After you've granted permission in the Nest app, Home/Away Assist will use your phone’s location to help tell when you’ve left home and when you’ve returned. Instead of constantly tracking your location, the Nest app only receives basic notifications from your phone that say if you’re at home or out.
Home/Away Assist uses your Nest products’ activity sensors to tell when you’ve left home and when you’ve returned. But since you probably keep your phone (or tablet) with you throughout the day, Nest can also use its location to help Home/Away Assist more precisely tell when you’ve actually left home and when you’ve come back.
With Home/Away Assist you don’t have to manually switch all your Nest products on or off, or rely on a set schedule. For instance, when you leave your home, Home/Away Assist can turn down your heating to save energy and turn on your Nest camera streaming to keep an eye on things.
How to use your phone's location and get the best experience from Home/Away Assist
Once you’ve set up Home/Away Assist to use your phone’s location, it will use a combination of mobile and Wi-Fi data from your phone to help tell if you’ve left or if you’re back home. The Nest app uses the standard location services built into iOS and Android. These services use a combination of mobile tower signal strength, Wi-Fi network information and occasionally GPS to narrow down your location if required.
So to help ensure the best experience with Home/Away Assist, you should at least have mobile data and Wi-Fi enabled in your phone’s settings. The Nest app will help you with this by automatically running a health check when you open the app, and let you know whenever changes to your phone’s settings may affect Home/Away Assist accuracy.
How Home/Away Assist uses GPS data
Having GPS on can help if your mobile and Wi-Fi connections are weak. The Nest app will only rarely check GPS location if your mobile and Wi-Fi connections have been lost, and your phone hasn’t checked in during the past couple of days. Limiting its use to rare occasions minimises the impact that it will have on your phone’s battery charge.
The Nest app doesn’t continually record your phone’s exact location like a GPS navigation app for driving. It doesn’t need to. Home/Away Assist only needs to know two things: when you leave and when you come back. To do this, the app defines a large area around your home that acts as a home zone. Your phone isn’t used to determine when exactly you walk in through the door or when you drive out of the garage. The Nest app only gets a notification from the location services of your phone’s OS to determine when you enter or leave your home zone. So for instance, if you walk over to your next door neighbour’s house, your home may not switch to away.
How other people's phones are used
Home/Away Assist can use other people’s phones in exactly the same way as it does yours. Anyone who has access to a Nest home with an account in the app can use their phone’s location to help the home know if someone is there, or if everyone is gone. People who have phones that help control your home won’t be able to see exactly who’s home or who’s out, just that someone is at home or that everyone has left.
How Home/Away Assist respects your privacy
We take your privacy seriously. Your location information will not be shared outside of Nest without your permission, and we encrypt our connections to keep your data safe.
Like everything else that we do, how we use your phone’s location is guided by our privacy principles. We give you the option to use your phone’s location for Home/Away Assist, and we tell you what kind of data is used and how it’s used so that you can make an informed decision. And you can disable Home/Away Assist at any time.
For complete details about how we keep your data safe and more, please see the Nest privacy statement.