How your home automatically switches to Home or Away with presence sensing

With presence sensing, Google Nest products in your home use their activity sensors and your phone location to automatically switch their behavior when someone comes home, and when everyone’s away.

Presence sensing basics

  • To set up how devices behave when your home switches to Home or Away, you can use either Home & Away Routines in the Home app or Home/Away Assist in the Nest app.

    Learn about Home & Away Routines. Note: This feature is only available to you if you use your Nest devices and services with a Google Account.

    Learn about Home/Away Assist Note: This feature is only available for products you manage in the Nest app.
  • You can adjust presence sensing settings any time.
  • These factors can influence presence sensing accuracy:
    • Your phone’s signal strength
    • Nearby Wi-Fi signals
    • Your phone’s hardware and software versions
    • Location of your Nest products. For example, if your Nest thermostat is installed in an alcove that’s away from normal daily traffic, it will not be able to notice when people arrive.
  • The exact timing of when your home automatically switches to Home or Away depends on several things:
    • The location of everyone in your home and whether they use phone location to help tell when they’re home or away
    • What products you have in your home
    • Whether your Nest products are installed somewhere they can sense activity
  • The more your Nest products contribute to presence sensing, the better your home will get at knowing when you’ve left and when you’re back.
  • Presence sensing can also be used to help control when you receive incoming calls on speakers or displays. Learn about Only Ring When Home.

How Nest products help presence sensing

Some Nest products can use their sensors to detect activity in your home.

These are the sensors each product uses to detect activity:

  • Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Thermostat E: An occupancy sensor detects if someone is in the room. Note: Google Nest Temperature Sensors don’t have activity sensors, so they can’t help with presence sensing.
  • Nest Thermostat: A proximity sensor and a Soli sensor detect if someone is nearby.
  • Nest Protect: An occupancy sensor detects if someone is in the room. Note: To maximize battery life, battery powered Protects check in less often, but they can work with other Nest products to help improve presence sensing accuracy.
  • Nest Guard: A motion sensor detects if people are moving nearby. Nest Guard also notes if someone has armed or disarmed it with Nest Tag, the Nest app, or a password.
  • Nest × Yale Lock: An optical sensor detects if the bolt is open or closed.
  • For more information about Nest product sensors, go to Sensors in Google Nest devices.

    Note: Nest cameras, Nest doorbells, and Nest Hub Max won’t switch devices in your home between Home and Away modes.

How phone location helps presence sensing

For a detailed explanation of how phone location helps tell when you leave or come home, go to How presence sensing uses your phone’s location.

When your home will switch to Home or Away

Presence sensing might have a learning period before it becomes automatic. If you’ve allowed it to use your phone’s location, it should start working right away. But if it only uses Nest product activity sensors, it usually takes about a week to begin automatically switching to Home or Away.

Multiple factors affect when your home switches to Home or Away:

  • The location of everyone in your home
  • Whether you’ve allowed presence sensing to use phone location
  • Which Nest products are used for presence sensing
  • Whether your Nest products are installed somewhere they can sense activity

Home mode

Your home will usually switch to Home fairly quickly when it detects that someone has come back. If it uses your phone's location, it may have already switched to Home when you walk through the door. Otherwise, it should switch soon after your Nest products detect your presence.

Away mode

Your home won’t necessarily go into Away immediately after you leave. It may wait a while to make sure no one is still around. These factors can also influence when your home switches to Away:

  • The device sensors you choose: Your home usually switches more quickly when it uses your phone’s location than when it only uses Nest product sensors.
  • Your schedule: If you have a regular schedule, your home will switch more quickly than if your schedule is irregular or if it changes.

Behavior at night

Presence sensing works differently at night. Your Nest product sensors likely won’t detect any activity, but your home will stay in Home so that you can be comfortable while you sleep.

However, if you’ve installed your Nest products in a business, presence sensing can automatically switch your place of business to Away and set the thermostat to Eco Temperatures during the night.

Check when and why your home switched modes

Learn when your home switched to Home or Away and the things that influenced the switch.

  1. Open the Home app and then at the bottom right, tap Feed .
  2. Scroll down to the Recent events section.
  3. Tap Go to history and then Filters  and then Presence events.
  4. Scroll to review the times and reasons your home switched to Home or Away.
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