Troubleshoot familiar face detection

If your camera notifications aren’t working as expected

Here are a couple of things to check if you’re getting:

  • Wrong notifications
  • Too many notifications
  • Too few notifications

Adjust your camera's view

Here’s how you can help your camera better tell the difference between the faces it sees:

  • Place your camera at head level or a little above. That way, it can see someone’s face even if they’re wearing a hat. 
  • Review your familiar faces library on a regular basis during the first few weeks, especially after you add a new person. Promptly fix any face identification mistakes.

If you’re getting alerts for people who aren’t there, try pointing your camera away from the following:

  • Televisions. Actors’ faces in TV shows and movies might get picked up by your camera and trigger unfamiliar face alerts.
  • Mirrors. When your camera picks up someone’s reflection, there’s a chance it might send a notification about multiple people.
If there’s no way to keep your mirror or TV out of your camera’s view, change your camera’s notification settings to not to send person alerts when you’re at home.

Check your camera's notification settings

Important: Before you change notification settings it’s important to understand how they work. Here’s a few key points. 

  • Nest cameras can alert you when they detect activity, but they won’t spam you with repeat notifications for the same activity over a short period of time.
  • Our cameras use advanced algorithms that do their best to send you as few notifications as possible, while still making them relevant.
  • Your camera won’t send additional notifications if the same person comes into view repeatedly over a short period of time, or stays within view for a while. 
  • If your camera spots a familiar face and an unfamiliar face at the same time, it will send an alert about the unfamiliar face.
  • You might get different alerts for the same person if you have more than one camera and their settings are different.
  • When your camera spots a familiar face, it will send a familiar face alert that includes the name (if any) you assigned to the person.
  • When your camera spots an unfamiliar face, it will send an unfamiliar face alert.
  • If your camera’s not sure whether it recognizes a face, it will send a person alert instead of a familiar face alert.

How to change notification settings in the app

For detailed instructions on changing camera notification settings, see the following article:

Learn about camera alerts and how to change settings

If your camera created a new profile for a known familiar face

Sometimes your camera may misidentify a familiar face as a new face and create another profile of the same person.

To fix and merge duplicate profiles:

  1. Tap Settings Nest settings icon on the app home screen.
  2. Tap Familiar faces.
  3. Tap and hold on the person’s picture you want to combine. You’ll see a checkbox to confirm your selection. For iOS customers, tap Select.
  4. Tap the duplicated picture that you want to combine. If there are multiple duplicate profiles, you can select them as well.
Tap the Merge icon nest familiar face merge icon .

If your camera identified someone incorrectly

If your camera identified someone incorrectly, you should fix it as soon as possible. This will reduce the chance of that person being misidentified again.

How to delete incorrect or misidentified snapshots:

  1. On the app home screen, tap Settings Nest settings icon 
  2. Tap Familiar faces.
  3. Tap the face profile you want to review.
  4. You’ll see a grid of snapshots. Tap any incorrect ones to highlight them. For iOS customers, tap Select, then tap any incorrect ones.
  5. Tap Delete nest cam trash clip   to remove those snapshots.

If you can’t manage familiar face detection settings or the familiar face library

If you can’t manage your camera’s familiar face detection settings or your home’s familiar face library, it could be caused by the following:

  • Your home is in an area where Nest’s familiar face detection feature is not available.1
  • You’ve entered your date of birth into your Google account and are under the age of 13 in the US (or the applicable age in your country).

Age-restricted access for familiar face detection

Note: This only applies to people who manage home members in the Home app.

To help ensure privacy and safety, home members in the Home app who are under the age of 13 in the US (or the applicable age in your country) are restricted from accessing familiar face detection settings and the familiar face library.

For more information about these restrictions, read our article about familiar face detection and how to manage your library.

Troubleshoot when all home members have age-restricted access

In rare cases, the only member of the Google home, who is under the age of 13 in the US (or the applicable age in your country), may enter their date of birth into their Google Account after setting up familiar face detection.

If this happens, or if all other home members are also under the minimum age required to fully access to familiar face detection:

  • Familiar face detection will be automatically disabled for all Nest cameras in the home.
  • Once the email is sent to let the home member know that their access has changed, they will have 14 days to add a person above the minimum age to the home before the familiar face library is permanently erased.

To prevent the familiar face library from being erased, add a home member before the 14-day grace period ends. This person can also re-enable familiar face detection, change settings, and manage the library.

If another home member is added to the home after the 14-day grace period ends, the familiar face library will have been permanently deleted. However, this person can still re-enable familiar face detection, change settings, and manage the library.

If you incorrectly entered your date of birth into your Google Account, you learn how to verify your age and re-enable your Google Account in the Google Accounts help center.

(1) 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.

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. 

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