Troubleshooting Home/Away Assist

Home/Away Assist can use both Nest product sensor data and your phone’s location to tell when you’ve left the house and when you’ve come back. Here are some troubleshooting tips if your Nest thermostat didn’t switch to or out of Eco Temperatures as you expected, if your camera didn’t turn on or off, or if your home didn’t switch modes.

Here are some basic troubleshooting steps if you have issues with your home switching modes or if any of your Nest products aren’t switching their behavior as you expect.

Understanding essential Home/Away Assist behaviors

  • Don’t let other people use your email and password to sign into the Nest app. This can cause issues with Home/Away Assist behavior. Instead, invite others to share access to your home with their own account in the app.
  • Home/Away Assist doesn’t constantly track your exact location, just whether you’re home or not, and there needs to be a good distance between you and your home before it will switch modes to Away. Switching to Home typically is quicker, and your home may already be in Home mode before you come in the door.

Home/Away Assist will only use your phone’s location if you give the Nest app permission to use it. If you ever change your mind, you can disable or enable your phone’s location in Home/Away Assist Settings.

Home behaviors

  • Your phone’s location doesn’t override your Nest product sensors, so if your Nest thermostat or Protect sense that someone is at home, your home will switch out of Away to Home mode, and your thermostat will switch out of Eco Temperatures.
  • Away and Home modes can always be switched automatically. So even if you manually set your home to either mode, it will switch after everyone leaves or when someone comes back home.
  • The time it takes Home/Away Assist to automatically set your Nest products can vary. The delay depends on how regularly you and other members of your household leave and come home. If you have a consistent daily schedule, the delay will be shorter.
  • Manually setting your thermostat to Eco Temperatures will not switch your home to Away mode.

Thermostat behaviors

  • If you use the Nest app to manually set your home to Away mode, your thermostat will automatically switch to Eco Temperatures. When someone comes home and your home switches to Home mode, your thermostat will automatically switch back to heating or cooling mode.
  • If you manually set your thermostat to Eco Temperatures,it won’t automatically switch back to heating or cooling when someone comes home. Manually set it to your preferred heating or cooling mode, and it will resume automatically switching again.
  • The time it takes for your thermostat to switch your home to Away mode (and switch itself to Eco Temperatures) can vary. The delay is based on how regularly you leave and come home, and how often your thermostat sees activity in your home.

Camera behaviors

  • Cameras are automatically turned on or off only by your phone’s location. However, you can manually switch your camera off with the Nest app, or manually set your home to Home or Away mode, which will also switch your camera.
  • Your camera doesn’t help Home/Away Assist decide if you’re Home or Away. So if you simply walk in front of your camera, your home won’t switch to Home mode.
  • Activity seen by other Nest products won’t turn off cameras because they can’t be sure if it’s an intruder, you, or a family member. Cameras in your home won’t switch on automatically until all phones set to help with Home/Away Assist are gone, and they won’t turn off automatically until one comes home.
Confusing camera switching behaviors can happen if you have your camera set to be switched by Home/Away Assist and have also set a camera schedule. We recommend that you use one or the other.

Secure behaviors

  • Nest Secure cannot be automatically armed or disarmed by Home/Away Assist. You’ll need to use a Nest tag, enter your code, or use the app to arm or disarm your security system. However, when you switch your home mode using the app, Nest Secure can change its security level to match.
  • Home/Away Assist will help send notifications to remind you to arm or disarm the alarm when you come and go. So if Nest Secure is unarmed when the last person leaves home, they can get a Remind Me notification on their phone to arm Secure. And when the first person is almost home, the app can ask if they want to disarm the alarm before they walk in the door.

Choose your issue for troubleshooting help

Select the issue you’re having from the list below to learn more about possible causes and solutions. These solutions assume that your phone has a good cellular connection, your home’s location is correct in the Nest app, and that your Nest products are online. If not, see the General troubleshooting tips sections below for specific help about these and other issues.

Your home doesn’t switch to Away or Home modes as expected

Important: Check Activity History with the app

A quick look in the app will tell you why and when your home switched between modes, and give you some guidance on what to troubleshoot.

