Learn about Nest Secure before you buy

Google Nest Secure is made up of Google Nest Guard,  Google Nest Detect, Google Nest Tag, and the Nest app. You can customize Nest Secure to fit your home, change settings with the Nest app, get a reminder if you leave home without setting the alarm, and more.

Here are some frequently asked questions to help you learn a little more about Nest Secure.

If your question isn’t answered here, check out the Nest Secure User Guide (PDF: 32 pages) and the Nest Secure Welcome Guide (PDF: 10 pages).

Nest secure guard front top angle image. Nest secure tag front angle image. Nest secure detect front angle image.
Nest Guard
Alarm, keypad, microphone, motion sensor
and the brains of the system.
Nest Tag
Key fob to quickly arm and
disarm your home.
Nest Detect sensor with
open-close magnet

Senses when a door or
window opens or when
someone walks nearby.

Getting started with Nest Secure

Can you show me how it works?

Absolutely. We have some short videos that can give you a good idea of what it’s like to set up and use Nest Secure in your home.

Meet Nest Secure (1 minute)

How to install and set up Nest Secure (8 minutes)

Where can I put Nest Secure and what does it see?

Nest Secure includes one Guard (the brains of the system) and two Detects (small multi-purpose sensors). Both can sense motion.

Guard can sense motion from people walking up to 10 feet (3 m) away.

Detect can sense motion from people walking up to 15 feet (4.5 m) away. If you install it on a door or window, it can sense opening and closing.

When you’re first setting up a Detect, the Nest app on your phone will ask you whether you want to install it on a door, window or wall. It can sense different things depending on where you’re going to install it:

  detect on door image detect on window image detect on wall image
  On a door On a window On a wall
  Nest Detect can
sense when a door
opens or closes, or
when someone
walks nearby
Nest Detect can
sense when a
window opens or
Nest Detect can
sense when someone
walks nearby

Detects motion
In room or hallway

check mark icon   check mark icon
Detects open-close
(requires open-close
magnet, included)
check mark icon check mark icon  


How many Detects do I need for my home?

The Nest Secure starter pack comes with two Detects,
but you can purchase more. How many Detects you
install will depend on the size and layout of your home
as well as what exactly you want to monitor. Although
you can have up to 30 Detects in your home, most
homes won’t need nearly that many. In fact, you may be
able to place just a few Detects in strategic spots and
still cover the areas where an intruder is likely to go.

In addition to Detects, the Nest Secure starter pack
comes with a Guard which also has a motion sensor.
Guard should be placed where you typically enter and
exit your home most often. For additional tips, see the following article:

Where to place a Guard in your home >

Secure Detect mounted

Where you place the Detects is up to you, but you may not need both a Detect and Guard watching the same location. So for instance, you could place a Detect on the back door if Guard is near your front door. Read more tips at the following link:

Where to place Detects around your home >

How far apart can I place the Detects from the Guard?

You can place Detects up to 50 feet away from Guard, but the
range can vary depending on your home’s construction,
wireless interference and other factors.

If one or more of your Detects can’t connect to Guard after
you’ve installed them, the app will list them as offline. You can
add a Google Nest Connect to help bridge the gap.

Nest Connect will extend the range of your connection
between your Guard and Detect. This will allow you to place
your Detect more than 50 feet away from your Guard. For more
information, see the following article:

FAQs about Nest Connect >

Nest secure connect front angle image.


How can a camera help me use my alarm system?

An outdoor camera can act as an intrusion deterrent
when it’s in full view, while a camera placed indoors can
catch an intruder off guard.

If something triggers Nest Secure’s alarm, a camera can
help you see who’s there and what’s happening. If you
subscribe to Google Nest Aware, your Google Nest camera can also alert you when it sees a person and you’ll have footage
saved to the cloud. Keep in mind, the camera will not
trigger Nest Secure to sound the alarm.

For more information about Nest cameras and how
they can help you keep an eye on things, see the following articles:

FAQs about outdoor Nest cameras >

FAQs about indoor Nest Cam IQ >

Cam IQ outdoor image

Are professional installers available?

Yes. We designed Nest Secure to be easy to install yourself, but you could have a pro do it for you.

A pro can take care of installation from start to finish, and even show you how to use your system after it’s set up. Don’t want to install it yourself? Contact our installation partner, OnTech, to help you check your system’s compatibility, install, and set up your Nest products.

