Set up and use Activity Zones

Activity Zones are a free feature in Nest Cam battery and Nest Doorbell battery. For all other cameras, Activity Zones are available if you have a trial or paid Nest Aware subscription.

You can create custom Activity Zones for your camera or doorbell for different types of activity that you want to be notified about. Just use the app to draw a zone around a specific area in your camera’s view. For instance, create a zone around a door if you want a notification when a person walks through it. The person walking through the door activity zone will also create an event in your video history timeline.

With Activity Zones, you can:

  • Monitor up to 4 zones per camera.
  • Give each zone a custom shape, size, color and name.
  • Get people alerts and other motion alerts when activity happens in a zone. If you have a Nest doorbell, you can also get package alerts.
  • Notifications include the name of the zone, so you know exactly where something happened.
  • Set up a zone where there’s activity you don’t want to be bothered about, such as a window overlooking a busy view, but get alerts for activity throughout the rest of the room.
  • See markers on your video history timeline for activity that happened in each zone, so it’s easy to review everything.

Activity Zones won’t change what your camera sees

Even after you create Activity Zones, your camera will still stream its entire view and store the footage in your video history. The video feed stays the same with or without Activity Zones.

But when you have Activity Zones, you can get alerts about motion in certain parts of your camera’s view and also check when motion happened there in the past.

How to set up Activity Zones for Nest Aware cameras

Create and use Activity Zones on a phone

Create a new Activity Zone

In the Home app

  1. Select the camera that you want to make an Activity Zone for.
  2. Tap Events.
  3. Select Seen Events.
  4. Choose + Add a zone. The new zone will appear in the middle of the camera’s view.
  5. Change the shape of the zone to capture what you want.
    • Turn your phone to go into landscape mode for a full screen of your camera’s view. Make sure the screen rotation setting on your phone is on. 
    • Tap and drag inside the zone to move it.
    • Tap and drag any of the 8 dots on the sides of the zone to change its shape.
  6. To change the color of the Activity Zone, tap Zone color. You can pick from four different colors.
  7. Tap on the Zone name under the camera view to give your zone a descriptive name.
  8. Under Event History, you can choose which types of events you want to record in that zone and which notifications you want to receive.

In the Nest app

  1. Select the camera that you want to make an Activity Zone for.
  2. Tap Settings .
  3. Select Activity Zones.

    Note: You need to have an active Nest Aware subscription. Otherwise, the Activity Zone option won't appear.

  4. Tap Create Zone Plus icon. The new zone appears in the middle of the screen.
  5. Turn your phone to go into landscape mode for a full screen of your camera’s view. Make sure the screen rotation setting on your phone is on.
  6. Tap and drag inside the zone to move it.
  7. Tap and drag any of the 8 points on the sides of the zones to change its shape.
  8. To change the color of the Activity Zone, click one of the colored circles on the bottom of your screen. You can pick from four different colors.
  9. Tap the pencil Pencil icon at the top of the screen to give your zone a descriptive name. Tap the Check mark app confirm icon to save the zone name.
  10. Tap the check mark app confirm icon to save the zone.

After you create a zone

Any events that happen within an Activity Zone will be color coded to match the zone, even if they happened before you created the zone.

Edit an Activity Zone

In the Home app

  1. Select the camera with the Activity Zone that you want to edit.
  2. Tap Events.
  3. Select Seen Events.
  4. Update the zone with the changes you want to make. The app will save your changes automatically.

In the Nest app

  1. Select the camera with the Activity Zone you want to edit.
  2. Tap Settings .
  3. Select Activity Zones.
  4. Select the zone you want to edit.
  5. Change the zone as you like. You can change its size, shape, color and name, just like you would if you were creating a new Activity Zone.
  6. Tap the check mark app confirm icon to save. If you change your mind, tap Cancel app cancel icon in the top left corner.

Remove an Activity Zone

Deleting an Activity Zone won’t erase footage from your video history, but it will remove markers on your timeline that show when your camera noticed activity there.

In the Home app

  1. Select the camera with the Activity Zone that you want to edit.
  2. Tap Events.
  3. Select Seen Events.
  4. Pick the zone you want to delete.
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Delete zone.

