Change Home/Away Assist settings

Note: These instructions are for Google Nest products that you manage in the Nest app. For products managed in the Home app, you can find instructions in Change Home and Away routines settings.

With Home/Away Assist, all of your Nest products can automatically change their behaviour as people come and go. For example, it can turn on your Nest Cam to help you keep an eye on things when you leave home, and turn it off when you’re at home and don’t need it.

To learn how Home/Away Assist uses presence sensing to adjust your devices, go to our How your home automatically switches to Home or Away article.

To tell if someone’s at home, Home/Away Assist can use the location of any phones or tablets signed in to an app account that shares access to your home, as well as the activity sensors in some of your Nest products. You may want to change some of your Home/Away Assist settings to help it do a better job. Select a topic below for detailed instructions on settings.

Need troubleshooting help?

For detailed troubleshooting steps that go beyond changing these settings, please go to our Troubleshoot automatic home and device switching article.

Change what Nest products do when you're at home or away

To change how Home/Away Assist controls your Nest products, please follow these steps:

  1. Open the Nest app.
  2. Tap Settings Nest settings icon on the home screen.
  3. Select Home/Away Assist.
  4. Tap either the Home or Away icon at the top of the screen. You’ll find a summary of what each of your Nest products will do when your home is in that mode.
  5. If you want to make any changes, tap on the Nest product that you’d like to control. 

In general, if you have multiple Nest products in your home, you have different settings for each one. However, all Nest Protects in your home share the same Home/Away Assist settings, so you’ll only find one Protect in this list.

Settings for each product's Home/Away Assist options are listed below.

Nest thermostats

Here you can choose whether or not your Google Nest thermostat will switch to Eco Temperature when your home is set to Away.

Tap the switch near the top of the menu to enable or disable this option. 

The 'How it responds' section tells you what happens when your home is in each mode: 

  • Home – On means that your thermostat will use your regular schedule whenever anybody’s home. 
  • Away – Eco Temperatures means that your thermostat will switch itself to Eco Temperatures when no one’s home. 

Tap Eco Temperatures at the bottom of the menu if you want to change the Eco Temperatures that your thermostat will try to maintain when you’re gone.

Note: Because your thermostat tries to help save energy when it’s set to Eco Temperature, it won’t turn on your HVAC equipment in advance to meet a scheduled temperature.  

Learn about Eco Temperature and how to change settings

Nest cameras and doorbells

Tap the switch to set whether or not each Google Nest camera or doorbell will turn on or off automatically when your home switches between Home and Away.

Bear in mind that cameras aren’t switched by all the same triggers as other Nest products. Cameras are only switched by your phone’s location or if you manually change your home’s mode to Home or Away.

How your camera works with Home/Away Assist

Important: If you've set a schedule for your camera, it will switch according to both the schedule and Home/Away Assist. This can cause confusing behaviour, so we recommend that you don’t set a schedule if your camera is set up with Home/Away Assist.

Nest Protects

If you have a 2nd gen Nest Protect, you’ll see an option for Sound Check. 1st generation Protects don’t run Sound Check.

Sound Check will always try to run when nobody is at home so that it doesn't disturb you. So there is no option to change it to run while you're at home. However, you can disable Sound Check completely.

Tap Sound Check options to change whether all your Protects will run once a month and at your preferred times.

Learn more about Sound Check

Nest Secure alarm system

Nest Secure works with Home/Away Assist in a few ways. Remind me notifications use Home/Away Assist to remind you to set the alarm when you leave and disarm when you get home. You can also switch security levels whenever you manually switch between Home and Away modes. 

You’ll also find these settings when you open the Nest app and then go to Settings Nest settings icon and then Security and then Home/Away Assist. For more details about the options that you’ll find here, visit the 'Home/Away Assist' section of the following article:

Change Nest Secure settings

Nest × Yale lock

You can enable Auto-lock for Nest × Yale lock. When Auto-lock is on, your lock will automatically re-lock itself after it’s been unlocked.

You can turn Auto-lock on for Home, Away or both. You can also choose how long your lock will wait before re-locking itself.

Lock and unlock the Nest × Yale lock

Use your phone's location with Home/Away Assist

Home/Away Assist uses data from your Nest product’s sensors and your phone’s Wi-Fi and mobile location data to know when someone is home. For the best experience, make sure that everyone with shared access and control of your Nest products in the app is also using their phone’s location. 

Each person can only have one phone to help with Home/Away Assist. If you have more than one, enable Home/Away Assist on the device that you usually carry with you.

Phone location can make Home/Away Assist more accurate, but it can be disabled if you want. To enable or disable phone location, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Nest app.
  2. Tap Settings Nest settings icon.
  3. Select Home/Away Assist.
  4. Choose What decides if you're at home.
  5. Select Use phone location.
  6. Tap the switch to expand the menu. This will show a list of all the people with shared control of your Nest home.

Note: While you can check whose phones are being used to help with Home/Away Assist, you can't enable or disable location for any phone except your own. Everyone else will have to change these settings on their own phone in the Nest app.

  1. Tap your name.
  2. Tap the switch to enable or disable phone location for Home/Away Assist.

Note: Each person can only use one phone to share one phone location at a time. If you’ve already enabled phone location on one phone, enabling it on a different phone will disable it on the first phone. 

If you're already sharing your phone location using the Nest app, enabling it in the Home app will disable it in the Nest app. You can only use one app to share phone location at a time.

You can also turn off phone location in your phone’s main settings menu, but this will not only affect the accuracy of Home/Away Assist, it may change how other apps on your phone work, too.

Change which Nest products help determine if someone is home

In addition to phone location, Home/Away Assist can use information from the activity sensors in your Nest products. 

The following Nest products can help Home/Away Assist determine whether anyone is at home.

  • Nest thermostat
  • Nest Protect
  • Nest Secure, including Nest Guard and Nest Detect
  • Nest × Yale lock

Other Nest products don’t participate in this way. 

Here's how you change which Nest products share data from their activity sensors with Home/Away Assist.

  1. Open the Nest app.
  2. Tap Settings Nest settings icon.
  3. Select Home/Away Assist.
  4. Tap What decides if you’re home.
  5. Select a Nest product, then tap the switch to enable or disable its participation in Home/Away Assist.

If you find 'No participating products', it’s because you don’t have any of the products listed above.

Important: If you disable both phone location and all products from helping with Home/Away Assist, your home won’t automatically switch between Home and Away modes. You'll need to switch modes manually in the Nest app.

Here are some details about how each Nest product helps Home/Away Assist:

Nest thermostats

If you switch off your thermostat so that it stops helping with Home/Away Assist but use phone location, your Nest products will only switch their behaviour when the Nest service determines that a phone is inside your home.

Nest Protects

Wired Nest Protects can keep your home from switching to Away if they see your pets moving after you’ve left, so you may not want to set their activity sensor to help with Home/Away Assist. You can also try to keep your pets out of rooms where you’ve installed wired Nest Protects.

Nest Secure alarm system

When set to Off Nest Guard off or Home and guarding Home guard icon, Nest Secure can contribute information from its sensors to help Home/Away Assist determine if someone’s there. However, when Nest Secure is set to Away and guarding Away and guarding, the motion it senses will trigger an alarm instead.
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