How Many Image Sensor Clips are Included When Using Alarm.com?

A total of 400 monthly image sensor clips are included when using Alarm.com. This monthly image limit includes any image sensor photos from motion-activated Alarm Events, Background Capture Images, and Peek-In Photos. A maximum of 40 of these clips can be sent via cellular connectivity.


An image sensor is basically a PIR motion detector with a built-in still-motion camera. An Alarm.com Security System can use a compatible image sensor to monitor for activity. An image sensor can also produce photos that a user can check to see if everything is alright around their home or business. There are three (3) main types of photos that an Alarm.com Image Sensor can produce. These are Alarm Event Photos, Background Capture Photos, and Peek-In Photos. Each type of photo counts towards the total limit. Once you reach the total clip limit, you will not be able to receive any additional Background Capture Photos or Peek-In Photos. However, you can still receive new Alarm Event Photos even if the limit has been reached. Keep in mind that you will have a smaller limit for images sent across cellular.

  • Alarm Event Photos - These are taken as a result of an alarm being triggered on the security system due to the image sensor detecting movement while the system is Armed Away or Night. When this happens, the image sensor will produce one or more photos. Assuming that the system is monitored and set up with the Alarm.com service, the photos are then automatically uploaded to the user's Alarm.com account for remote viewing through the Alarm.com Mobile App. The user will get a push notification saying that their system is in alarm, and they will be able to verify the activity by checking the accompanying images. This is useful for determining if an alarm is legitimate, or if it is a false alarm and no action should be taken. Keep in mind that image sensors do not activate and take photos just because the system goes into alarm. It must be the image sensor itself that was activated and caused the alarm in order for images to be automatically taken and uploaded to the Alarm.com servers.
  • Background Capture Photos - These are photos that you can have your image sensor produce periodically following periods of inactivity, or during periods of constant activity. The idea is to build a repository of images that can then be uploaded. While not all motion is captured with Background Capture, the feature does serve as a sort of alternative to constant video surveillance. When Background Capture is enabled, images are produced at the first motion event after approximately 20 minutes of inactivity, and also periodically during instances of constant motion and activity. If no motion is detected by the image sensor, then no background capture will be taken. Background Capture is configured within the Automation Menu of the Alarm.com website. Please note that only Version 2 and Version 3 Image Sensors are able to support the feature. You cannot use Background Capture if your image sensor does not support the feature. All photos with the exception of alarm photos are stored in the image sensor itself, and then are uploaded only when requested by the user via the website or mobile app. The number of photos that can be stored locally varies per image sensor model.
  • Peek-In Photos - These are manually requested photos that allow you to get a glimpse of what is going on. Basically, you can use a Peek-In Photo to check-in on your home or business to ensure that everything is okay. You can divide Peek-In Photos into two (2) categories. Peek-In Now will take a photo immediately, even if no motion is present. Peek-In Next Motion will have a photo be taken the next time that movement is detected. There is no time-out period for a Peek-In Next Motion Command. You can request a Peek-In Now Photo or a Peek-In Next Motion Photo from the Alarm.com website or mobile app.

Any Alarm Grid monitored customer with a Gold Plan or higher for access to Alarm.com receives a total of 400 image sensor clip uploads per month. Each "clip" refers to a photo. It does not matter if the photo is an Alarm Event Photo, a Background Capture Photo, or a Peek-In Photo. Each photo counts towards the total monthly photo limit. It is also important to note that if your alarm panel has a built-in camera that you use for disarm photos, then those images will also count towards the limit. Long story short, whenever a still-image is uploaded to Alarm.com, either from an image sensor or from your panel for a disarm photo, then that image is going to count towards the 400-clip limit.

Furthermore, the 400-clip limit assumes that these images are all being uploaded across IP (WIFI or ethernet). Whenever the internet is down (or if you are cell-only), and an image is uploaded using cellular, then you are working with a small "cellular upload clip limit" of just 40 image uploads per month. But most Alarm.com users have some sort of IP path set up, and assuming their internet is reliable, then that smaller limit rarely comes into play.

In the event that you reach your clip limit, then the only thing that changes is that you will not be able to receive image uploads for disarm photos, background captures, and manual "peek-in" requests". However, images taken due to alarm events caused by the image sensor will still be uploaded as normal. Basically, alarm images count towards the clip limit like all other image uploads, but you still receive alarm images even if you otherwise reach your monthly clip limit. Images are always taken in the event of an alarm, even if the upload limit has been reached.

For the vast majority of Alarm Grid customers, the standard clip limit of 400 image uploads per month is plenty, and most users don't even come close to reaching that threshold. But if you do find that you are regularly using up your clip limits, then it is possible for us to increase the limits. This is done by request only, and there may be extra fees involved for increasing your image sensor clip limits.

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