  1. You can see why your home was set to Home or Away
    by going to Settings Nest settings icon and then Home/Away Assist. Scroll
    down to the bottom and select Activity History.
  2. You’ll see activity history for the last 10 days. Tap on a
    day to see details for that day’s events. You’ll be able to
    see activity that caused switching between Home and
    Away modes.
  3. Check for the days and times you think that your home
    switched modes incorrectly. For instance, you might
    see Home: Activity in the house. Living Room Thermostat
    7:30 PM meaning that your home switched out of
    Away mode because your thermostat saw activity.
  4. Once you know what caused your home to switch
    incorrectly, you can try to prevent it in the future. For
    example, you might move a product that sees too much
    activity, or turn off motion sensing for that product using
    the app. You can read more below for some specific
    settings you can change based on the issue you’re having.
Home Away/Assist activity history page

 

Your home switched to Home mode when it should be in Away mode

Your home will always automatically switch to Home mode whenever your Nest products see activity or if a phone that’s set to help with Home/Away Assist enters your home.

So if someone enters your home, your home should quickly switch to Home mode. If you have a pet that roams around your home, or anything else that moves around while giving off any heat, your Nest products might see them, and your home could unexpectedly switch back to Home mode.

Keep in mind that your home may also switch to Home mode a bit early to prepare for your arrival. So you may notice it’s in Home mode before you walk in the door. How early it switches can vary a bit depending on your phone’s cellular and Wi-Fi connections, which affect your location accuracy.

Solution:

As a quick fix, you can manually switch your home’s mode with the Nest app. But your home will switch back to Home mode if there’s activity or a participating phone with the Nest app arrives.

If this issue keeps occurring, follow these steps:

  1. You can see why your home was set to Away with the app by going to Settings> Home/Away Assist. Scroll down to the bottom and select Activity History.
  2. If you have pets, you can try removing specific Nest products from the list of things that are helping in Home/Away Assist settings. Remove products that are in rooms that your pets use often.
  3. If you have a Nest thermostat, move any heaters out of the thermostat’s view. If there’s a heater that your thermostat might be able to see, but you’re unable to move it, you can try removing your thermostat from helping with Home/Away Assist in Home/Away Assist settings.
  4. Check your phone’s location settings for iOS or Android.
Check that your home’s location is correct in the Nest app. For detailed steps, see the General troubleshooting tips section further down in this article.

Your home doesn't automatically switch to Away when you expect it to

Keep in mind that switching to Away doesn’t automatically happen when you walk out the door. For one, Home/Away Assist doesn’t constantly track your exact location, just whether you’re home or not, and there needs to be a good distance between you and your home before it will switch modes. So, if you’re visiting a neighbor, your home may not switch to Away mode.

Another common cause is that cellular and/or Wi-Fi signals aren’t strong at your home’s location, so Nest may not know you’ve left until your phone gets a good connection.

Solution: Troubleshoot possible location issues. The Nest app will automatically check to help prevent connection issues that are caused by your phone’s settings (see the first part of the General Troubleshooting section in this article), but here’s a list of other things to check:

  1. Check that there are no people (or their phones) still in your home. They will keep it from switching to Away mode.
  2. If you have pets and a 120V Nest Protect, the Protect may have noticed them and prevented your home from switching. You can remove your Protect from the list of things that are helping in Home/Away Assist settings.
  3. Go to Home/Away Assist settings in the Nest app. Check to see if Home/Away Assist is reporting whether you’re Home or Away correctly. If it’s not right, skip down to the General troubleshooting tips section in this article and follow the instructions to check your home’s location in the Nest app.
  4. Troubleshoot possible phone location issues. If there are other people who are using the Nest app for shared access to your home, they should check that their phone’s location is correct in the app too.
  5. The Nest app’s automatic checkup should help prevent most connection issues that are caused by your phone’s settings, but these articles will give you a list of things to manually check:

iOS phone location troubleshooting >
Android phone location troubleshooting >

Check that your home’s location is correct in the Nest app. For detailed steps, see the General Troubleshooting tips section further down in this article.

Nest cameras and Hello

Your camera didn’t switch on or off as you expected

Quick fix: You can manually switch your camera off with the Nest app, or manually set your home to Home or Away mode, which will also switch your camera.

  1. If you’re using a camera schedule, disable it. We don’t recommend using both a camera schedule and Home/Away Assist to switch your camera at the same time. This is because your camera may sometimes turn on when you’re home and off when you’re gone. Your camera will always try to honor its schedule, but it will also be automatically switched on or off by participating phone locations as they leave and come home.If you prefer to use only a fixed camera schedule that won’t automatically switch your camera as people come and go, turn off Home/Away Assist for your camera. You’ll need to change this setting for each camera in your home if you have more than one.
  2. If you’re not using a camera schedule, go to Settings Nest settings icon and then Home/Away Assist in the Nest app. Check to see if Home/Away Assist is reporting whether your location is correct at the top of the screen. If you’re at home, Home should be blue.
    If your location isn’t right, skip down to the General troubleshooting tips section in this article and follow the instructions to check that your home’s location is right in the Nest app.
    If there are other people who are using the Nest app for shared access to your home, they should check that their phone’s location is correct in the app too.
  3. Check that the option for automatically switching your camera on/off as you come and go hasn’t been disabled and that someone with shared access isn’t turning this option off.
  4. Cameras are automatically turned on or off only by your phone’s location, so if your phone’s location isn’t accurate it can affect switching. Try the troubleshooting steps for iOS phone location or Android phone location.
  5. If you still need more help, see the General troubleshooting tips below for more steps you can try.

