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What you'll see on a Nest thermostat

Google Nest thermostats do more than let you change the temperature, they let you know what’s happening. For instance, your thermostat can show you important notifications about issues with your system, the ambient temperature, and the temperature your system is set to reach, and more.

Here’s a complete guide to all the icons, numbers and more of what will appear on your thermostat.

This article applies to the following Google Nest thermostats models:

Nest Thermostat E

Nest thermostat e cooling

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest thermostat heating with silver ring


Thermostats that have the Heat Link

Nest Thermostat E mounted on itNest Thermostat E Heat Link Nest thermostat heating with silver ring3rd gen Heat Link
How to tell which thermostat you have

The temperature screen

This is what you’ll see and use most often. You’ll see the current ambient
temperature, the temperature your thermostat is set to
(the Target Temperature), and icons like the Nest Leaf when relevant.

Thermostat leaf screen

The Quick View menu

Press the ring on your thermostat to switch from the temperature screen
to the Quick View menu. Here you can change your thermostat's mode
(from heating to cooling, for instance) and dig into settings where you can 
change your temperature schedule, update the Wi-Fi network, and more.

Quick view

Notifications and errors

If there’s a problem or something important you should know,
a message will pop-up on your thermostat or in the app.
There may also be an icon on the temperature screen after the
message goes away.

Nest thermostat rush hour screen


3rd gen Nest Learning thermostats also have Farsight.
Farsight shows you practical information such as the time,
the weather or the temperature, in a large format that’s easy to
read from across the room.

Nest thermostat farsight

The temperature screen 

The basics 

Nest Learning thermostat heating Nest thermostat E cooling

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest Thermostat E

Nest thermostat temperature Nest thermostat e labels
Nest Learning Thermostat Nest Thermostat E


  • The temperature screen will show you the current temperature in your home, and the temperature your system is set to.

    • The small number near the edge of the screen is the Current Temperature measured by your thermostat’s sensors. If you have a Nest Temperature Sensor that’s currently active, you’ll see the temperature measured by the sensor, which is typically located in a different room from the one your thermostat is in.
    • The large number in the center of the screen is the Target Temperature. This is the temperature your system is set to heat or cool to. Turn your thermostat’s ring clockwise or counterclockwise to adjust the Target Temperature.
    • You’ll see “ECO” and the Nest Leaf icon instead of a number indicating the temperature when your thermostat is set to Eco Temperatures to help save energy.
  • Icons will appear at the bottom of the temperature screen to let you know what’s happening, like when your thermostat is using certain features. For instance, you’ll see the Nest Leaf to let you know that you’ve selected an energy-saving temperature. Refer to the icons section below for details.

  • The color will change between orange (heating) blue (cooling) and black (off or ECO) depending on your system’s current state. You may also see a message like “Heat set to” or “Cooling.”
  • The thermostat screen will turn off when it notices that there hasn’t been any recent activity nearby. If you’ve enabled Farsight, the screen will switch to showing you the option you’ve selected (the room temperature, time, weather, etc.).
  • Important notifications such as an error, issue with your system, or an upcoming energy Rush Hour will be automatically shown on the temperature screen. You can manually dismiss most notifications, except critical errors. Notifications will automatically disappear after a while, or when the issue is resolved. 
  • Press the thermostat to manually switch to the Quick View screen if needed. Remember, Nest thermostats don’t have touchscreens, press down until you hear a click.
  • You can also see the temperature screen in the Nest app. Just tap your thermostat on the app home screen to bring it up. There are some key differences between what you’ll see on your thermostat’s temperature screen and the one in the app.

    Differences between the app and thermostat temperature screens

When you manually change the temperature on your
thermostat or with the app, you’ll see how long it will take
for your home to reach the temperature you’ve chosen.

Your Nest thermostat will estimate the Time-to-
Temperature in increments of five minutes. If it’s less than
ten minutes until the temperature you’ve selected is reached,
the display will read, “less than ten minutes.” If it’s more than
two hours, Nest will read “IN 2+ HR.”

Nest thermostat gen 3 time to temperature

Once the target temperature is reached, the Time-to-Temperature will disappear, and the screen background will turn from orange (heating) or blue (cooling) to black.

The Time-to-Temperature estimate will get more accurate as your thermostat continues to learn about your home, your system’s efficiency, and how quickly your home warms up and cools down.

When Time to Temperature won't appear

  • Time-to-Temperature estimates will only appear for temperatures that you’ve manually set with the thermostat or the Nest app. Temperatures that you have put into your schedule and temperatures added by Auto-Schedule won’t have a Time-to-Temperature displayed.

