About Home & Away Routines

You can automate home devices and take care of everyday tasks with Home & Away Routines in the Google Home app. This feature is only available if you use Nest devices and services with a Google Account.  If you have an existing Nest Account and wish to use this feature, we recommend you migrate to a Google Account.

Home & Away Routines can help you control the devices in your home

You can now create Routines in the Home app that can use presence sensing to automatically adjust your home devices when someone comes home and when everyone’s away. 

Presence in the home is determined using input from your phone’s location (if you opt-in) and sensors in your smart devices, so you don’t have to manually turn your devices on and off or rely on a fixed schedule. You can decide which devices, including your phone, will determine presence.

Currently, you can control the following devices with Home & Away Routines in the Home app. This list of devices will continue to grow to include other devices that are compatible with Google Assistant over time:

  • Nest thermostats
  • Nest cameras
  • Smart lights
  • Smart plugs
  • Smart switches

Learn how to set up smart devices in the Google Home app

How Home & Away Routines can start

Automatically, with presence sensing

Home & Away Routines can use presence sensing to determine when to start. You can choose which devices, if any, will help determine if someone is home or everyone’s away:

  • Device sensors: The following devices have sensors that can help determine if someone is present in the home:
    • Nest Guard 
    • Nest Secure Tag
    • Nest thermostats 
    • Nest Protect (Wired)
    • Nest × Yale Lock

     Learn how each device helps sense presence.

  • Phone location: With the Home app, your phone can use a combination of GPS, cellular and Wi-Fi signals to help sense if you’ve left or returned home. The Away Routine will start after the last person’s phone leaves home. The Home Routine will start when the first person’s phone returns.
    • This feature works best when everyone in the home shares their phone location. Otherwise, the Home or Away Routine might not start when someone who isn’t sharing their phone location arrives or leaves.
    • If you’re also using device sensors for presence sensing, their input may affect when your home switches to Home or Away. For example, if your thermostat senses motion around the time people leave, this input may delay the switch to Away to help make sure no one is still home.
    • We’ve tried to implement this feature with your privacy in mind. The Home app doesn’t continually record your phone’s exact location like a GPS navigation app for driving. The app only needs to know two things: whether you’ve left or come back. Learn more about presence sensing for Home & Away Routines.

With the Home app

You can also start a Home or Away Routine with the Home app. 

  1. Open the Google Home app Google Home app  at the top of the home view screen, tap the Home or Away toggle.
  2. Tap the Routine you want to start.

With a voice command (US English only)

You can start a Home or Away Routine with a voice command to Google Assistant.

Important: 

  • If the Home or Away Routine will turn a Nest camera on or off, you won’t be able to start it with a voice command. 
  • When you start a Routine with a voice command, it won’t change the state of Nest Guard.

These are safety precautions to help prevent an unauthorized person from adjusting these devices with their voice.

Voice commands

  • To start the Home Routine, say “Hey Google, someone's home.”
  • To start the Away Routine, say “Hey Google, everyone's away” or "Hey Google, everyone's leaving."

How Home & Away Routines can help

Save energy

Home & Away Routines can help you save energy on the smart devices they control.

  • Nest thermostats: The Away Routine can adjust the thermostat to energy-saving temperatures when everyone has left home. The Home Routine restores more comfortable temperatures when the first person returns.
  • Smart plugs, switches and lights: The Away Routine can automatically turn off these devices when the last person leaves home.

Make your connected home even more convenient

When you set up presence sensing with your Home & Away Routines, they start automatically when it’s convenient for you:

  • Home & Away Routines can automatically turn on or off your smart plugs and switches, even if you forget.
  • Home & Away Routines can adjust your Nest thermostats to the right temperatures when the last person leaves and the first person returns. You don’t need a fixed schedule.
  • With presence determined by phone location, Home & Away Routines can automatically turn your Nest cameras on and off.

Set up Home & Away Routines

You can set up and edit Home & Away Routines with the Home app. To use Home & Away Routines you will need to migrate your Nest account to a Google account

Important: All people in this home in the Home app can view and edit Home & Away Routines.

  1.  Open the Google Home app Google Home app  tap Set up Home & Away Routines.
  2. Tap Home or Away.
  3. Select the devices and settings you want the routines to adjust. 
    1. Select the ones you want to change when the first person comes home.
    2. Select the ones you want to change when everyone’s away.
  4. (Optional) Select the devices you want to use to determine if someone’s home. 
  5. (Optional) Set up your phone’s location to be used for presence sensing. 
    1. You’ll need to enter your home address and confirm it by placing a pin on a map.

Home & Away Routines for Nest app users

You’ll need to use the Home app to set up Home & Away Routines. 

  1. Migrate your Nest Account to a Google Account if you haven’t already.
  2. Set up your smart devices in the Home app if needed.
  3. Follow the steps in the Home app to set up a Home & Away Routine. 

Note: If you use both the Nest app and the Home app, Home & Away Routines will work seamlessly with the Nest App’s Home/Away Assist. In the Home App, "Home & Away Routines" is the new name for "Home & Away." And "presence sensing" is the new name for "Home/Away Assist." But they are doing the same thing behind the scenes.

Differences between Home/Away Assist and Home & Away Routines

Home/Away Assist is a Nest app feature that can automatically change your Nest devices’ behavior. The Home app’s Home & Away Routines work similarly, with some improvements.

Home/Away Assist is available to you if you have a non-migrated Nest Account, as well as if you migrate to a Google Account and use your Google Account with your Nest devices and services.  

Note: Home & Away Routines is not available on the Nest app. It is only available on the Home app for people using Nest devices and services with a Google Account.

  • The Home app and Nest app work well together. You can use either app, or both.
  • No matter which app you use, the home is always in either Home or Away. So if you switch your home using one app, that change will show up immediately in the other app.
  • Your phone can only use geofence from one app at a time. When you enable geofence in one app, it will be automatically disabled in the other app.
  • Some settings are specific to each app. See the table below for more details:
  Home/Away Assist Home & Away Routines
Requires Nest app check mark  
Requires Home app   check mark

Requires migration to Google Account (if you started using the Nest app before August 19, 2019)

  check mark
Can adjust Nest thermostats and cameras check mark check mark
Can adjust Nest Guard check mark check mark
Can adjust smart lights, plugs and switches   check mark
Can use info from Nest sensors to determine presence check mark check mark

Can use phone location to determine presence

check mark

via Nest app

check mark

via Home app

Can use voice command to switch between Home and Away (US English only)   check mark

Privacy and Transparency

We take your privacy seriously. Your phone location information will be used for the purposes for which you give us permission. You can turn it off anytime. 

Our commitment to privacy in the home guides how we uphold our commitment to respect your privacy in the home. Collection of your phone’s location data is off by default, and you must expressly choose to turn it on after reviewing relevant information about what data is collected, how it’s used and controls available to you. 

Learn how presence sensing works and how to check and delete your presence history data

For further details about how we handle your data when you use Google Nest devices and services, please see Google’s privacy policy and the Google Nest Privacy Help Center page.

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