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Camera alerts

Nest camera alerts are notifications you receive on your phone or tablet when your Google Nest camera or doorbell detects important activity. Camera notifications are managed in the Google Home app or the Nest app.

How Nest camera alerts work

  • The notification options you get depend on the type of camera you have and whether you’re subscribed to Nest Aware.
  • You can choose to receive notifications for everything your camera detects, or choose notifications for only certain types of activity.
  • You need to turn on push notifications in the app to receive any camera alerts about a person seen, your doorbell ringing, camera offline, and for other camera alerts. You can then turn individual notifications on or off to customize alerts received from your camera.
  • You need to set up alerts for each camera separately in your home.
  • If others can control devices in your home, each person can set their own camera alert preferences in the app.
  • If you’ve turned on critical alerts, you may receive some push notifications even when your phone is set to Do Not Disturb.
  • If you remove one of your cameras from your Nest home and want to add it back later, then you need to set up that camera’s alerts again.

Event detection accuracy

Cameras and doorbells use machine learning to ensure notifications are as accurate as possible, but the technology isn’t always perfect. Your camera is more likely to accurately detect objects that are larger, nearby, and within clear view of the camera. And your camera or doorbell may misidentify things like:

  • Confuse a picture with a real event. For example, a picture of a dog on a t-shirt might trigger an “Activity or animal” event.
  • A person could be misidentified as an animal in some situations, like if they’re crawling on the ground, or bent over to do housework.
  • Close relatives can be misidentified.
  • Other objects, such as a shadow or bush, may be misidentified by event detection.
Note: In some cases, your camera or doorbell may correctly identify an object that’s hard for you to find in the recording. This can happen if the object was far away, hard to see in the scene, or only visible for a short time.

Types of camera alerts

Your camera can send alerts when it senses motion, picks up a sound, notices a person, and other activity. With a Nest Aware subscription, your camera can use advanced algorithms to improve its motion and sound detection and send you better notifications.

Your camera can also notify you when it has technical issues. This can help you troubleshoot when your camera isn’t working as intended.

Some camera alerts are always on to keep you informed about important events like when your camera goes offline, is removed from the app, or detects tampering. You can’t change settings for these notifications in the app.

If you have other Nest products in your home, they can tell your camera to turn on and start recording when something happens. To learn how your camera can respond to different events around your home, go to our Learn how Nest products work together article.

Set up and manage camera alerts

Choose the app you use to control your camera for steps on how to enable notifications for your camera, or change which kinds of alerts you get.

Home app

  1. Open the Home app .
  2. Touch and hold your device's tile.
  3. Tap Settings .
  4. Select Notifications.

Notification types

Push notifications

You can turn push notifications on or off for your phone when your camera detects activity. When enabled, you can receive camera alerts as long as you're signed into the app.

You need to turn on push notifications in the app to receive any camera alerts about a person seen, your doorbell ringing, camera offline, and for other camera alerts. You can then turn individual notifications on or off to customize alerts received from your camera.

Away-only notifications

You can turn away-only notifications on or off. When this is on, you can only receive camera alerts when your home is set to Away. So if someone is home, you shouldn’t get notifications about activity from your camera.

Seen activities

You can turn alerts on or off alerts for activities like motion, people, or animals. The availability of Seen activities can vary depending on your camera or doorbell model and if you have a Nest Aware subscription.

Heard events

You can turn heard events on or off for each sound type. Your camera can tell the difference between certain sounds it picks up throughout the day and send you alerts. For example, it can detect the sound of a pet barking or if a smoke alarm sounds.

Note: The availability of Heard events and sound notifications can vary depending on your Nest device and if you have a Nest Aware subscription.

Event history settings

You can also change which events your camera detects in event history settings.

Note: When you turn an event type off for a camera, the app will tell you that your camera will no longer send notifications for that event. You’ll need to turn the event type back on to receive notifications for that activity type.

Nest app

  1. Open the Nest app Nest app icon.
  2. On the app home screen, tap Settings Nest settings icon.
  3. Select Notifications.
  4. Select the camera that you want to change alert settings for and select from the options below.

Notification type

Push notification

Alerts pop up on your phone, just like alerts from other apps. You can receive notifications as long as you’re signed into the app. 

You need to turn on push notifications in the app to receive any camera alerts about a person seen, your doorbell ringing, camera offline, and for other camera alerts. You can then turn individual notifications on or off to customize alerts received from your camera.

Email

Alerts are sent from notifications@nest.com to the email address you use to sign into your account in the Nest app. You can get emails whether or not you’re signed into the app.

When to send

No one’s home

This option sets your camera to send notifications only after your home has switched to Away.

Always

When this option is selected, your camera sends notifications regardless of whether you’re home or away.

Sound notifications

Your camera can tell the difference between certain sounds it picks up throughout the day and send you alerts. For example, it can detect the sound of a pet barking. These alerts can be turned on or off for each sound type.

Note: The availability of Heard events and sound notifications can vary depending on your Nest device and if you have a Nest Aware subscription.

More help for camera alerts

Familiar face alerts

With Nest Aware, familiar face detection can teach your Nest camera how to tell the difference between the faces you know and don't know. Over time, it can start to recognize people you know and send you more helpful alerts.

Learn how to set up familiar face alerts and change settings.

Activity Zone alerts

Activity Zones let your camera send alerts and mark your camera’s video history when there's important motion in the zone.

For each camera, you can create Activity Zones to cover areas in your camera’s view that you care about, and choose the type of motion you want to be notified of for each zone. This is helpful if you’re receiving too many alerts from motion throughout your camera’s view.

You can find more information about how to create Activity Zones and turn on alerts for them in our Help Center.

Snapshots in Email Notifications

Note: This option is only available for cameras in the Nest app.

If you choose to get notifications sent to your email address, the email should include a snapshot image of the activity your camera spotted. You can download these snapshots to your phone or your computer.

Some email providers automatically downsize images in order to save data. This means you might see a low-resolution or blurry version of the snapshot, even when Nest sends you a high-resolution version. Check with your email provider to learn how to download an image from your email.

Troubleshoot notifications

If you don’t receive app notifications after they’ve been turned on, try to troubleshoot notifications and emails from Nest or troubleshoot Nest camera alerts.

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