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Learn more about Pathlight and how to change its settings


Pathlight basics

  • Pathlight lights your way so that you don’t need to stumble around in the dark. It’s ideal for any location in your home where you’d like a bit of extra light.
  • It’s like a night light that turns on when you walk by your Google Nest Protect or Google Nest Detect, and turns off after you’ve passed.
  • Pathlight uses high-efficiency LED lights that use much less energy than typical incandescent bulbs, so it’s easy on batteries and won’t waste energy.

When Pathlight will turn on, and when it won't

  • Pathlight is designed to turn on in dark rooms or hallways. If there’s enough light to see, Pathlight usually won’t turn on.
  • Both Protect and Detect will sense when you walk past and shine a soft white light to help you find your way in the dark. Ten seconds after you've passed by, Pathlight will turn off.
  • If you have a 120 V wired Nest Protect, you can set Pathlight to always be on. So it will stay on even in the daytime.
  • Pathlight will only turn on after the room has been dark for a short while, usually just a few seconds. It works this way because it takes a little while for your eyes to become accustomed to a darkened room.
  • If Pathlight doesn’t turn on, there may be a bit too much light, or the batteries in your Nest product may be too low. This way, your Nest Protects and Detects can extend their battery life and help keep you safe for as long as possible.

Using Pathlight with pets 

Pathlight is sensitive to you and your pets. Both Protect and Detect activity sensors look for anyone in the room – and that can include Fluffy. Just turn Pathlight off with the Nest app if it’s coming on when you don’t want it to.

How Pathlight works in different Nest products 

To preserve battery life, Pathlight has been optimised differently for Nest Protects and Detects that use batteries. Here are the differences between them:

Product How it works
Battery-powered Protect

On: Pathlight will turn on for about five seconds
as you pass by.

Off: Pathlight will not turn on.

Wired Protect

On: Pathlight will turn on for about ten
seconds as you pass by.

Always on: If you choose ‘Always on’,
Pathlight will turn on when it gets dark, and
turn off when the room brightens up: so you
don’t have to walk by to turn it on. This option
is great for a child’s room or a dark area like a

Off: Pathlight will not turn on.


On: Pathlight will turn on for about five seconds
as you pass by.

Off: Pathlight will not turn on.

How to change Nest Protect Pathlight settings 

Changing the brightness will affect Nest Protect's battery life. We have tested Nest Protect's light brightness range to ensure the best performance while preserving battery life. The default setting is bright enough to light your way in the dark without draining the batteries quickly.

Note: Nest Protect’s long-life LEDs have been rated to exceed the product lifetime (seven years for 1st-gen Nest Protect, ten years for 2nd gen), so Pathlight should work for as long as your Nest Protect does.

  1. Tap Settings Nest settings icon on the Nest app home screen.
  2. Scroll down and select the Nest Protect for which you want to change the settings.
  3. If you want to change Pathlight brightness, select Brightness.  Then choose LowMedium or High.
    If you want to switch Pathlight on or off, Select Nest Sense, then select Pathlight.
    • You can then set Pathlight to On or Off.
    • If you have a wired Nest Protect, you can also choose Always on.
       Important: The brightness and On/Off settings that you choose will also affect the Nightly Promise light. However, even if the light is set to Off, your Nest Protect will continue to test itself and the Nest app will let you know if everything is OK or if there's a problem.
  4. Changes to Nest Protect’s Pathlight settings will take effect within a day for a battery-powered Nest Protect and within an hour for a wired Nest Protect. A clock icon in the app indicates the pending change.

To update Pathlight settings immediately, press the button on your Nest Protect once.

How to change Nest Detect Pathlight settings 

Nest Detect’s Pathlight is off by default to help preserve battery life, and there is no option to turn it on during initial setup. You can change settings with the Nest app at any time after installation, but bear in mind that changing the settings will affect battery life.

  1. Tap Settings Nest settings icon on the Nest app home screen.
  2. Select the Detect for which you want to change the settings.
  3. Tap Pathlight to switch it on or off.
  4. Tap the Brightness menu and select LowMedium or High.

Changes to your Detect’s Pathlight settings will take effect within a few minutes.

Note: Changing Detect’s Pathlight settings will only affect one Detect, so you can have complete control over each Detect in your home. To change other Detect settings, repeat the steps above.

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