Nest thermostat

Your home is in Away mode but your thermostat didn’t switch to Eco Temperatures

When your home automatically switches to Away mode, your thermostat should also switch to Eco Temperatures. If your thermostat doesn’t switch to Eco Temperatures when your home switches to Away, your thermostat may not be set to switch to Eco Temperatures automatically.

Solution:

  1. Make sure your thermostat is set to automatically switch to Eco Temperatures.
  2. If you want your thermostat to switch right away to Eco Temperatures, manually switch your thermostat to Eco Temperatures. It will maintain the Eco Temperatures until you manually switch it to a heating or cooling mode

Your thermostat isn't staying in Eco Temperatures while your home is set to Away

If your thermostat switches to Eco Temperatures automatically when your home is in Away but switches off Eco Temperatures unexpectedly while you are still away, here are some possible causes:

  • You or someone with shared access has manually changed the temperature.
  • You or someone with shared access has turned off the option for automatically switching to Eco Temperatures.

Solution:

  1. If you want your thermostat to stay in Eco Temperatures, manually switch your thermostat to Eco Temperatures. It will then maintain Eco Temperatures until you manually switch it to a heating or cooling mode.
  2. Make sure that someone with shared access to the home isn’t changing the temperature, which will stop Eco Temperatures.
Check that the option for automatically switching to Eco Temperatures hasn’t been disabled and that someone with shared access isn’t turning this option off.

Your thermostat didn’t switch out of Eco Temperatures

If you arrive home and you see that your home’s status has switched to Home in the Nest app, but your thermostat still says Eco, your thermostat was probably manually set to Eco Temperatures.

Solution: Set your thermostat to your preferred heating or cooling mode, and it will resume automatically switching again.

How to switch Nest thermostat modes > 

General troubleshooting tips

The Nest app will automatically help you

Your phone’s settings can affect how well Home/Away Assist
works. For instance, you may have turned off Wi-Fi to
conserve your phone’s battery charge.

The Nest app automatically checks your phone’s settings,
and if needed, it will show you a customized list of things you
can change to optimize Home/Away Assist. If you see a
screen similar to the one to the right, go to one of the articles
below for detailed troubleshooting specifically for iOS and Android devices.

 

Learn more about phone location troubleshooting for iOS >

Learn more about phone location troubleshooting for Android >

 

Note: The app will only show you this screen once per week
as needed, so if you dismissed it without changing settings,
check one of the articles linked above.

Nest app update phone location

If you didn’t see the troubleshooting screen in the Nest app, but you’re still having difficulty with your home not switching as expected, below are things to check that can help no matter what kind of phone or tablet you have.

Don’t share your Nest app email and password

Don’t share your email and password with other people who have access to your home. Instead, you should invite other people to share access with their own Nest app email and password.  When more than one person uses the same credentials to sign into the app, it can cause unexpected behavior with your home and Nest products.

How to invite other people to access your home with the Nest app >

If you use the Nest app for iPhone/iOS

Make sure that Background App Refresh is enabled and switched on for the Nest app. The Nest app needs this feature turned on for Home/Away Assist to work. Learn how to turn on Background App Refresh at Apple's support site.

In some cases, things like force quitting the Nest app can cause issues with Home/Away Assist. If you notice that your home isn’t switching between Home and Away modes when it should, try quitting and restarting the Nest app. If that doesn’t work, you can also try restarting your phone.

For more detailed help with Home/Away Assist on iOS devices, please see the following article.

Troubleshooting Home/Away Assist for iOS >

If you use the Nest app for Android

Some Nexus phones (5, 5x, 6 or 6p), and possibly other Android phones, may report your location incorrectly on occasion. So if you have any Nest cameras in your home, they might switch on or off unexpectedly. If this happens, you can set your camera’s behavior to “No change” in the Home/Away Assist settings, and then you can schedule your camera to turn off and on at set times instead.

