How to set up and install Nest Detect

After installing Google Nest Guard, the Nest app will help you add each Google Nest Detect to your account and choose a mounting option (door, window or wall). This article provides some extra tips for picking a location and mounting your Detects in different locations.

You should always use the Nest app to install your Detects. The app provides important guidance to help ensure you install them correctly. This article provides some extra help about where and how to install them.

1. Set up Nest Guard first

Before installing any Detects, you must set up Guard. If you haven’t completed this step already, follow the instructions at the link below.

How to install Guard >

2: Decide on a location for your Detects

Every home is different. That’s why we designed Detect for easy DIY installation in different places around your home.

If you need some help deciding where to put each Detect, see the following articles.

Where to install Detect to help improve your home’s security >

Learn more about Nest Detect and what it detects >

You can have up to 30 Detects working with Guard, and you can place them as far as 50 feet (15 meters) from Guard. You can also install a Google Nest Connect to extend the range.

General guidelines

Here are some helpful recommendations to keep in mind as you install each Detect.

  • Don’t put Detect where pets or young children could reach any of its components.

  • Don’t install Detect within 3 feet of a heat source, like an electric heater, heat vent or fireplace. These can trigger false alarms.

  • Don’t position Detect behind large appliances or furniture that may obstruct its sensors. It needs a clear line of sight to properly detect motion.

  • Don’t install Detect outside, or anywhere it could get wet. This includes swing-out doors or windows that could get rained on.

3. Use the Nest app to set up each Detect 

Once you’ve looked around your home and picked some spots to mount your Detects, the Nest app will guide you through installation. You’ll get customized instructions depending on where you want to install each one.

Note: Install your Detects one by one. Start with your first Detect, follow all the instructions in the Nest app to get it installed, then move on to the next Detect.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. If you just finished setting up Guard in the Nest app, you’ll already be looking at instructions to start installing your first Detect.

    But if you closed the app or want to add more Detects later, here’s how:

    a. On the Nest app home screen, select Settings Nest settings icon.

    b. Select Add product.

    c. Follow the prompts to scan the QR code on the back of Nest Detect.

  2. The Nest app will give you some options for where you want to mount Detect. Installation instructions are specific to the type of door, window, or wall you choose, so it’s important to pick the one that matches what’s in your home.

    Note: If you change your mind and want to mount the Detect on a different door, window, or wall you’ll need to remove it from your account, then re-add it and follow the app setup for the new location. For detailed steps go to moving Detect to a different location.

  3. From there, you can simply follow the steps in the app to finish installing your Detect. Read below for more detailed information and helpful hints.

Tips for mounting Detect

Although the Nest app will walk you through installation, the sections below provide a little more guidance about your different options.

On a door

The Nest app will give you specific instructions for your type of door: single hinge, French doors, or sliding doors. Be sure to pick the right type of door to see the appropriate instructions in the app.

Grab these pieces from the box:

  • Detect with its flat bracket (comes pre-installed on Detect)
  • The open-close magnet
  • Screws, if you want to use them (more on that, below)

To help you install it correctly, the Nest app will have you practice placing Detect and the open-close magnet within range of each other before you mount them. When they’re close enough, the light will glow green. You’ll need to make sure they’re about as close, or closer, when they’re installed and the door is shut.

 

When you install Detect

  • You’ll need to mount Detect on the door itself. When
    you open the door, Detect should move with it (not
    the magnet).


  • Position Detect so the Nest logo and light are at the
    bottom, pointed toward the floor.


  • The bottom of the Detect should be 5’0” to 6’4”
    (1.5-1.9 m)
     from the floor. If you mount it any higher or
    lower, it could cause false alarms.

Nest secure detect door install
  • If you have a dog that weighs less than 40 pounds, you can enable Reduced Sensitivity in the Nest app to help reduce false alarms from your dog’s activity. In order to use this option, Detect must be mounted exactly 6’4” (1.9 m) from the floor. Read more about Reduced Sensitivity.


  • Make sure the motion sensor near the Nest logo is unobstructed when the door’s closed. Detect needs a clear line of sight in order to detect motion in the room.


