Tips for getting the most out of activity alerts from your Nest camera

Google Nest cameras have advanced activity detection that can help you keep an eye on things without being distracted by background activity. Beyond the basics, there are a lot of things you can do to make your alerts work better for you.

Understanding how Nest cameras work can help you set up better alerts for sound and motion. For a quick explanation, see How Nest cameras detect sound and motion.

Note: This article applies to any Nest product that captures video including all our Nest camera models and the Nest Hello video doorbell.

Here are some more tips to help you get the most out of activity alerts:

Expect intelligent alerts rather than constant notifications

Nest cameras are designed to alert you when they detect activity. But you don’t want to get bombarded by notifications. So your camera will only send a notification when it senses important activity. To do this, it uses advanced algorithms that learn and improve over time. So while your camera may notify you when it first detects activity, it won’t send additional notifications as the activity continues.

If you’re not getting notified when there’s activity – for example, when you walk in front of Nest Cam – make sure you didn’t receive an alert recently.

With an optional Google Nest Aware subscription, your Sightline and video history timeline show markers for all events. You can easily view everything your camera picked up, even if you didn’t receive an alert.

How to use Sightline to watch your camera’s video >

To learn more about setting up or troubleshooting alerts, see the following articles:

How to set up alerts for your camera >

Troubleshooting push notifications and email alerts from Nest >

Place your camera close to the activity you want to monitor

Nest cameras determine when something is moving, based on how much an image changes over a short amount of time. If your camera is very far away from the activity you want to monitor, you might not get alerts. Try to find a place where your camera is out of the way but still close enough to properly detect activity.

Where to put your camera so you can keep an eye on what you want >

If you have a GoogleNest Hello, you'll probably be installing it right where your old doorbell was. However, if the view isn't quite right, try using the optional wedge included with your doorbell that tilts your camera 15° to give you a better view.

Checking the light

The more light in the scene, the better your camera can detect activity. When your camera is monitoring an area that appears extremely dim or washed out in the Nest app, your camera’s algorithms may not be able to notice subtle changes in the picture. If you’re not getting alerts about motion in a poorly lit area, you can try setting Night Vision Nestcam Night Vision icon to Always On. Keep in mind, whenever Night Vision is on, your video will be in black and white.

Learn more about Night Vision >

If your camera’s having trouble spotting motion due to glare from the sun or other lights, try mounting it up high and angling it downward, or place it in a different spot where there’s less glare. If you have a Nest Hello, try installing it under an eave to limit the amount of direct sunlight.

Turn off sound detection if you need to

Nest cameras can figure out the difference between steady background noise and any sounds you need to be notified about. Even so, if there’s a lot of irregular noise in the area, you may get a lot of alerts. Nest cameras pick up noise from all around, not just from things in the camera’s view.

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

You might get more notifications for sound if you have an outdoor camera installed in a spot where there’s always something going on, like birds chirping or cars and pedestrians passing by.

If you need to, you can turn off sound notifications altogether, while still getting notifications about motion.

How to set up alerts for your camera >

Subscribe to Nest Aware for more intelligent alerts 

A Nest Aware subscription service adds extra computing power to your camera.

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

With Nest Aware, cloud servers run advanced algorithms to help your camera do an even better job of figuring out whether or not an activity should trigger an alert. For example, your camera can let you know when it has seen or heard someone. And with certain models, you can get an even more advanced familiar or unfamiliar face alert.

Learn more about the alerts you'll get from your camera >

Set up Activity Zones

A Nest Aware subscription is required to set up and use Activity Zones.

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

Activity Zones let you customize certain areas of your camera’s view that you want to keep an eye on. Your camera will continue to record the whole view, but you can choose not to get notified about motion outside the zones.

For example, let's say there's an important door in your camera's view. You can set up an Activity Zone on the door and only get an alert when the door opens.

In addition, Activity Zones can help if you have a camera installed outside and it’s sending too many notifications for ongoing activities like people or vehicles passing by.

For more information about using Activity Zones, see the following article.

How to set up and use Activity Zones >

Customize your alerts from a shared camera

With Family Accounts, you can invite others to create their own accounts in the Nest app and share access to your camera as well as any other Nest products in your home.

Learn more about Family Accounts and inviting others to share access to your Nest home >

Each person who shares access can control their own camera alert settings in the Nest app. For example, one person can choose to get every single notification available, while someone else might want to only get notifications about motion in a particular Activity Zone. So if you’re getting too many notifications from a shared camera, or you want to get more, you can change settings in the Nest app without affecting which notifications other people get.

How to set up alerts for your camera >

Troubleshoot your camera's activity alerts

If you aren’t getting alerts, or if you’re getting alerts when you think you shouldn’t, check the following article:

Troubleshooting notifications and emails >

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