Learn about Nest Secure arming levels

Google Nest Secure has three arming levels. When set to Off, it won’t sound any security alarms. When set to Home and Guarding it will only sound an alarm when it notices a door or window opening. When set to Away and Guarding, an alarm will sound if your system notices a door or window opening or if it senses motion in your home.

Here’s a summary of Nest Security’s different levels and what’s monitored by default.

Security level

What happens

What’s detected



Nest Guard off

Use when you don’t want security.

The alarm won’t



Home and Guarding

Home guard icon

Use when you’re
home and want

The alarm sounds
when a door or
window opens.


Alarm and security alerts

Away and Guarding 

Away and guarding

Use when no one is

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



Alarm and security alerts


To learn how to switch between security levels, see the following article.

             How to arm and disarm Nest Secure >

No matter which level Nest Secure is set to, you can press the Panic button on Google Nest Guard to immediately sound an alarm.

             Learn more about the Panic button >

Off                                                                                                                                                   Nest Guard off


When you’re at home and you don’t want any activity to trigger an alarm, set your system to Off.

This level is commonly referred to as “Disarmed” in other security systems.

More details about Off

Even while it’s set to Off, Guard still works behind the scenes to help keep you informed.

If there’s an issue, such as a low battery in Google Nest Detect or a Wi-Fi outage, Guard’s Info button will light up and you can get a notification on your phone.

In addition, your Detects continue to keep track of doors and windows. Opening them won’t trigger an alarm, but you can see exactly which ones opened in the Nest app’s Security History.

           Learn about Nest Security History >

In order to prevent a false alarm, switch to Off whenever you need to change something about your system, such as:

  • Moving Guard or Detect to a new location
  • Replacing Detect’s battery
  • Unplugging Guard

Home and Guarding                                                                                                                     Home guard icon

Watch a short video 

You can use Home and Guarding at night when you’re sleeping or during the day when you plan on being inside for a while. Your family and pets can walk around inside without triggering an alarm.

Home and Guarding is commonly referred to as “Stay” or “Perimeter” in other security systems.

More details about Home and Guarding

If your system notices a door or window opening, Guard will sound a Heads-Up and give you some time to disarm before sounding an alarm.

You can also turn motion detection on if you don’t frequently occupy certain areas of your home. For instance, if you’ll be upstairs at night, you can turn motion detection on for certain Detects installed on the ground floor. You’ll get a Heads-Up first and then an alarm.

How to enable motion detection when Home and Guarding >

If you need to, you can open a door or window from the inside without disarming everything else. See the following article for more information about Quiet Open.

Learn about Quiet Open >

Away and Guarding                                                                                                                      Away and guarding

Watch a short video 

usually known as “Away” in other systems.

Keep in mind if you have any pets, their motion may trigger alarms.

  • For a dog under 40 lb (18 kg), turn on Reduced Sensitivity to help reduce false alarms.

            Learn about Reduced Motion Sensitivity >

  • For a larger dog, a cat, or any pet whose motion may trigger an alarm even when you’re using Reduced Sensitivity, you can turn off motion sensing altogether for this level.

             How to change Nest Secure system settings >

More details about Away and Guarding

This security level was designed for times when when nobody’s home, so some activities will trigger an immediate alarm without a Heads-Up first.

Here’s what happens when your system detects different kinds of activity.

  • Window opening: Guard will immediately sound an alarm. That way, you’ll be alerted more quickly to a possible break-in through the window.
  • Door opening: You’ll get a Heads-Up before an alarm. We designed it to work this way so you’ll have some time to disarm your system when you come home.
  • Motion: You’ll get a Heads-Up first and then an alarm (if motion sensing is enabled).

How Nest Secure works with Home/Away Assist 

With Home/Away Assist, your Nest products can thoughtfully react when you leave and come back. Using your phone’s location, the Nest service can automatically switch some of your Nest products between Home and Away modes so they can do the right thing as you come and go. These modes are different from the Nest Secure levels described above.

We want you to be in control of your security at all times, so Nest Secure won’t change its security level when the rest of your products automatically switch between Home or Away modes. But when Home/Away Assist senses you’re leaving or coming home, you can get a notification reminding you to arm or disarm yourself. To learn how to set this up, see the following article:

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

What triggers an alarm at each security level 

We’ve already mentioned a few of the activities that can cause the alarm to sound, such as a door opening while your system is armed. For a complete list of all the activities that can trigger an alarm at each security level, see the following article:

          Learn about the events that can trigger Nest Secure’s alarm >

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