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How to set up Nest Secure

On April 8, 2024, Nest will no longer support Nest Secure. It will not be accessible in the Nest app and will no longer connect to the internet. You will not be able to use the Nest app to check the status of your Nest Secure, control your Nest Secure devices, or receive notifications from your alarm system. 

For more information, go to this Community Forum post.

To set up and install Google Nest Secure, simply follow the instructions in the Nest app. The app will guide you through each step.

Here are some tips and troubleshooting steps to help you set up and install your system.

Before you begin

Installation overview

Here's what you'll need to do to install your Nest Secure alarm system:

  1. Plug in your Google Nest Guard and set it up with the app.
  2. Set up your Google Nest Tags with the app, and assign them to people so they can arm and disarm the system.
  3. 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.

Security alarm registration with local law enforcement

Some regions require homes to register their self-monitored alarm systems with their local law enforcement.

To check whether you need to register your Nest Secure alarm system in your area, contact the non-emergency services of your local law enforcement. They should also be able to tell you how to complete registration.

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.

Make an appointment with our installation partner OnTech, to have a trained pro come to your home, install and set up your Nest products.

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

Plan your installation

Nest Secure comes with the following:

  • A Nest Guard
  • Two Nest Detects

You can have one Guard in your home. It functions as a keypad to arm and disarm your home, an information center for alerts and status, alarm, and a motion sensor.

The Nest app also lets you disarm and arm, check status, and receive alerts. That way there’s no need for additional Guards. The Nest app won’t let you add a second Guard to the same home.

Where to place Nest Guard

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 to place Nest Detect

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 and what exactly you want to monitor.

When installed on a door, Detect can sense the door opening and closing, as well as other motion. On a wall, Detect will look for motion.

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.

Note: 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.

Where you place the Detects is up to you, but you may not need both a Detect and Guard watching the same location. For instance, you could place a Detect on the back door if Guard is near your front door.

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. 

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.

More security with Nest cameras

You also might want to consider a Google Nest camera for some situations. Nest Camera can also alert you when it detects a person and other important events. Depending on the camera model and whether you have a Nest Aware subscription, it can save the footage to the cloud.

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 an account

If you’re new to Nest, create an account with the app.

Set up and install 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 experience 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.

Where to place a Nest Guard in your home

Assign 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.

Set up a Tag for yourself or another person

Set up and install 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.

Set up and install Nest Detect

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