Nest Pros are independent contractors who have access to exclusive training and tools for Nest products, so they can help you evaluate the needs of your home and your family and get the most out of your installation.

Note: Nest Pros are a network of independent companies or contractors and are not employed by Nest.

What are the technical specification for Nest Secure?

You can see technical specifications for Nest Secure here.

Is Nest Secure UL certified?

Yes, Guard and Detect are UL certified. For more information, see the following article:

Learn more about Nest Secure certifications >

Using Nest Secure

How do I arm and disarm Nest Secure?

There are several easy ways to arm and disarm Nest Secure.
For example, you can use the Nest app whether you're home or
away. You can also hold Tag on Guard to tag in and out, or
simply enter your passcode on Guard's keypad. For more ways
to arm and disarm, see the following article:

How to arm and disarm Nest Secure >

Nest Secure has three arming levels.

The table below summarizes what happens for each level:

Secure guard keypad


Security level

What happens

What’s detected



Nest Guard off

Use when you don’t want security.

The alarm won’t sound.



Home and Guarding

Home guard icon

Use when you’re home and want security.

The alarm sounds when a door or window opens.


Motion (optional)

Alarm and security alerts

Away and Guarding 

Away and guarding

Use when no one is home.

The alarm sounds when a door or window opens, or when there’s motion in a room.



Alarm and security alerts

Can I arm and disarm with the Nest App?

Yes. Whether you’re home or away, you can open the Nest app and switch your alarm system to Away and Guarding Away and guardingHome and Guarding Home guard icon, or Off Nest Guard off. You can also turn off the alarm if it got triggered accidentally by someone you know.

For more things you can do with the Nest app, visit the following article:

Learn about using the Nest app to manage your Nest Secure alarm system >

The Nest app can also send you a reminder if Nest Secure isn’t armed after everyone’s left home. Read more about this helpful feature in the article below:

Learn how Remind Me notifications work and how to use them >

Watch a short video

Will my pet set off the alarm?

We made Nest Secure dog friendly. If you have a small
to medium sized dog (under 40 pounds) you can follow
the instructions in the Nest app to install Nest Secure
to accommodate your dog. You’ll also turn on Reduced
Motion Sensitivity
 mode in the app.

Learn about using Reduced Motion Sensitivity >

When Reduced Motion Sensitivity is enabled, Nest
Secure won’t ignore animals that climb, jump, or fly
(like cats and birds) because motion that occurs higher above the floor can be caused by a
human intruder. Similarly, a large pet’s movement and heat signature can look like a
human’s to Nest Secure.

detect reduced side image

If you have a pet other than a small to medium sized dog, you can disable motion detection on some or all of your Detects, and for Guard if needed.

How to change Nest Secure settings with the app >

Will my other Nest products help detect intruders?

No, other Nest products currently don’t trigger Nest Secure’s alarm.

Nest uses motion detected by Google Nest Protect and Google Nest Thermostat for Home/Away Assist, but not to trigger Nest Secure’s alarm. Nest Protect and Nest Thermostat detect occupancy, not intrusion. With intrusion we need to be more certain that it is a person in the room to avoid false alarms. Also, devices must be certified for security in order to sound the alarm.

If the Nest camera detects a person, you can receive a Person Alert notification on your phone but the camera will not trigger Nest Secure to sound the alarm.

What other settings can I change?

At Nest, we’ve designed home security for the people who live there. So Nest Secure gives you different ways to set up your alarm system depending on your family’s needs.

Simply open the Nest app on your phone or tablet and choose the settings you want.

How to change Nest Secure settings >

Customizing Nest Secure 

Can I pick how much time I have before the alarm triggers?

Yes. The Nest app offers a range of options for the alarm countdown. You can even choose one countdown timer for leaving and a different timer for coming home.

How to customize Nest Secure's entry countdown time for Guard and Detects >

Can I set an arming and disarming schedule for a visitor? 

Yes. When you invite someone to share access to your home, you can give them Home Entry Only access. This means they’ll only be able to use the Tag or passcode you assign to them, and you can schedule when they’re able to arm and disarm Nest Secure. If someone overstays their welcome and the alarm goes off, they won’t be able to turn it off.

