Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.
Nest Labs is one of the biggest names in the smart home industry thanks to its iconic Nest Learning Thermostat. Since launching in 2010, the company has released various smart products, including webcams, smoke detectors, security systems, and more.
There’s one app you can use to control all of these products: the free Nest app for iOS and Android. But what exactly does the Nest app do? And what features does it offer? Keep reading to find out.
Which Devices Are Supported?
The Nest app currently supports the following smart home products:
- Thermostats: Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Thermostat E
- Cameras: Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and Indoor, Nest Cam Outdoor and Indoor, DropCams
- Security System: Nest Secure
- Smoke Alarm: Nest Protect
- Doorbell: Nest Hello (coming in 2018)
There are limits to how many homes, devices, and accounts may use the same installed app:
- 2 homes
- 10 Nest Cams/Dropcams per home
- 20 Nest Thermostats per home
- 18 Nest Protects per home
- 10 Nest Accounts per home
You can download the Nest app from the App Store and Google Play store, respectively:
Nest App Basics
If you’re planning on using the Nest app, you must have a free Nest account. If you don’t have one yet, you can create one directly on the app’s login screen. You must also have at least one Nest product ready to install in your home. A Wi-Fi connection is also required to connect your Nest products to the internet.
On your phone or tablet, the Nest app’s home screen lists all the Nest products in your home. From this screen, you can scroll through all of your products and select the one you wish to manage.
To add a new product, you click on the setup icon at the top right of the app screen. From here, select “Add Product” and follow the on-screen directions. You’ll need to scan the QR code that came with the product to get started.
Under Settings, you can also manage your Nest account and change the settings for features that might affect your home setups, such as Home/Away Assist and Family Accounts. The Settings section is also where you’ll find occasional rebates and rewards for when you’re in the market for a new Nest product.
Once you get past the basic settings, what you can do with the Nest app varies, depending on the products you have installed. Here’s a brief look at what you can do with the app for each product.
Using the Nest App With Thermostats
Nest thermostats have been designed to work behind the scenes with very little human interaction. As such, it will eventually program itself to give you the best possible heating and cooling experience automatically. In doing so, it learns to program itself to save energy.
One of the ways it does this is by using your smartphone’s current location to set the temperature. For example, thanks to the app, it will know whether you’re at home, hundreds of miles away, or on your way home.
Once it learns the routine of everyone in your household (everyone must install the app on their own smartphone), the system will create a thermostat schedule that you can view or change. You can also check the Nest app to see how much energy you have recently used.
And yes, you can change the temperature in your home with the app.
Other features include: getting extreme temperature alerts before your home gets too cold and earning a digital “Leaf” when you choose a temperature that saves you energy.
Using the Nest App With Indoor and Outdoor Cameras
Nest cameras provide security inside and outside your home. With the app, you can check a video feed 24/7 from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an active internet connection.
During a possible emergency, you can receive alerts on your smart device. That way, you can always make sure your home is secure. Some Nest cams also come with a powerful speaker so you can scare off intruders using noise cancellation and echo suppression.
Nest’s cameras aren’t just for security. With a premium Nest Aware subscription, you can take your video-recording to a new level and discover life’s moments worth keeping. For example, your camera might uncover your baby’s first steps or that time your dog ran through your home wet after a bath. (Without a subscription, Nest cameras record three hours of video.)
Using the Nest App With the Nest Secure Alarm System
The Nest Secure alarm system is three devices in one. It includes the Nest Guard, which the company calls the brains of the system. It consists of an alarm, keypad, and motion sensor. The Nest Detect devices are sensors that monitor for movements with doors and windows or inside a room. Finally, there’s a Nest Tag, which you can carry around when your phone isn’t available, to disarm the security system.
To complete your security system, you should also purchase an outdoor Nest camera, which will allow you to monitor your home, 24/7.
With the Nest App, Nest Guard users can perform a few tasks remotely, including the ability to arm and disarm the system. The app also keeps track of someone’s comings and goings with Nest’s Family Account integration. You can also set the app to remind you when you leave home without setting the alarm.
Is a guest about to arrive? With the Nest app, you can invite guests from the app, sending them an email invitation with passcodes to get into your home. You can even decide when those codes expire. Finally, use the app to receive a security alert whenever an alarm has been triggered, either on a door/window, or when someone entered a room.
Using the Nest App With Nest Protect
The Nest Protect alarm monitors your home for smoke and carbon monoxide. The Nest app sends out an alert when either is detected. You’ll also receive a message when the unit’s batteries are low, or when it runs a monthly test of the system.
Also from the app, you can temporarily silence the arm, run a safety check, and see the current status for Nest Protect’s batteries, sensors, and Wi-Fi connection.
Using the Nest App With IFTTT and Other Options
The Nest app provides all the tools necessary to monitor and maintain each of the Nest products. When you want these products to work in concert with non-Nest smart home products, look to IFTTT.
This free web-based service allows you to create chains of simple condition statements, called applets. Best of all: there’s already a lot of Nest-based applets available both online and in the IFTTT app for iOS and Android.
For example, with IFTTT, you can have your lights turn off when your Nest thermostat is set to Away mode, or get a phone call when a Nest camera detects motion. You could also use an applet to blink your lights when Nest Protect detects smoke. There’s even a tool to test applets with Nest products you haven’t purchased yet.
Can’t find something? Create your own IFTTT applets!
The Nest app and IFTTT aren’t the only ways to monitor your Nest protects. On Apple Watch and Android Wear, you can now see notifications and change your Nest thermostat’s temperature. On Android TV and Apple TV, you can view football from your Nest Cams and Dropcams.
For Beginners and Experts Alike
Nest products have been designed for use by both beginners and experts, and the official Nest app reflects this. There is a lot you can do with this app, although it’s ultimately up to you how to use it.
Are you the type of person who likes to control every action on your smart devices? Go right ahead. Would you rather have automation take over? You can do that too.
Which Nest products do you use? How often do you find yourself using the Nest app? Let us know below.
Image Credit: REDPIXEL/Depositphotos