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Learn about Nest Secure

The Nest Secure alarm system includes Nest Guard, Nest Detect, 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.

Get started with Nest Secure

Can you show me how it works?

Absolutely. Below are 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 detect?

Nest Secure includes one Guard (the brains of the system) and 2 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 2 Detects. 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.

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.

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 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.

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, your camera will automatically turn on, even if it’s scheduled to be off. If you don’t have a Nest Aware subscription, you’ll get a snapshot. If you do have Nest Aware, a video clip of the event will be saved to the cloud. Just scroll to the event marker in your camera’s sightline to review the saved footage.

If you subscribe to Nest Aware, your Nest camera can also alert you when it views 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.

FAQs about outdoor Nest cameras 

FAQs about indoor Nest Cam IQ 

Cam IQ outdoor image

Are professional installers available?

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

A Nest Pro can take care of installation from start to finish, and even show you how to use your system after it’s set up. If you’d like to have a Nest Pro install your system, use our Nest Pro Finder to locate a professional installer in your area.

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?

Is Nest Secure UL certified?

Yes, Guard and Detect are UL certified.

Learn more about Nest Secure certifications 

Use 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.

How to arm and disarm Nest Secure 

Nest Secure has 3 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.

Open or close


Home and Guarding

Home guard icon

Use when you’re home and want security.

The alarm sounds when a door or window opens.

Open or close

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.

Open or close


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.

Use 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.

How Remind Me notifications work and how to use them 

Watch a short video

Will my pet set off the alarm?

 Nest Secure was made to be 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 Protects and Google Nest thermostats to automatically switch to Home or Away mode, but not to trigger Nest Secure’s alarm. Nest Protect and Nest Thermostat detect occupancy, not intrusion. With intrusion, you 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.

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

How to change Nest Secure settings

Customize 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.

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 or 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  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. since motion detection is disabled for them.

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.

Learn about Family Accounts and different levels of access

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. It's 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.

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

Learn more about professional monitoring for Nest

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.

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, visit the 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.

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. Check 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 Learn more about cellular backup article.


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, check 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, check the next question.

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.

Learn more about cellular backup 

If you subscribe to professional monitoring, 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.

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