  • Don’t mount Detect near other magnets. They’ll interfere with the sensors looking for Detect’s open-close magnet.

When you install the open-close magnet

  • You’ll need to mount the magnet on the frame surrounding the door. When you open the door, the magnet should not move.

    Note: If you have French doors, you’ll be mounting the magnet on the door that usually stays shut. The Nest app will help you do this.

  • Align the magnet with the bottom of Detect, not the top. For more information, see the following article:

Tips for correctly aligning Nest Detect’s open-close magnet > 

On a window

The Nest app will give you specific instructions for your type of window such as single hung, double hung, hinged, and more. Be sure to pick the right type of window to see the appropriate instructions in the app.

Grab these pieces from the box:

  • Detect and its flat bracket (comes pre-installed on Detect)
  • The open-close magnet
  • Screws, if you want to use them (more on that, below)

You might also need:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Rubbing alcohol
Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to install Detect:

 

  • Before installation, make sure the window is closed and locked. This will help ensure neither piece pops off when you shut the window.

  • To help you install it correctly, the Nest app will have you practice placing Detect and the open-close magnet within range of each other before you mount them. When they’re close enough, the light will glow green. You’ll need to make sure they’re about the same distance or closer when they’re installed and the window is closed.

When you install Detect

  • Mount Detect on the moving part of the window or
    door. The open-close magnet goes on the frame or
    sash, which doesn’t move. When you open the
    window or door, Detect should move with it.

  • Don’t install Detect directly on the window’s glass.
    Instead, install it on the wood, metal or plastic sash
    surrounding the glass. You may see this referred to as
    the rail or the stile.

  • Don’t mount Detect near other magnets. They’ll
    interfere with the sensors looking for Detect’s open-
    close magnet.
Nest secure detect window install
  • If your window has a hinge, we recommend placing Detect as far away from it as possible. That way, it can sense movement even if the window doesn’t open all the way.

When you install the open-close magnet

  • The Nest app might ask you to mount the magnet on the window jamb or frame. This means when you open the window, the magnet should not move.

    Note: For double-hung and other types of windows, the Nest app might have you mount the magnet somewhere else. It’s important to follow the instructions in the app so Detect can correctly sense open-close activity.

  • No matter what kind of window you have, align the magnet with the bottom of Detect, not the top. The bottom is the side with the Nest logo and light ring. For more information, see the following article:

Tips for correctly aligning Nest Detect’s open-close magnet >

Note: If you run into trouble fitting Detect and the magnet on your window, you can try a different spot. The Nest app will guide you to make sure both pieces are close enough together. If there’s no good way for both pieces to fit your window, contact Nest to request a thinner mini magnet that’s more likely to work with your setup.

On the wall 

Grab these pieces from the box:

  • Detect
  • Flat or corner bracket

    • On a flat wall: Use the flat bracket, which comes
      pre-installed on Detect.
    • In a corner: Use a flathead screwdriver to pry
      Detect out of its flat bracket. Then snap Detect
      into its corner bracket.
  • Screws, if you want to use them (more on that, below)

You can install Detect on a flat wall or in a corner.

Nest secure detect wall install
  • Use the correct bracket. The Nest app will help you pick which one to use.


  • Be sure to mount Detect with the Nest logo and light at the bottom, pointing toward the floor.


  • Make sure the motion sensor near the Nest logo is unobstructed by furniture or other objects. Detect needs a clear line of sight in order to detect motion.


  • The bottom of the Detect should be 5’0” to 6’4” (1.5-1.9 m) above the floor. If you mount it any higher or lower, it could cause false alarms or affect the sensing range.


  • If you have a dog that weighs less than 40 pounds, you can enable Reduced Sensitivity in the Nest app to help reduce false alarms from your pet’s activity. In order to use this option, Detect must be mounted exactly 6’4” (1.9 m) from the floor. Read more about Reduced Sensitivity.


  • For best results, position Detect so an intruder would be likely to walk across its field of view rather than straight toward it.