For more detailed help with Home/Away Assist on Android devices, please see the following article.

Troubleshooting Home/Away Assist for Android >

Other things to check

Check your location

Home/Away Assist won’t switch your home to Away the second you walk through the door to leave. So you may need to be a bit further away from your home. If you only walked over to your next door neighbor’s home, for example, your home may not automatically switch to Away mode.

How Home/Away Assist uses your phone’s location >

If you have more than one phone, check that it’s helping with Home/Away Assist

Each person who has shared access to a Nest home can only have one phone or tablet set to help with Home/Away Assist. So if you have two phones (work and personal) or a phone and tablet, you need to take the device that you have set to help with Home/Away Assist with you if you want your home to automatically switch when you leave and come back.

For instance, if you’re the last person to leave your home, but you leave behind your phone that’s set to help with Home/Away Assist, your home will still think you’re there and won’t switch to Away.

To check in the Nest app, go to Settings Nest settings icon and then Home/Away Assist and then What decides if you’re home and make sure the phone you’re now carrying says Yes next to it.

Pets can affect home switching

Most homes that have Nest thermostats don’t have issues with their pets keeping their home from switching to Away mode. This is because thermostats are typically mounted high enough on the wall that the Nest thermostat’s sensors won’t detect your pet. But if you have pets that jump, climb or fly, your thermostat may see them and think that you’re still at home.

On the other hand, Nest Protect sensors can usually see motion from dogs and other pets, so your furry friends may keep your home from switching to Away when all the humans are gone.

If you suspect that either your thermostat or Protects are sensing your pets, simply disable any from helping with Home/Away Assist that are in rooms that your pets use.  See the following article for detailed instructions.

How to change Home/Away Assist settings >

Check that someone else didn’t change the settings

Anyone that you’ve invited to share control of your home can also change your settings, so check that Home/Away Assist is set how you want. If something was changed, let other people who’ve been invited to your home know to leave the settings alone.

How to change Home/Away Assist settings >

Check your phone’s power, settings, and signal strength

The Nest app’s automatic checkup should help prevent common connection issues that are caused by your phone’s settings, but here’s a list of things to check:

  1. Make sure cellular data (also called mobile data) and Wi-Fi are enabled.
    Note: Home/Away Assist rarely needs to use GPS data. It only uses it to sync your phone’s location if it has been out of touch for 2 days. Home/Away Assist doesn’t continually track your location and is engineered to have a minimal impact on your phone’s battery charge.
  2. Check that your phone isn’t in airplane mode.
  3. If your phone is running very low on power, cellular data and Wi-Fi may have been automatically disabled to preserve the battery charge. Connect it to a charger.
  4. If you’re in an area that has a weak cellular signal, Home/Away Assist may not know you’ve left, but your home should switch to Away when the signal gets better.
  5. Check the Nest app’s notifications and data permissions in your phone’s OS Settings. Usually, there will be a list of all installed apps somewhere in your phone’s Settings menu. Select the Nest app from the list and check that it can use cellular, Wi-Fi and GPS data, and get notifications.

Check that Nest products have power and are connected to Wi-Fi

If one or more of your Nest products is listed as Offline in the Nest app, this can affect what happens when your home switches between Home and Away modes and when your thermostat switches to Eco Temperatures.

  1. One or more of your Nest products may have lost power. Make sure they’re plugged in.
  2. If all your products are listed as Offline, see this article to troubleshoot.
  3. If the connection problem is intermittent, it may be caused by wireless interference. If your Nest thermostat regularly disconnects from Wi-Fi, more detailed troubleshooting may be needed.
  4. Check the Nest Service status. In rare cases, the Nest Service may be unavailable, so your home may not switch.

Check that your home’s location is correct in the Nest app

The Nest app will automatically set your home’s location when you first create an account. But sometimes it can be off by a bit and affect Home/Away Assist accuracy and timing. To fix this issue, you can manually set your home’s location in the Nest app. Here’s how:
  1. On the app home screen, tap Settings Nest settings icon
  2. Select Home info.
  3. Tap on Address.
  4. Edit your address only if you need to. Then tap Next.
  5. You can then drag the map to move the pin that marks your home’s location.
Adjust home location screen in the Nest app

If you were talking on your phone when you came home or when you were leaving

Some phones and some cellular service providers don’t allow you to make calls and transfer data at the same time. So if you were talking on your phone when you came home or left home, it may not have been able to let your Nest home know that you’re back, and there will be a delay in your products switching to Home mode. Your phone will trigger the switch to Home mode when you hang up on your call and open the Nest app.

 

 

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?