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Troubleshoot Nest camera alerts

Google Nest cameras have advanced sound and motion detection that can help you monitor things without being distracted by background activity. But if you get too many or too few camera alerts, or if you don't get notified of activity when you expect, here are some things you can do to make camera alerts work better for you.

Note: This applies to all Nest cameras, Google Nest doorbells and Nest Hub Max.

General troubleshooting

If you don’t get any camera alerts when you expect to, here are a few things you should try:

  • Home app settings are off by default. You can turn notifications on or off at any time.
  • Check that your camera is powered on. Most Nest cameras need to be plugged into a power outlet to stream video and send notifications. If you have a battery-powered camera, make sure it’s charged.
  • Make sure that your camera is online in the app.
  • Make sure that notifications from your camera are turned on in the app.

Tip: Package alerts can work better with person detection also turned on. If you don’t get package alerts when you think you should, make sure that person detection alerts are turned on for the camera or doorbell.

Turn on person detection in the Home app
Turn on person detection in the Nest app

Too few camera alerts

Your camera detected something but you didn't get a camera alert

Nest cameras are designed to alert you when they detect important activity so you don’t get bombarded by notifications. While your camera may notify you when it first detects activity, it shouldn’t send additional notifications as the activity continues.

For example, if you don’t get a notification when someone walked in front of your camera, it may have been because it already detected similar activity moments before.

Troubleshoot

Check your camera’s video history for activity your camera records. That way, you can easily view everything your camera has picked up, even if you didn’t receive an alert.

Video history in the Google Home app
Video history in the Nest app

Something happened but your camera didn't detect it

Nest cameras determine when something moves based on how much an image changes over a short period of time. So, your camera may not send an alert if the following is true:

  • The activity is out of your camera’s field of view.
  • An object is blocking the camera’s view.
  • The camera is very far away from the activity.
  • The lighting in the scene is dim or washed out.

Troubleshoot

You might have to move your camera, change your camera’s angle, or change something in the scene so that you don’t miss important activity. 

Event detection accuracy

Nest cameras and doorbells help show you what's going on at home, but the technology isn't perfect. We try to make our camera events as accurate as possible, but things like the following can happen:

  • A picture can be confused with a real event. For example, a t-shirt with a picture of a dog might trigger an animal detection event.
  • A person crawling on the ground can be misidentified as a pet.
  • Close relatives can be misidentified.

Too many camera alerts

If you get too many notifications from your camera, here are a few things you can do to help:

Adjust which activity you get notifications for

If you need to, you can turn off notifications for certain kinds of events so that your camera only sends alerts for types of activity that you care about.

Note: Anyone who can access your camera in the app can adjust which notifications they get without affecting anyone else. For example, one person can choose to get notifications for all event types, while someone else might want to only get notifications about motion in a specific zone.

Follow the app instructions for your camera to adjust its notifications.

Home app

  1. Open the Home app Google Home app.
  2. Tap and hold your device's tile.
  3. Tap Settings .
  4. Select Notifications.
  5. Choose which events you want to turn notifications off for.
    • Note: If you turn an event off altogether, your camera won't send you a notification when that kind of activity is detected. The event also isn’t marked in your camera’s video history.

Nest app

  1. Open the Nest app Nest app.
  2. On the home screen, select your camera.
  3. Tap Settings Nest settings icon  Notifications.
  4. Choose which events you want to turn notifications off for.

For sound notifications, you can also change your Nest camera’s speaker, microphone and audio settings. Keep in mind that if you turn off the microphone, the live stream and recorded video won’t have any audio.

Set up Activity Zones to reduce unwanted notifications

If your camera detects a lot of activity in a specific area (for example, a busy sidewalk), you can create a zone and set notifications for activity outside the zone only. If you set notifications for activity outside the zone, it can help when you get too many camera alerts but don’t want to turn notifications off completely.

Note: If you've already set up Activity Zones, the Home app should automatically create a zone for you in the area outside your zones.

Follow the app instructions for your camera to use Activity Zones to reduce notifications.

 Home app

  1. Open the Home app Google Home app.
  2. Tap and hold your device's tile.
  3. Tap Settings   tap Events  Seen events.
  4. Under “Activity Zones,” tap Add a zone Plus icon to mark the area you don’t want to receive alerts about. To save, tap Confirm Check.
  5. After you set up a zone, go back to your camera’s settings tap Notifications.
  6. Choose the zone you just created.
  7. Make sure that notifications for any enabled events for the zone are turned off.
  8. Go back to Seen events  tap Outside of zone.
  9. Turn on the events and notifications that you want to get.

Your camera won't send you notifications for activity in that zone, but you can still get notifications for activity in other areas in its view.

Nest app

  1. Open the Nest app Nest app.
  2. On the home screen, select your camera.
  3. Tap Settings Nest settings icon  Activity Zones  Create Zone to mark the area you don’t want to receive alerts about.
  4. After you set up a zone, go back to your camera’s settings  tap Notifications.
  5. Make sure the Activity Zone you just created has both People and All other motion alerts unchecked.
  6. Go back to Notifications  tap Motion outside of a zone.
  7. Check the alerts you want to get.

Your camera won’t send you notifications for activity in that zone, but you can still get notifications for activity in other areas in its view.

Troubleshoot notifications and emails

If you don't get alerts, or if you get alerts but you think you shouldn’t, you can troubleshoot notifications and emails from Nest.

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