interacting with visitors using two-way voice, or viewing whatever triggered the motion alert, within a few seconds.

Can I save the Live View session?

If you have an active Blink Subscription Plan‍ and your camera supports recording the Live View session, a "Save / Discard " toggle appears in the live view. When the toggle is set to "Save", the current session records until the timeout, or when you stop the Live View by tapping "Close".

How do I use Early Notification?

To enable Early Notification, go to the camera settings screen and select Motion Settings. Then switch on Early Notification.

Early Notification is off by default for Blink cameras, as shown in the image.

Early Notification toggle


End Clip Early if Motion Stops

This setting is found within Device Settings  and then tap Video and Photo Settings.

Note: Not available for the Wired Floodlight Camera.

End Clip Early if Motion Stops 

When this setting is switched on, your camera stops recording a video clip if motion is no longer occurring before the Clip Length reaches its stopping point.

For example, let's say your Clip Length is set to record for 30 seconds after motion is detected, and a car passes by your camera's view.

  • Setting off: The camera will keep recording until the set Clip Length is reached. In this example, the clip would be 30 seconds long.
  • Setting on: Your camera would record the clip of the car passing by and end immediately afterwards if no more motion occurs.

This feature may not always end the clip early under certain conditions.


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