Learn about familiar face detection and how to manage your library

You can teach a Google Nest Cam IQ or Google Nest Hello doorbell how to tell the difference between faces that it sees, so over time it can start to recognize people you know. When your camera spots a familiar or unfamiliar face you can get an alert from the app.

To use familiar face alerts, you’ll need:

How to turn familiar face alerts on or off

Turn both familiar face detection and people notifications on:

  • To turn on familiar face detection², on the Nest app home screen, tap Settings Nest settings icon and then Familiar faces and then Familiar face detection. If you have multiple cameras with a Nest Aware subscription, select the cameras you want to get alerts from.
  • To turn on people notifications, on the Nest app home screen, tap SettingsNest settings icon  and then Notifications . Then select your camera and tap People Nest Account web menu icon. .

When you turn on face detection and notifications

  • Nest’s face recognition algorithms will start to look for individual faces.
  • When your camera spots an unfamiliar face, the Nest app will ask if you know the person.
  • If your camera sees a person but can’t see their face, it can send a Person alert instead

When you turn off face detection

  • Your camera will stop using Nest’s face recognition algorithms.
  • None of the people sharing your Google Nest home through Family Accounts will be able to receive familiar and unfamiliar face alerts.
  • You and everyone sharing your home can continue to get People notifications for any person your camera sees but the alert won’t specify whether a face is familiar or unfamiliar. If you need to, you can also turn off People notifications in the Settings Nest settings icon and then Notifications menu.
  • Your camera’s familiar faces library won’t get deleted if you simply disable familiar face detection in the Nest app. We designed it to work this way so you can enable or disable familiar face detection whenever you like without having to rebuild your familiar faces library every time.

Note: If you want to delete a person or your entire familiar faces library, read below to learn how.

How familiar face detection works with multiple cameras 

If you have more than one camera that can use familiar face detection, here’s how they’ll work:

  • You’ll need to turn familiar face detection on or off for each camera individually. This option won’t appear for cameras that don’t have a Nest Aware subscription.
  • If you turn off familiar face detection for one of your cameras, you’ll continue to get familiar face alerts from other cameras that have it turned on.
  • All your cameras in the same Nest home will share the same familiar face library, so you won’t have to teach each camera the same faces.

How to teach your camera which faces are familiar 

You’ll need teach your camera it who you know so it can send alerts for familiar or unfamiliar faces.

When your camera spots a face it doesn’t recognize, or if it’s unsure, it will assume the person is unfamiliar. Then it will send an alert asking whether you know the person.

  1. Select your camera on the app home screen.
  2. At the bottom of your camera’s Sightline, tap People Nest Account web menu icon. .
  3. If your camera has seen new people, you’ll be asked whether you know them. Select Yes or No.

    • If your camera misidentifies an object as a face, tap the drop-down menu to select This isn’t a person.
    • Anything you’ve tagged as not a person, such as your pet, a painting, the TV, etc. will show up in the Not a face category in your familiar faces library.

When responding to unfamiliar face alerts, keep in mind:

  • You might get a lot of alerts for unfamiliar faces when you first set it up. As you continue to identify people over time, your camera will use snapshots of each person’s face to learn what they look like and to better recognize them in the future.
  • For the first couple of weeks, we recommend you review your face library frequently to train the algorithms and help them become more accurate.
  • The Nest app will delete the snapshot of anyone you’ve marked as unknown, and their face won’t be added to your familiar faces library.

If you missed the alert on your phone, you can review and categorize the faces your camera spotted in the Nest app:

  1. On the Nest app home screen, tap your camera.
  2. At the bottom of your camera’s Sightline, tap People Nest Account web menu icon. .
  3. Follow the onscreen prompts to identify any faces your camera didn’t recognize.

How to manage your familiar faces library


With Family Accounts, everyone contributes to categorization 

Your camera’s familiar faces library and labels are shared with everyone who has access to your Nest home through Family Accounts. So all the Nest app users in your household can categorize the faces your camera sees and help make familiar face alerts more accurate.

How to add or change a name for a person 

Once you’ve added a face to your library:

  1. On the Nest app home screen, tap Settings Nest settings icon and then Familiar faces.
  2. Tap on the familiar face profile you want to name.
  3. Tap Name.
  4. Now you can give the person a new name. You can use their actual name or enter a description like “mail carrier.”

How to delete a person or all your familiar faces 

You can always delete people and snapshots from your familiar faces library. On the Nest app home screen, tap Settings Nest settings icon and then tap Familiar faces, then do one of the following:

  • To delete a person, tap on their face and then tap Forget this face. Tap Remove when prompted to confirm your deletion. Your camera will stop recognizing them. Deleting an individual from your familiar faces library also removes them from Nest’s face recognition algorithms and deletes any camera snapshots used for identification.
  • To delete all your familiar faces, including everybody you’ve categorized as familiar or not a person, scroll to the bottom, tap Clear library. You will receive a pop-up confirmation, tap Clear library. Doing this removes all individuals from Nest’s face recognition algorithms for your account and deletes all camera snapshots used for identification.


  • Familiar faces collected by Google Nest Hub Max will appear in greyscale.
  • Use familiar face detection in compliance with the law. Depending on where you live, you might need to get consent to have your camera help identify people visiting your home.
  • Nest’s familiar face detection feature is not available on Nest cameras used in Illinois. Certain state legislation may affect Illinois customers’ use of the feature, so we’ve disabled it as a precaution. If the home where you’re using your camera is in Illinois, you shouldn’t be able to turn on familiar face detection in the Nest app.
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