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How to change your Nest camera’s microphone, speaker, and audio settings

Google Nest cameras can pick up audio from all directions — even sounds happening off-camera. Here’s some helpful information about the different things you can do with audio and how to change your camera’s settings.

How to turn the microphone on and off

When it’s on, your Nest camera’s microphone picks up sound in the area around your camera. If you have a Google Nest Aware subscription, your camera’s audio is recorded in your video history as long as the microphone is on.

You can switch the microphone on or off. When the microphone is off, audio is not streamed or recorded; if you want to hear activity near your camera, turn the microphone on.

If you have more than one Nest camera, you can turn each camera’s microphone on and off independently.

1. Select your camera on the Nest app home screen.

2. Tap Settings Nest settings icon.

3. Select Microphone, then tap the switch to turn it on or off

Keep in mind, when you turn off the microphone, you won’t be able to go back in your video history and turn on sound during times the microphone was off.

How to adjust microphone sensitivity

Some Nest cameras automatically adjust the audio they pick up so it’s easier to identify important sounds; on other cameras, you can adjust microphone sensitivity manually.


Cameras with automatic microphone sensitivity

  • Nest Cam IQ Indoor
  • Nest Cam IQ Outdoor
  • Nest Hello video doorbell

These cameras include a 3-microphone array for echo cancellation and noise suppression. Nest’s software automatically processes audio from each microphone, so you won’t see an option for microphone sensitivity in Settings.


Cameras with adjustable microphone sensitivity

  • Nest Cam Outdoor
  • Nest Cam Indoor
  • Dropcam Pro, Dropcam

If you’re having trouble hearing sounds in your camera’s video stream, or if it’s picking up unwanted noise, you can manually adjust sensitivity for the camera models listed above.

  1. Select your camera on the Nest app home screen.
  2. Tap Settings  Nest settings icon.
  3. Select Microphone. Make sure the Microphone switch is turned on, or you won’t see the Microphone sensitivity setting.
  4. Tap Microphone Sensitivity then drag the slider to change the mic setting.

How to turn off audio recording

If you don’t want audio to be saved with your camera’s video history, you can turn off audio recording. For some cameras, you may not see this setting unless you have a Nest Aware subscription.

  1. Select your camera on the Nest app home screen.
  2. Tap Settings Nest settings icon.
  3. Select Microphone. Make sure the microphone switch is turned on, or you won’t see the Audio recording setting.
  4. Tap the Audio recording switch to turn it on or off.

    Note: When audio recording is off, you can still listen live, but you won’t receive any sound alerts.

How to use Quiet Time to mute your indoor chime (Nest Hello only)

If you don’t want to be disturbed during a certain time, you can use Quiet Time Quiet time button to keep your doorbell chime from ringing when someone pushes Hello’s button. For instance, this can be useful if you don’t want a visitor to wake a sleeping baby. If a visitor pushes Hello’s button when Quiet Time is on, Hello will make its usual doorbell sound outside, but the chime inside your home won’t ring. You also won’t get visitor announcements through Google Assistant. You’ll still get a notification from the app, so you’ll know when someone’s at the door.

  1. Select your camera on the Nest app home screen.
  2. Tap Quiet Time Quiet time button.
  3. Select how long you want your indoor chime to be off for

    • 30 minutes
    • 60 minutes
    • 90 minutes
    • 2 hours
    • 3 hours
  4. Tap Start. You can always check how much time is left by tapping Quiet Time again.

To end Quiet Time early, tap Quiet Time Cancel quiet time, then tap Cancel.

How to turn off your indoor chime (Nest Hello only)

If you want to temporarily mute your indoor chime for up to a few hours, you might want to use Quiet Time instead. If you don’t want to be disturbed for an extended period of time, you can turn off your indoor chime.

  1. Select your camera on the Nest app home screen.
  2. Tap Settings Nest settings icon.
  3. Select Indoor chime On/Off, then tap the switch to turn it on or off.

Note: If you have Quiet Time on, the Indoor chime On/Off setting will override Quiet Time. So if you turn the Indoor chime on and then off again while in Quiet Time, the chime will not automatically turn on when your Quiet Time countdown ends.

How to set up alerts for when your camera detects sound

In addition to activity alerts based on motion, you can also get a notification when your camera detects a loud or unexpected sound. For example, if the doorbell rings and your dog starts barking, you can get an alert even if you can’t see the activity in your camera’s view. To learn how to set up alerts for sound, see the following article.

How to set up alerts for your camera >

When your camera’s microphone is off, you won’t receive any alerts for sound.


Advanced sound notifications

If you have a Nest Aware subscription, advanced cloud-based algorithms can help your camera guess if it’s hearing a specific sounds like a dog barking. Whenever your camera thinks it has detected one of these sounds, it can send a special alert.

What you get with a Nest Aware subscription for your camera >

How to talk to people through your camera's speaker 

With Talk and Listen, you can talk to people near the camera and hear their responses.

How to listen and talk to people with your Nest camera and Hello >

Talk and Listen uses your camera’s microphone to hear people talking, so make sure it’s turned on.

Speaker volume

The camera’s speaker volume is not adjustable, but it’s loud enough to be easily heard by someone near the camera. If you’ll be using Talk and Listen a lot, make sure to install your camera in a place where your voice can be heard.
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