  • Your Nest thermostat won’t display a Time-to-Temperature estimate if continuous heating or cooling is needed to maintain the temperature that you have selected or if the temperature fluctuates unexpectedly. For example, if you have a poorly insulated home and an extreme cold front rolls in, your heating system might have to constantly cycle to keep the temperature up. In this case, the display will simply read “HEATING” without a time.

Differences between the app and thermostat temperature screens

There are some differences between what will appear in the app and on your thermostat. The app has some extra options for system controls, the current humidity in your home, and information about all the temperature sensors connected to your thermostat.

On your thermostat:

  • Whether your system is heating, cooling or idle
  • The target temperature that your system is set to heat or cool to
  • Fan (when it’s running)
  • Time-to-Temperature
  • Nest Leaf (depending on target temperature)
  • Eco (when thermostat switches to Eco Temperatures)

In the app:

  • System Mode (to switch between Heat, Cool, Heat • Cool, Eco and Off modes)
  • Fan control (to manually turn your system’s fan on and off)
  • Schedule (to change the temperature schedule)
  • History (to view your Energy History)
  • The current humidity in your home
  • Settings (to change Eco Temperatures, set a fan schedule, lock the thermostat, and more)
  • Nest Temperature Sensors that are connected to your thermostat. This will also include the temperatures they’re reporting and useful information like “Room tends to be cooler than at the thermostat,” or “Weak connection to the thermostat” if you may need to move it closer.
thermostat temperature screen temperature screen
Nest Learning Thermostat Nest Thermostat E

Temperature screen icons 

The icons below appear when needed. However, this will depend on your system as well as whether you’ve opted into an energy savings program. So, you may not see one or more of them at all.

Nest Leaf

leaf icon

This icon will appear when your thermostat is set to an energy efficient temperature. Use the Nest Leaf as a guide to help you save energy.

Learn more about the Nest Leaf

Rush Hour Rewards 
Seasonal Savings

seasonal savings icon

This icon appears during either a Rush Hour or Seasonal Savings event.

Learn about Rush Hour Rewards

Learn about Seasonal Savings


fan icon

If you can turn on your system’s fan independently of heating or cooling, the fan icon will appear on the temperature screen when it’s running.

How to control your fan with the Nest thermostat


air wave icon

This icon will appear on your temperature screen if your Nest thermostat is using Airwave to help save you energy.

Learn about Airwave


thermostat humidity icon

This icon is displayed on the temperature screen whenever your Nest thermostat is using your system to adjust the humidity in your home. This icon will only appear if you have a humidifier or dehumidifier installed on your thermostat.

You can set times when your humidifier or dehumidifier won’t run, so they won’t disturb you. Learn How to change Quiet Time settings.


thermostat sunblock icon

This icon will appear when Sunblock uses your Nest thermostat’s light and temperature sensors to help keep you comfortable.

Learn about Sunblock

The Quick View Menu

The Quick View menu gives you easy access to important
settings and information about your thermostat.

Press your thermostat’s ring to open the Quick View
menu. It will show you several options to choose from, each
represented by an icon. Turn the ring and press to select the
one you want.

Quick view


thermostat done icon

Select this icon and the current time and day of the week will appear as well as the temperature and humidity in your home. 

Note: If your thermostat isn’t connected to Wi-Fi, you won’t find weather information.

Select this icon and press the thermostat ring to return to the temperature screen.


thermostat off icon


Thermostat heat icon


Thermostat Cool icon


Thermostat heat cool icon

Select the mode icon tochoose whether your thermostat uses heating, cooling or both to keep your home comfortable. The available modes will depend on your equipment. So example, you’ll only see Cool and Heat • Cool modes if your thermostat is connected to central air conditioning.

The color of this icon will change so you can easily tell what your thermostat is set to. 

Switch between thermostat modes
Learn about Off mode


leaf icon

Your thermostat will automatically switch to Eco Temperature when your home is unoccupied to help save energy. You can also manually set it by selecting this icon.

Learn about Eco temperatures


fan icon

This icon will appear only if your system has a fan that can be controlled separately from heating and cooling. Select this icon to turn your fan on or off right away, or set a daily schedule.

How to control your fan with the Nest thermostat


thermostat history icon

Select this icon to bring up a quick summary of yesterday's energy use if it’s available. 

Press the thermostat ring to see more details about your Energy History for the last 10 days.