In the Nest app

  1. Select the camera that you want to delete an Activity Zone for.
  2. Tap Settings .
  3. Select Activity Zones.
  4. Select the zone you want to delete.
  5. Tap Delete nest cam trash clip  at the bottom right corner of your screen. Confirm that you want to delete the zone.

Create and use Activity Zones on a computer

Note: You can only create and edit Activity Zones on a computer if you set up your camera or doorbell with the Nest app.

With just a few clicks of your mouse, you can make an Activity Zone for any spot you want to keep an eye on. You can also edit or delete existing Activity Zones.

Create a new activity zone

  1. Sign in to the Nest app on a web browser.
  2. Select the camera that you want to make an Activity Zone for.
  3. Click Activity Zones  in the lower right corner. If the Activity Zones icon isn't there, try to make your browser window bigger to reveal it.

    Note: You need to have an active Nest Aware subscription. Otherwise, the Activity Zone option won't appear.

  4. Click Create. The new zone appears in the middle of the screen.

Move and shape an Activity Zone

You can move an Activity Zone and change its shape to fit around any area or object you want to keep an eye on. Here's how:

  1. Click and drag inside the zone to move it.
  2. Click and drag any of the 8 points on the sides of the
    zone
     to change its shape.
  3. To change the color of the Activity Zone, click the colored
    circle
     in the lower left of your screen. You can pick from
    four different colors.
  4. Once you've given the Activity Zone the shape and color
    you want, give it a descriptive name. Type the name into
    the box in the bottom left corner of your browser.
  5. Click Done to save the new Activity Zone.
activity zone colors

Get alerts for your Activity Zones

Although Activity Zones won’t change the footage your camera streams and records, adding a zone can give you more useful alerts by telling you where the motion happened.

If you already have a zone set up, you can also use the Nest app to manage whether or not you’ll get notifications alerting you to motion in that zone.

  1. Go to your camera’s video stream in the Nest app.
  2. Select Settings .
  3. Select Notifications.
  4. Tap a zone’s name.
  5. Then select People or All other motion or both to get alerts within the zone. If you have a doorbell, you can also select Packages, which can let you know that a package has been dropped off or picked up in its view.

    Note: If People is selected, you’ll get an alert even if there’s a partial view of a person within the zone, such as an arm.

If you have email alerts or push notifications enabled for your camera, you’ll also get a snapshot of what your camera saw when it sent you the alert.

Edit an Activity Zone

  1. Use a web browser to sign into your account at home.nest.com
  2. Click Activity Zones  in the lower right corner of the screen.
  3. Select the zone you want to edit.
  4. Change the zone as you like. You can change its size, shape, color and name, just like you would if you were creating a new Activity Zone.
  5. When you're finished, click Done.
Select current zone or add a new zone screen

Remove an Activity Zone

Deleting an Activity Zone won’t erase footage from your video history, but it will remove markers on your timeline that show when your camera noticed activity there.

  1. Use a web browser to sign into your account at home.nest.com.
  2. Select the camera that has the Activity Zone you want to delete.
  3. Click Activity Zones  in the lower right corner.
  4. Click on the zone that you want to remove.
  5. Click on the red Delete button.
  6. Confirm by clicking Delete one more time.

Review Activity Zones

Whenever your camera spots activity in a zone you’ve created, your timeline is marked to let you know. Just scroll through the timeline and look for the dots and bars that mark events. They are colored to match the color of your Activity Zones. Tap on one to review the recorded video.

Tips for setting up Activity Zones

Create small zones

A big Activity Zone will capture more activity. In general, the smaller and more precise the Activity Zone, the more accurate your camera’s alerts will be.

If your zone is too large, objects that don’t appear to be in the zone can trigger an in-zone recording or notification.

Experiment with the size and placement of your Activity Zones to get the effect that you want.

Don't overlap zones

If you overlap two or more Activity Zones, you’ll only receive a notification for the Activity Zone where the activity first occurred. If the activity actually happened in two or more Activity Zones at the same time, you’ll only get a notification for one of the Activity Zones.

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