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Troubleshoot phone location for Routines

The Nest or Home app may ask you to update your phone’s settings if there’s something you can do to improve how Home & Away Routines or Home/Away Assist works for you.

Your app regularly checks your phone or tablet settings to help make sure that your home switches between Home and Away as accurately as possible. If your app notices that you can change a setting to make it work better, it may let you know and may show an alert when you open the app. For example, the Nest or Home app may show you a phone location error or ask you to update your phone’s settings if there’s something you can do to improve how Home & Away Routines or Home/Away Assist works for you.

How Home/Away Assist uses your phone’s location
About presence sensing and how to manage your data

Note: The Nest or Home app should only show you the phone location screen no more than once a week so you don’t get bugged every time you need to use the app.

  • If you don’t want to change your settings, you can set your app to not use your phone’s location.
  • In the Home app, go to your Home settings and tap Presence sensing.
  • In the Nest app, go to Settings and tap Home/Away Assist.

Here are the things to check on your device and how to change them.

1. Turn off Airplane mode

Airplane mode can help save battery charge since it disables Wi-Fi, cellular data, and Bluetooth, but you may have forgotten to disable it. Make sure the airplane icon is turned off.

Control airplane mode on Android

2. Turn on Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is one of the most important settings because it affects location accuracy. Make sure the Wi-Fi icon is highlighted in Control Center.

Note: If your device runs with Android OS 4.3 or later, you don’t need to have Wi-Fi switched on. Instead, location services can periodically use Wi-Fi even if Wi-Fi isn’t on. Make sure you’ve set Location Scanning to use Wi-Fi. Full instructions are in step 4 below.

3. Turn on Location services and set to High accuracy
Go to your phone’s Settings and select Location. Make sure that it's toggled on. Next, under “Advanced,” check that "Google Location Accuracy" is on.
4. Set Location Scanning

Location Scanning is another important setting because it affects location accuracy.

Go to your phone’s Settings and select Location, then make sure that Wi-Fi scanning is set to on. It lets your phone use Wi-Fi to narrow down your location even if you have Wi-Fi turned off.

Note: If your device runs a version of the Android OS earlier than 4.3, it may not have a setting option for Location Wi-Fi scanning. As an alternative, you should try to keep Wi-Fi turned on for optimal Home & Away Routines or Home/Away Assist performance.

5. Turn on cellular data

 Go to your phone’s Settings and tap Network & internet and then Mobile network. Make sure the mobile data switch is toggled on. It helps ensure your home switches as quickly as possible when you leave or come back.

Important: If you have also set a cellular data limit to prevent additional charges, Home & Away Routines or Home/Away Assist won’t be able to use cellular information after you have exceeded your data limit.

6. Set Nest or Home app settings

Note: The following steps (6, 7 and 8) only apply to Android Marshmallow 6.0 or later.

In addition to general Android OS settings, each app you have installed has individual settings that you may also need to change. In Settings, select Apps and scroll down to the Nest or Home app that you use. Tap it and check the following settings in steps 7 and 8.

7. Don’t restrict background data

Tap Data usage and make sure the Restrict app background data is off.

It's an essential setting to make sure the app can help control your home even when the app isn’t running.

8. Enable Location permissions

Go back to the App info screen and tap Permissions. Make sure that Location is on. It lets the app get data from Android’s location services.

Note: The app uses the standard location services built into Android. These services use a combination of cell tower signal strength, Wi-Fi network information, and occasionally GPS to narrow down your location if needed.

9. (Home app only) Check presence sensing settings

 Note: Requires Android 4.1+

In the Home app, select Settings and then Presence sensing. Here, you can check which members of your household have enabled presence sensing on their phones and which of your device sensors contribute to presence sensing. 

Learn more about presence sensing.

10. Restart the app

In some cases, force quitting the Nest or Home app can disable Home & Away Routines or Home/Away Assist. If you notice that your home doesn't switch between Home and Away modes when it should after you force quit, simply quit the app and restart it.

Note: Some Nexus phones (5, 5x, 6 or 6p) and possibly other Android phones may report your location incorrectly on occasion, so cameras in your home might switch on or off unexpectedly. If it happens, you can remove your camera from Home & Away Routines or Home/Away Assist and set a schedule for your camera to follow.

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