How your Nest thermostat decides when to turn on the screen

Your Google Nest thermostat is thoughtful about when it will turn on. It learns about where it’s installed and will automatically adjust its sensitivity to ambient light levels and turn on when it notices activity.

How your Nest thermostat decides when to turn on the screen will depend on your thermostat model and the display setting you choose in the app.

Display options

Nest Thermostat E

3rd gen Nest Learning Thermostat

Farsight

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Wake on approach

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Wake when you pass by

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Wake on press

 

Farsight is on by default

The 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat comes with its Farsight feature enabled by default. It allows your thermostat to turn on the screen as soon as it sees you, from as far as 20 feet (about 6 metres) away.

Farsight overrides all the factors your thermostat would ordinarily use to determine when to turn on the display (activity in the room, lighting, location, etc.). So no matter where your thermostat is installed or how much activity there is in the room, Farsight will always turn on the thermostat display as soon as it notices someone.

If you disable Farsight and switch to “Wake on approach”, your thermostat will take into account activity, lighting and location, and you’ll need to be closer (typically within 3 feet or about 1 metre) to your Nest thermostat for the display to turn on.

Learn about Farsight >

Where it's installed matters

No matter where you have your Nest thermostat installed, it will learn and adapt to your habits. Depending on its specific location, it can sense when you’re approaching or passing by to use it and turn on the screen. For instance, in a narrow hallway where people are constantly walking by only a few feet away, your Nest thermostat will illuminate only when you’re very close. On the other hand, if your thermostat is in an alcove where there’s a lot less activity, you won’t have to be as close for the screen to light up.

The temperature setting and lighting count too

In some cases, the Nest thermostat’s screen will automatically turn on, even when no one is near it. For instance, it will light up when there is a target temperature change that has been automatically triggered by the schedule, or by a manual change made with the Nest app. However, your thermostat will only illuminate in these cases if the room isn’t too dark. It first checks the light level in the room to determine if it’s unoccupied or if you may be sleeping, so it won’t disturb you.

It turns off when the battery is low

If your Nest thermostat’s internal battery charge gets too low, the thermostat will take steps to preserve battery life as much as possible, including not turning on the display when it detects activity, even when Farsight is enabled. For instance, you may notice in a room where there’s a lot happening, you may need to be closer to the thermostat before the screen turns on.

to check your battery level, go to Settings Nest settings icon and then Technical Info and then Power. If the battery appears to be below 3.6 volts, temporarily switch your thermostat to "Wake on press" before you troubleshoot the issue, so that the display only turns on when you want it to. Go to Settings Nest settings icon and then Display or Wake Display and then Select Wake on press (When you press).

To learn more about how and why this happens, see the following article.

Troubleshooting when the Nest thermostat won't turn on >

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