How to set up your camera on a computer

You should use the Nest app on your phone to set up your camera and connect it to Wi-Fi. But if you have difficulty or get an error in the mobile app, you can set up certain Google Nest camera models on a computer instead.

You can use a Mac or Windows computer to set up the following Nest cameras:

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

For these cameras, follow the steps below to connect your camera to the app.

Important: Camera models not listed above cannot be set up on a computer and must be set up on a phone. If you're having trouble setting up your camera, be sure your phone's Bluetooth is turned on, and bring your camera and phone closer to your Wi-Fi router. This may help solve the errors you might encounter during setup.

1. Before you start

  1. If you haven’t already, you should first try to set up your camera with a phone or tablet.
  2. For setup on a Windows computer, you’ll need to be signed in as an Administrator. To learn about Administrator rights, visit Microsoft’s support site.
  3. Bring your camera and your computer to the spot in your home where you’ll be setting up your camera:
    • Nest Cam Indoor, Dropcam Pro, Dropcam HD: Place your camera on a table or on another convenient surface near where you want to mount it.
    • Nest Cam Outdoor: Start inside your home, near your Wi-Fi router and an indoor power outlet. Later, you’ll be going outside to test your Wi-Fi connection and mount your camera.

2. How to set up your camera

1. Plug your camera into your computer

Use the included USB cable to plug your camera directly into a USB port on your computer.


  • Don't use third party cables as they may not
    deliver enough power.
  • Don't plug your camera into an external USB hub
    that's connected to your computer.
  • Try a different USB port if you encounter an issue
    during setup.
USB plugged into a Nest camera image

The light on the front of your camera will glow blue
(yellow on Dropcam), telling you that the camera is
starting up. After a moment, the light will begin

blue solid light on nest camera

2. Double click on the icon

Once your camera finishes starting up, a window
should pop up on your computer with setup icons for
both Mac OS and Windows. Double click on the icon
for the OS your computer uses.

Nest cam and drop cam icons

Important: Keep your camera plugged into your computer until prompted. 

If you can't find the Nest or Dropcam icon

If a window with setup icons doesn’t pop up on your computer or you can’t find it, follow the instructions below for your computer’s OS. We’ll use Nest Cam as an example, but the steps are the same for Dropcam.

Mac OS X 10.4 or later

If the launch icon does not appear on your desktop, you can launch setup from the Finder. 

  1. Locate the Finder icon in your Dock.
  2. Look for the Devices category in the Finder window’s
    sidebar. Your Nest Cam or Dropcam should be
    listed underneath “Devices.” Click on your camera.
  3. Double click on the Nest Cam Setup (Macintosh) app.
Find nest camera on computer

Windows 10, 8.1, and 8

  1. If the Autoplay window doesn’t open, click on the File Explorer icon in the start bar.
  2. Double click the Setup Nest Cam icon (it will be listed
    under devices and drives).
  3. Double click the Nest Cam Setup (Windows) icon.
camera window setup image


Windows 7, Vista 

  1. Click on the Windows Start Menu icon.
  2. Select Computer (or My computer on Vista) from the
    list of options in the right hand column of the Start
  3. Double click the Setup Nest Cam icon. This will open
    a folder that will have at least one more icon in it.
  4. Double click the Nest Cam Setup (Windows) icon.
camera windows vista setup image


3. Follow the instructions to finish setup 

After you double click the Nest or Dropcam icon, an app will launch and guide you through the following steps:

  1. Create a free account, or sign in if you already have one.
  2. Connect your camera to Wi-Fi. Your camera will scan for nearby networks automatically. Wait a moment for the list of Wi-Fi networks to appear, then choose the network you’d like your camera to use. Be sure to connect only to a wireless network that you trust. You may also be asked to enter the network’s password.

    It can take a little while to find and connect to your Wi-Fi network. If you can't find your network or your camera fails to connect, visit the following articles to help troubleshoot:

    My Wi-Fi network doesn't show up when I try to set up my Nest camera
    Troubleshooting Nest camera and Nest Hello error codes and messages

  3. Pick a name for your camera that matches its location. You can choose a location from the list or select Custom at the bottom of the list to type in your own name. The Nest app will use this location to tell you where alerts are happening and group any other Nest products that match this location.
  4. Finish setup. The Nest app will guide you through some final customization steps, including checking that your camera can stream video on your Wi-Fi network.

If your camera’s video stream doesn't show when you sign into the Nest web app, follow the troubleshooting suggestions in this article:

What to do if you can’t watch Nest Cam video on a Mac or Windows computer

4. Bookmark the Nest web app and sign into the Nest app on your phone

Add a bookmark for the Nest web app to your browser so you can quickly get to your Nest camera video stream and manage your camera’s settings. If you have any other Nest products, you can also manage them here.

Note: Once your camera is set up, you should be able to sign in to the Nest app on your phone to watch video, get alerts, and manage camera settings.

Learn more about what you can do with the Nest app
Get started using your camera

3. Mount your camera

Now you’re ready to install your camera in the spot where you want it to stream video.

Unplug the USB cable from your computer if you haven’t already. Then plug it into your camera’s power adapter.

Both Nest Cam Indoor and Nest Cam Outdoor are designed for DIY installation, but each is mounted differently.

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