Tips for attaching Detect to the surface

No matter where you’re installing Detect, you have two options for attaching it: screws or adhesive strips. We’ve included both in the box, and the Nest app will show you how to use them. See the sections below for additional information about each method.

With the adhesive strips

Adhesive strips come pre-installed on the back of Detects and the open-close magnets. The adhesive is strong enough to securely hold on most common surfaces.

Important: We don’t recommend using the adhesive strips on surfaces covered with a low-VOC or zero-VOC finish. If jarred, this type of finish might flake off, taking Detect with it. Low-VOC and zero-VOC finishes are common on surfaces that have been painted in the last few years. When in doubt, use the screws instead (see above).

To ensure a strong bond with the adhesive strips, make sure:

  • The surface is smooth and flat

  • The room isn‘t prone to humidity levels over 80%

  • The surface is made from one of the following materials: Galvanized steel, Enameled steel, Nylon - Polyamide, Polycarbonate, Glass Epoxy, Phenolic - Phenol Formaldehyde (PF), Polyphenylene ether/Polystyrene blend (PPE/PS blend), Polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), Epoxy paint, Polyester paint, Coated epoxy paint (Coating must be 3M Adhesive Promoter 111), Coated polyester paint (Coating must be 3M Adhesive Promoter 111), Acrylic urethane paint, Epoxy/Polyester paint

How to attach Detect with the adhesive

  1. Make sure the surface is clean and dry. We recommend cleaning it with isopropyl alcohol first.

  2. Peel the protective cover off the adhesive strip on Detect’s backplate. Don’t touch the adhesive with your fingers, as oils can weaken the bond.

  3. To begin, very lightly place the adhesive against the surface where you want to mount Detect. If you need to, you can immediately pull Detect back off and move it to a new location.

  4. Once you’ve settled on a spot, firmly press and hold Detect in place for at least 30 seconds to help the adhesive bond to the surface. Once the adhesive has set (after about 24 hours), the bond will be very strong and can’t be repositioned.

  5. If you’re using the open-close magnet, repeat these steps to mount it.

With the screws

The screws are the best way to ensure a secure installation on almost any type of surface.

You can use the screws in places where you can’t use the adhesive strips. For example, the screws are a great option when:

  • The surface has a rough texture, like stucco or orange peel

  • The surface is contoured, like moulding or a curved wall

  • The surface has been painted with a low-VOC or zero-VOC finish, common on surfaces painted in the last few years

  • The room is prone to humidity levels over 80%

  • You want to install Detect anywhere else; the screws are your strongest and most versatile option for mounting Detect

  • You’re following specific guidelines for an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified installation
Additionally, if Detect was previously attached with the adhesive but it got knocked or pulled off with the adhesive still on it, consider using a screw to reattach it.

 

What you’ll need

  • A flathead screwdriver to remove Detect from its backplate (and the open-close magnet from its bracket, if needed)
  • A Philips screwdriver (we recommend a #2) for tightening the screws
  • If you’re a drilling pilot hole in wood or other dense material, you’ll need a drill with a 3/32” bit for Detect, plus a 1/16” bit for the open-close magnet (if using)

How to mount Detect with the screws

You’ll need to remove the pre-installed adhesive strips before mounting Detect with the screws.

  1. Remove the adhesive from the backplate by pulling it
    upwards or downwards so that it stretches and peels
    off. Discard.

  2. Using the flathead screwdriver, carefully pry Detect
    from its backplate.

  3. Hold Detect’s backplate in the spot where you want
    to mount it.

  4. If you’re drilling a pilot hole, use the hole in the
    backplate as a guide. For drywall and other soft
    materials, you probably won’t need a pilot hole.
  1. With the Philips screwdriver, screw the backplate to the surface.

    Important: The screw should be flush to the
    backplate. If it’s sticking out, Detect might not
    attach correctly, so you’ll need to screw it in a bit more.

  2. Snap Detect into the backplate.

  3. If you’re using the open-close magnet, repeat
  4. these steps to pry off its bracket, remove the adhesive,
    drill a pilot hole using a 1/16” bit, screw the bracket in,
    and snap in the magnet.
Nest secure detect and backplate

 

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