See the following article for details:

Learn about home entry schedules and how to change them >

Can I turn off motion detection for one or more Detects?

Yes, you can turn off motion detection for any Detect that’s installed on a door if you only want open-close detection. For instance, this can be useful for sliding doors with curtains. Curtains can move and set off the motion sensor, but you still might want to know when the door opens and closes. This option is in the Nest app: Settings   Security Select Home and Guarding or Away and Guarding  Motion detection  Tap the switch next to the Detect to turn motion detection on or off.

Note: If you want the motion detection setting on a Detect to be the same for both Home and Guarding and Away and Guarding, you'll have to go into each security level.

How to change Nest Secure settings with the app >

You don’t need to worry about Detects on windows since motion detection is disabled for them.

You can’t turn off motion detection for Detects installed on walls since wall-mounted Detects only look for motion. If your pets are causing a wall-mounted Detect to trigger alarms, a different approach might be to install your Detect somewhere else. Our article about moving Detect to a new location will walk you through the process.

Can I change my passcode?

Yes, and the Nest app makes it easy.

If you’re the Owner of the Nest home or you’re a family member with Full access, you can pick your own passcode or have a random passcode assigned to you.

If you have Home Entry Only access, simply ask the Owner or someone with Full access to change your passcode for you.

The following article explains the breakdown between the Owner, Full access, and Home Entry Only:

Learn about Family Accounts and different levels of access >

For instructions on changing a passcode:

How to set or change the entry passcode for Nest Secure >

Can I disable a Tag or assign it to someone else?

Yes to both. We made it easy to disable access if something happens to your Tag. Simply disable it in the Nest app. You can even turn it back on again if it eventually turns up.

How to disable Tag >

You can loan someone your Tag for a short time without assigning it to them in the Nest app. But if you do this, the Nest app’s Security History won’t be able to tell you who was using it. So you might want to go ahead and assign the Tag to them.

How to transfer a Tag to a different person 

When something happens 

What will happen if there's a break in?

When Nest Secure is set to Away and Guarding Away and guarding or Home
and Guarding
 Home guard icon and someone trips one of the sensors, a
loud alarm sounds. For details, see the article below:

Learn about what can trigger Nest Secure’s alarm >

As long as Nest Secure has a Wi-Fi or cellular connection,
you’ll also be notified in the Nest app so you’ll know what’s
going on and can call the police if needed.

If you want further assistance in case of a break-in, 24/7
professional monitoring from Brinks Home Security is
available: brinkshome.com/nest.

Learn more about professional monitoring for Nest
Secure >

Security event guard app screen


What does the alarm sound like and how loud is it?

Per UL certification, Guard’s siren is set at 85 dB at 10 feet (3 meters). It is not adjustable to ensure that it’s always loud enough.

In addition, Guard’s light ring will flash red and it will say what triggered the alarm and where. For example, “The window was opened in the master bedroom”. This will repeat for 10 minutes. Visit the following article to learn more:

What happens when Nest Secure’s alarm sounds >

And, as long as Nest Secure has a Wi-Fi or cellular connection, you can get a notification in the Nest app when the alarm is triggered.

Watch a short video

Note: Guard’s alarm is 85dB at 10 feet (3 meters). The sound in the video may be quieter or louder, depending on your volume setting.

Can Nest Secure detect breaking glass?

Yes, read our glass break detection article to learn more.

Can Nest Secure work during a power outage?

Yes. Guard comes with a backup battery that will keep it powered on for at least 12 hours in case it gets unplugged or your home’s power is out. Nest Secure will still be able to look after your home and sound the alarm if needed, and you’ll still have access to key security features such as arming and disarming with a passcode or a Tag. More details at the following article:

How Nest Secure keeps working if the power goes out >

If your home’s power goes out, your Wi-Fi might go down too. Adding professional monitoring with cellular backup can allow your Nest Secure to continue to send you notifications about security events in your home.

Learn more about cellular backup >

Your Detect sensors don’t depend on Wi-Fi to communicate activity to Guard. See the section below for more information.

Can Nest Secure work if Wi-Fi goes down?

Yes. Although Nest Secure uses Wi-Fi for certain things like sending notifications to your phone, it doesn’t rely on Wi-Fi to monitor activity or sound the alarm. The Detects installed throughout your home use a different technology called Weave to communicate with Guard. So, if any of your Detects sense activity, Guard can sound the alarm even without a Wi-Fi connection.