Note: If you have a Nest thermostat E, you’ll find History under Settings  instead.

How to read your Energy History


thermostat schedule

Highlight this icon to show the next upcoming temperature in your schedule. 

Select this icon to view and change your weekly schedule.

Note: If you have a Nest thermostat E, you’ll find Schedule under Settings  instead.

Edit your Nest thermostat’s temperature schedule


Settings icon

Settings is where you can change your thermostat’s options and view detailed information that can help you troubleshoot problems.

Select this icon to access and change thermostat settings like screen brightness, Eco Temperatures, network connection, and more.

Learn about settings on the Nest thermostat

Exclamation point

Thermostat offline icon

Note: If the thermostat is offline, you'll see an exclamation point inside the Settings icon. You can still control your heating and cooling with the thermostat, but you won’t be able to control the temperature with the Nest app.

Troubleshoot an offline thermostat

The Farsight screen

The 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat can automatically wake up and switch to the Farsight screen when there’s activity within 20 feet. The Farsight screen shows you useful information in a large format that makes it easy to read even from the other side of the room.

Things Farsight can show you 

You can choose what Farsight shows you, or turn it
off in your Nest thermostat’s settings:

  • The thermostat’s target temperature
  • The current room temperature
  • An analog clock
  • A digital clock
  • The weather and forecast

Note: No matter which Farsight setting you choose,
your thermostat will always go to sleep to conserve
power, and show you important messages such as
smoke and carbon monoxide alerts from your Nest
Protect, Furnace Heads-Up, or any other error or
alert that requires your attention.

Nest thermostat farsight clock

Farsight changes when you get closer to your thermostat 

When the Farsight screen is active, it will automatically show you more details when you get closer to your thermostat, within about 3 feet. Below are examples of what will appear, depending on your Farsight setting.

Note: To exit Farsight and use your thermostat to change the temperature or other settings, press on your thermostat or turn the ring.


When you're up to 20 feet


When you're within about 3


None (off)

Nest thermostat black screen
Display stays off

Nest thermostat farsight temperature

Target temperature

Nest thermostat farsight target temperature

Nest thermostat farsight temperature

Current room temperature

farsight thermostat

Nest thermostat farsight temperature

Analog clock

thermostat farsight clock

Nest thermostat farsight clock

Digital clock

farsight clock

farsight clock digital

Weather and forecast

farsight weather

farsight weather near

Farsight is disabled when your thermostat's battery is low 

Your thermostat charges its internal battery with the power it gets from the wires connected to your system. It closely monitors its internal battery charge level, and if it gets too low, your thermostat will take energy saving measures to help ensure you have full control of your heating and cooling, and access to critical thermostat features. 

When the charge gets low enough, Farsight will automatically turn off until the battery recharges. You’ll still be able to use your thermostat as usual, but the display will only turn on when you’re within about 3 feet. After your thermostat has had a chance to recharge its battery enough, Farsight will work again.

Why only 3rd gen Nest Learning Thermostats have Farsight 

  • 3rd gen thermostats have advanced sensors needed to sense your presence from farther away. 
  • Farsight takes advantage of the larger, high-res screen on the 3rd gen thermostat so it’s easy to read.

Note: Farsight is available only on 3rd gen Nest Learning Thermostats with software 5.0 or later installed.

How to change Farsight settings 

By default, the 3rd gen Nest Learning Thermostat has Farsight on and will show you the target temperature. You can turn Farsight off or change what it shows you with your thermostat.

  1. Press the thermostat ring to open the Quick View screen.
  2. Turn the ring to Settings Settings icon and press to select.
  3. Select Display  Farsight
  4. Now you can choose what Farsight will show you, or turn it off by selecting None.

Error codes and notifications 

You’ll find messages on your Nest thermostat letting you
know about things that you should know and may need your
attention. Certain thermostat errors and
notifications will also appear in the Nest app.
Nest thermostat rush hour screen

Here’s a short list of key notifications that may appear on your thermostat:

Thermostat error codes

Your thermostat will show you an error message when it detects a problem with things like wiring, Wi-Fi, or power.

Sometimes you can dismiss an error code if it’s non-critical. However, it may come back if the problem persists. Other issues that require your immediate attention will remain on your thermostat until the problem is fixed.

Troubleshoot error codes: When you see an error code, your thermostat will tell you a bit about the problem. To get help with a specific thermostat error message, make a note of the code in the message ( typically a letter followed by two numbers) and look it up in our troubleshoot thermostat error codes article for specific troubleshooting steps.

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