There are several things that determine when Home/Away Assist will switch your Nest home’s behavior. The exact timing depends on what Nest products you have in your home, your phone’s location, whether there are other people in your home, and more.
After Home/Away Assist is set up in the Nest app, your home will automatically switch between Home and Away modes as you (and other people who share access to your Nest home) come and go.
Home/Away Assist basics
Exactly when your home will automatically switch to Home or Away depends on several things such as the location of everyone who shares access to your Nest home. Factors like your phone’s cell signal strength, nearby Wi-Fi signals, and your phone’s hardware and software versions can also affect the accuracy of your location. For a detailed explanation of how phones work with Home/Away Assist, see the following article:
It also matters where your Nest products are installed in your home (so they can sense activity), and which products you’ve set to help determine if you’re at home or gone. But the more you use Home/Away Assist and it learns about your home, it will get better at knowing when you’ve left and when you’re back.
Note: You can also manually set your house to Home or Away with the Nest app to adjust all your Nest products. To confirm that you’ve set Away manually, you’ll see Away in the Nest app.
How Home/Away Assist learns
- Home/Away Assist should start working right away if you’ve set your phone to help tell when you’re home. If you don’t have a phone helping with Home/Away Assist, there will be a learning period that usually takes about a week before your home can automatically switch to Home or Away.
- If you don’t have a phone set to help with Home/Away Assist, the accuracy and timing can be affected, especially if your Google Nest thermostat or Google Nest Protect don’t typically see a lot of activity. For instance, if you have a Nest thermostat installed in an alcove that is away from normal daily traffic, it may not be able to notice when people arrive.
How each Nest product helps with Home/Away Assist
- Nest thermostat: When you’re coming home, your Nest thermostat will notice activity and switch your home out of Away mode very quickly. But when you leave, it will wait a while before switching itself to Eco Temperatures, and switching your other products to Away mode, to make sure everyone’s gone.
Note: Google Nest Temperature Sensors do not have activity sensors, so they cannot help with Home/Away Assist switching.
- Google Nest Cams and Google Nest Hello won’t switch your home between Home and Away. So if you only have cameras, you’ll need a phone or tablet set up to help with Home/Away Assist.
How your camera works with Home/Away Assist >
- Google Nest Secure: Entering your passcode or holding Google Nest Tag on Google Nest Guard to change the security level will switch between Home and Away. Setting to Away and Guarding will set your home to Away, while setting to Off will switch your home to Home. However, using the app to set the security level will not switch your home’s mode.
- Nest Protect: When you come home, wired 120V-240V Nest Protects will notice activity right away, so they can switch your home to Home mode very quickly. However, when you leave, they’ll wait to report inactivity to help ensure that nobody’s still at home.
Note: To maximize battery life, battery powered Protects check in less often, but they can help improve Home/Away Assist accuracy.
When your home will switch to Home or Away
- Your schedule matters. If you have a regular morning schedule and are always out of the door by 8:00am to catch the bus, then your home might automatically switch to Away as soon as 8:30am. But if you have an irregular schedule, or if it turns out that someone is still home after it’s switched to Away, Home/Away Assist will learn and adapt. It may take longer to switch to Away in the future.
- Your home won’t go into Away mode immediately after you walk out the door or drive out of the garage. The length of the delay depends on what Nest products you have set to help with Home/Away Assist, what they’ve learned about your home and your habits, and if you’re using your phone’s location to help.
There are two reasons for the delay in switching to Away. First, your phone’s exact location isn’t being tracked and there’s a buffer zone around your home. Second, because Home/Away Assist also uses sensor data from your Nest products and your historical occupancy patterns, your home will take some time to make sure that people aren’t still inside before it switches to Away. This is to help make sure that just because one person has left home, people who may still be home won’t have the heating suddenly turned down.
How Home/Away Assist uses your phone’s location >
- Switching to Home happens much faster than switching to Away. When you walk through the door, your home may already be in Home mode. If your phone’s location hasn’t yet triggered the switch by the time you get home, there will usually only be a short delay. Your home should switch soon after your Nest products detect your presence.
- Home/Away Assist works differently at night. It won’t automatically switch to Away at night when Nest product sensors probably won’t detect any activity. Otherwise, unwanted things might happen. For instance, you wouldn’t want your Nest thermostat to be set to Eco Temperatures while you’re asleep. That would probably make everyone uncomfortable.
However, if you’ve installed your Nest products in a business, Home/Away Assist will switch Nest products to Away mode, and set the thermostat to Eco Temperatures during the night.