Learn about sound detection for speakers and displays

With a Nest Aware subscription, your Google speaker or display (Google Home Mini, Google Nest Hub, etc.) can pick up the sound of any smoke alarm and send you an alert from the Home app. Your speaker or display can also let you know when it detects glass breaking (such as a window) in your home. That way, your speaker or display can notify you when something happens, even if you’re far away.

Important things to know

  • Sound detection does not let your speaker or display detect smoke. It can only detect the sound of a smoke alarm. Sound detection is not a replacement for an alarm system and cannot contact emergency services, such as the police or fire department, on your behalf.

  • You must have a Nest Aware subscription and a US address saved in the Home app to use sound detection on your speaker or display.

  • Smoke alarm and glass breaking detection isn’t available with a 1st gen Nest Aware subscription.

  • You need the Home app to turn on sound detection for your speaker or display and change settings.

Other devices

Nest cameras can also detect sounds and notify you. To learn more, read our article about Nest camera’s motion and sound detection.

Nest Secure can also detect glass breaking. Read Secure’s glass break detection article to learn how it works and how to set it up in the Nest app.

How sound detection works

With sound detection, your speaker or display can notify you when it detects the sound of any smoke alarm or glass breaking, even when you’re away from home.

For example, if you’re gone but have left something on the stove, the smoke alarm in your home should go off when it detects smoke. With a Nest Aware subscription, the speaker you have in the same room as your smoke alarm can detect the sound your smoke alarm makes.

Your device records the alarm and saves the audio clip in the Home app. If you have notifications turned on, you’ll get a notification from the Home app.

You can use the notification to go directly to the sound detection event in the Feed. From there, you can simply tap the sound detection event to review the audio clip in the Home app. You can even listen to live audio to try and verify the sound of an alarm in your home.

If needed, you can use emergency calling in the Home app to quickly contact a 911 call center close to your home, even if you’re very far away.

Your speaker can work the same way if it were to detect the sound of a glass window breaking in your home. That way, if there is an intruder, you can contact emergency services to dispatch assistance to your home.

Requirements to use sound detection

  • A Nest Aware subscription. Sound detection is not available with a 1st gen Nest Aware subscription.

  • The Home app

  • An address in the United States

  • Any of the following speakers or displays:

    • Google Home

    • Google Home Max

    • Google Nest Mini

    • Google Home Mini

    • Google Nest Hub

    • Google Nest Hub Max

Placement guidelines for sound detection

For the best sound detection results, your device should be in the same room as a smoke alarm or window.

If that’s not possible, your device should have line of sight to the alarm or window. This means that walls, doors, and furniture should not block sound from the alarm or window to your device.

View sound detection events in the Home app

In the Home app, you can find and select sound detection events to review audio clips your speaker or display has recorded.

 

From a notification

You can use the notification to go directly to the sound detection event in the Feed. From there, you can simply tap the sound detection event to review the audio clip in the Home app.

In the Feed

The Feed is the section of the Home app that shows the events your supported Nest products detect. Learn more about the Feed in our help center.

  1. To go to the Feed, tap  in the bottom right corner of the screen.

  2. Find and select the sound detection event to open the sound clip. You may have to scroll down to find the sound detection event you want.

    • Smoke alarm and glass breaking events will automatically show up under Priority events at the top of the Feed.

    • Older smoke alarm and glass breaking events will move under Recent events in the Feed.

In progress alarms

If your display or speaker detects a smoke alarm and the event is In progress, it will show up at the top of the Home app. The ongoing sound detection event will be at the top of the Feed.

Dismiss a sound detection event

When you dismiss a sound detection event in the Feed, it will move to the top of Recent events.

  • If a sound detection event is in Priority events in the Feed, tap Dismiss.

  • If your speaker or display has detected a smoke alarm and the event is In progress, it will appear at the top of the Feed. Go to the Feed And then tap DismissDismiss icon on the event.

View Home history

You can go to your home’s history to view and filter sound detection events. This is helpful if you want to view events that are not as recent and won’t appear in Priority events or Recent events.

  1. Go to the Feed.

  2. Select Go to history at the top of the screen.

  3. Use the following filters in Home history to specify the kind of activity you want to review:

  • Device

  • Event type

  1. Find and select the sound detection event to open the sound clip. You may have to scroll down to find the one you want.

Audio clips

Select a sound detection event in the Home app to open the audio clip captured by your speaker or display.

Delete an audio clip

  1. Tap a sound detection event to open its audio clip.

  2. Tap Options in the top right corner of the screen.

  3. Select Delete audio clip.

 Listen to live audio

If a smoke alarm or glass breaking event happened recently, you can Listen live to hear what your speaker or display is detecting.

Note: When you begin to listen live, the device’s speaker will announce that someone is listening live.

  1. Select a sound detection event to open its audio clip.

  2. Tap Listen live. You’ll be able to listen to live audio for up to 3 minutes.

Use your phone’s microphone to speak through your device

When listening to live audio, tap Microphone Microphone icon to turn on the microphone, then speak. Tap it again to turn off the microphone.

Use emergency calling

If you’re listening to live audio in the Home app, you can tap Emergency calling  to call emergency services near your home.

Note: Make sure emergency calling is enabled in the Home app. If it’s disabled, you won’t see the option to use emergency calling.

Learn how to use emergency calling

Change settings for your speaker or display

Go to sound detection settings in the Home app:

  1. Tap Settings in the Home app.

  2. Choose Nest Aware.

  3. Select Sound detection. From there, you’ll be able to change sound detection settings.

Read the sections below to learn how to change specific settings.

Turn sound detection on or off

Note: You need to turn on the microphone for your speaker or display for sound detection to work.

Once you turn sound detection on, you can do the following:

  • Choose which sounds can be detected.

  • Select which speakers and displays participate in sound detection.

Note: These settings will apply to everyone in your home. Home members cannot set their own sound detection preferences. However, each home member can set their own notification preferences.

  1. Tap Settings  in the Home app.

  2. Choose Nest Aware.

  3. Select Sound detection.

  4. Toggle the switch to turn Sound detection on or off.

Change which sounds you want to be detected

When you change which sounds you want to be detected, it will apply to all speakers and displays you have set with sound detection.

  1. Tap Settings in the Home app.

  2. Choose Nest Aware.

  3. Select Sound detection.

  4. Under “Sounds,” check or uncheck the box next to Smoke alarms and Glass breaking to set the sounds you want your device to detect.

Set which devices participate in sound detection

When you change which speakers and displays participate in sound detection, it will apply for all home members. A home member cannot individually set which devices participate in sound detection.

  1. Tap Settings  in the Home app.

  2. Choose Nest Aware.

  3. Select Sound detection.

  4. Under “Devices,” toggle the switch to turn sound detection on or off for each device.

Change notification settings

Each home member can choose whether to receive notifications when a device detects a smoke alarm or glass breaking in your home.

  1. Tap Settings  in the Home app.

  2. Choose Nest Aware.

  3. Select Sound detection.

  4. Tap Sound detection notifications.

  5. Toggle the switch next to Smoke alarms and Glass breaking to turn notifications on or off for each sound.

Troubleshoot

If sound detection isn’t working on your speaker or display, go to our Troubleshoot sound detection article.

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