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How to set up Nest Secure

To set up and install Google Nest Secure, simply follow the instructions in the Nest app. The app will walk you through everything step-by-step. Here are some tips and troubleshooting steps to help you set up and install our system. 

Before you begin

Here's an overview of what you'll be doing when you install your Nest Secure alarm system:

  1. First you'll plug in your Google Nest Guard and set it up with the app.
  2. Then you’ll set up your Google Nest Tags with the app, and assign them to people so they can arm and disarm the system.
  3. Finally, you’ll set up your Google Nest Detects with the app and install them on the doors, windows, or walls around your home. Do not install them until you've set them up with the app.

More details, below.

 Installation video

Watch the installation video

If you want a preview of what you’ll be doing, our installation video will walk you through the steps to set up and install everything included in the Nest Secure starter pack.

How to install and set up Nest Secure

Complete installation guide 

Download documents that came in the box

You can get PDF versions of the documents that came with Nest Secure: the User’s Guide, Welcome Guide and warranty.

Download Nest Secure documents

Consider a pro Installation

We designed Nest Secure for easy DIY installation. But if you’d like, you can have a pro install everything for you. After they’ve installed Nest Secure, your pro installer can give you a demo and answer any questions you have.

To get a professional to help install and set up your Nest products, contact our installation partner, OnTech.

To install Nest Secure yourself, keep reading for helpful tips.

Planning your installation

The Nest Secure starter pack comes with a Nest Guard and two Nest Detects.

You can have one Guard in your home. It functions as a keypad (to arm and disarm), information center for alerts and status, alarm, and motion sensor. The Nest app also lets you disarm and arm, check status and receive alerts, so there’s no need for additional Guards. The Nest app won’t let you add a second Guard to the same home.

Guard should be placed where you typically enter and exit your home most often: the front door, back door, or door to the garage are some of the most common choices. Where you place the Detects is up to you, but you may not need both a Detect and Guard watching the same location. So for instance, you could place a Detect on the back door if Guard is near your front door.

You can have up to 30 Nest Detects in your home. How many Detects you install will depend on the size and layout of your home as well as what exactly you want to monitor.

If you have a home office or other room where you keep important documents or items, you may want to install a Detect on the door or wall. When installed on a door, Detect can sense the door opening and closing as well as motion. On a wall, Detect will look for motion.

If you’re concerned about possible intrusion through a specific window, place a Detect there. But for rooms with multiple windows you may want to install one Detect on the door or wall (where it can sense motion) instead of putting a Detect on each window where they will only detect open/close.

A single Detect on the wall or door can sometimes provide enough coverage for a small or medium sized room, but for larger rooms you may want to install another Detect for more complete coverage. Keep in mind that Detect’s range is 15 feet (4.5 m). Please see the Nest Secure User’s Guide for range diagrams and more information about Detect’s capabilities.

You also might want to consider a Google Nest camera for some situations. Nest Cams can also alert you when they see a person and you’ll have footage saved to the cloud if you subscribe to Nest Aware. An outdoor camera can act as an intrusion deterrent when it’s in full view, while a camera placed indoors can catch an intruder off guard.

Installation tips

The Nest app will guide you through each step of installing Guard, Tags, and Detects, so here we’ll offer extra tips and some troubleshooting for setup and installation.

Don’t pull out the tabs in Nest Detects (yet!)

Each Detect has a small tab that keeps the battery from discharging until it’s been pulled out. The tab also has a QR code that you’ll scan to connect it to the Nest app. If you pull out the tabs it’s easy to mix up which one belongs to a Detect.

If you did pull out a Detect’s battery tab, there’s a duplicate QR code in the battery compartment. Pull off the battery cover and remove the battery to reveal it. You can use a flathead screwdriver to pry off the cover if needed.

Lay everything out on a table

Check that you have all the pieces that came in the box

nest guard illustration

nest tags line

Two Nest Detects

One Nest Guard
Alarm, motion sensor,
microphone and keypad.

Two Nest Tags
Key fob to quickly arm and
disarm your home.

Two Nest Detect sensors
with open-close magnets

Senses when a door or
window opens or when
someone walks nearby.


For Guard installation

secure guard power cable

secure guard power adapter

Secure guard power adapter bracket and screw

Power cable

Power adapter

Power adapter bracket and


For Detect installation

secure detect corner backplates Extra adhesive mounting strips secure detect backplate screws

Corner backplates

Extra adhesive mounting


Get the other things you’ll need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Phone or tablet
  • Download the Nest app from the Apple App Store or from Google Play.
  • A tape measure can help to make sure you’re installing Detects at the correct height.
  • A power drill can help for drilling pilot holes to mount Detects on hard surfaces if you can’t or don’t want to use the adhesive mounting strips

Getting started

Create a free account

If you’re new to Nest, create an account with the app. We recommend using 2-step verification for enhanced account security.

Setting up and installing Nest Guard

Set up Nest Guard first with the app. You won’t be able to set up Detects with the app until after you’ve finished with Guard. The app will walk you through all the steps. Some key points to remember:

  • Place Guard according to the height guidelines in the app and User Guide. If you put it higher or lower, its detection range will be affected or you may encounter false alarms.
  • Make sure Guard’s sensor has a clear view of the room. Don’t put mail or other things on top or in front of it.

For more information, see the following article:

Where to place a Nest Guard in your home

Assigning Nest Tags to people

  • You can give a person a Tag with Home Entry Only access or Full Access.
  • Tags with Home Entry Only access are good for people like younger children, guests, or your dog walker.
  • You can also create a schedule for Home Entry Only Access, so they can arm or disarm only within a specific time range.

For step by step instructions, see the following article:

How to set up a Tag for yourself or another person

Setting up and installing Nest Detects

  • The app will walk you through setting up each of your Nest Detects. You’ll scan the QR code on your Detect when prompted, connect it to your Nest account, install it, and test it. You’ll need to complete all of these steps before you add another Nest Detect.

For step by step instructions about installing a Detect on a door, window, or wall, see the following article:

How to set up and install Nest Detect

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