However, without Wi-Fi, you won’t be able to use the Nest app to view and control your alarm system or get notifications. Adding professional monitoring with cellular backup lets your Nest Secure continue sending you notifications about security events. For more information, including a chart showing which Nest Secure features are available with and without Wi-Fi, visit the following article:

Learn more about cellular backup >


Does Nest charge a monthly fee to use Nest Secure?

No. Your starter pack comes with Guard, two Detects and two Tags. You’ll also need a working Wi-Fi internet connection in your home, and you’ll need to install the free Nest app on your phone or tablet. After you set up and install your alarm system there’s no additional monthly fee to use it.

An optional professional monitoring with cellular backup subscription is available for Nest Secure. This subscription is not required to use your Nest Secure alarm system and it's up to you to decide if it is right for you and your home.

What comes included with Nest Secure

All the features listed in the Welcome Guide except professional monitoring and cellular backup come included with your Nest Secure at no additional charge. Your starter pack comes with two Detects, one Guard (also a motion sensor), and two Tags. Along with your home Wi-Fi and the Nest app on your phone or tablet, this is everything you need to use your alarm system. If you decide you want more coverage around your home, you can add additional Detects as needed.

Here are a few key features that come included:

Optional services not included

  • Professional monitoring: If Nest Secure sends a notification to your phone, you’ll need to respond to it yourself. 24/7 professional monitoring is an extra layer of security, provided by our professional monitoring partner Brinks Home Security, that links you up with trained experts to help you through an emergency. Professional monitoring comes with Cellular Backup, see details below.
  • Cellular Backup: Cellular backup will kick in if your home Wi-Fi goes down. Your Guard and Detects don’t rely on Wi-Fi to talk to each other, but Guard needs Wi-Fi to send notifications to your phone. With cellular backup your Guard can send notifications without Wi-Fi. For more details, see the next question.

That’s it! All of Nest Secure’s other features are included when you purchase your starter kit.

What is cellular backup and how does it work?

Normally, Guard uses Wi-Fi to connect to the internet so you can get alerts and manage security settings on your phone no matter where you are.

If your home’s power is out or your Wi-Fi goes down, a cellular backup subscription can help to make Guard and Detect even more reliable.

For details, visit the following article:

Learn more about cellular backup >

If you subscribe to professional monitoring (see below), a cellular backup subscription is included.

What is professional monitoring and how does it work?

Without professional monitoring it’s up to you to respond to your alarm and call the police if needed.

Professional monitoring is an extra layer of security for you, provided by our professional monitoring partner Brinks Home Security. Alarm events can be stressful, and it’s not always easy to know what to do when time is of the essence. With 24/7 professional monitoring by Brinks Home Security, trained experts are there to help you through an emergency.

When you subscribe to professional monitoring, security advisors actively monitor your Nest Secure alarm system and will contact you if your alarm is triggered. If needed, they’ll contact authorities on your behalf, relaying important information to help resolve the situation.

Professional monitoring includes a cellular backup subscription.

Learn more about professional monitoring for Nest Secure >

Note: Professional monitoring does not include security partner monitoring or agent response for Nest Protect smoke or CO alarms.

How to buy 


Where can I buy Nest Secure?

You can buy the Nest Secure starter kit, Detects and Tags at the Google store.

Can I buy more Detect and Tags?

Yes. Additional Detects and Tags are available for purchase separately. You can buy them at the Google Store.

Are there any bundles, promotions or discounts available?

Visit the Google store to see if we're currently offering a discount on any optional add-ons, like a Nest camera, when you purchase a Nest Secure alarm system.

There are also several ways you can keep in touch with us for the latest announcements. The best way is to enter your email address at the bottom of nest.com to sign up for Nest news.  You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

When is Nest Secure coming to other countries?

Nest Secure will only be available in the US to start. We’re working hard to make Nest products available to use and enjoy across the world.

We’re excited to see the reaction to a security system that is tough on intruders and easy on you. A number of elements of the Nest Secure experience need adaptation for other markets — such as cellular backup and professional monitoring options.

At Nest we set the bar very high for customer experience and there is also a need to test our security systems in many homes and apartments across the European countries where we sell Nest products and services.

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