Learn more about Home/Away Assist

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Home/Away Assist uses input from activity sensors in your Nest products and your phone’s location to automatically switch the behavior of Nest products in your home when you leave and when you come back. You don’t have to manually set each product or rely on a fixed schedule.

You can open the Nest app any time to see whether your home is in Home or Away mode.

There are two ways Home/Away Assist determines whether anybody’s home: where people’s phones are, and whether Nest products are currently noticing any activity in your home.

There are several things that determine when Home/Away Assist will switch your Nest home’s behavior. The exact timing depends on what Nest products you have in your home, your phone’s location, whether there are other people in your home, and more.

After Home/Away Assist is set up in the Nest app, your home will automatically switch between Home and Away modes as you (and other people who share access to your Nest home) come and go. Exactly when your home will automatically switch to Home or Away depends on several things such as the location of everyone who shares access to your Nest home. Factors like your phone’s cell signal strength, nearby Wi-Fi signals, and your phone’s hardware and software versions can also affect the accuracy of your location.

It also matters where your Nest and Works with Nest products are installed in your home (so they can sense activity), and which products you’ve set to help determine if you’re at home or gone. But the more you use Home/Away Assist and it learns about your home, it will get better at knowing when you’ve left and when you’re back.

Note: You can also manually set your house to Home or Away with the Nest app to adjust all your Nest and Works with Nest products. To confirm that you’ve set Away manually, you’ll see Away in the Nest app.

Here are some more details on how Home/Away Assist works, and when it will switch your Nest home to Home or Away automatically:

How Home/Away Assist learns

– Home/Away Assist should start working right away if you’ve set your phone to help tell when you’re home. If you don’t have a phone helping with Home/Away Assist, there will be a learning period that usually takes about a week before your home can automatically switch to Home or Away.

– If you don’t have a phone set to help with Home/Away Assist, the accuracy and timing can be affected, especially if your Nest Thermostat or Nest Protect don’t typically see a lot of activity. For instance, if you have a Nest Thermostat installed in an alcove that is away from normal daily traffic, it may not be able to notice when people arrive.

How each Nest product helps with Home/Away Assist

– If you have a Nest Thermostat, it will notice activity and switch your home out of Away mode very quickly. But it will wait a while before switching itself to Eco Temperatures, and switching your other products to Away mode, to make sure everyone’s gone.

– Nest Cams and Dropcams won’t switch your home between Home and Away. So if you only have cameras, you’ll need a phone or tablet set to help with Home/Away Assist.

– Wired 120V and 230V Nest Protects will notice activity right away, so they can switch your home to Home mode very quickly. However, they’ll wait to report inactivity to help ensure that nobody’s still at home.

Note: To maximize battery life, battery powered Protects check in less often, but they can help improve Home/Away Assist accuracy.

When your home will switch to Home or Away

– If you don’t have a Nest Thermostat, your home will switch to Away soon after you leave with your phone. If you have a Nest Thermostat, there will be a delay before your home switches to Away to balance comfort and energy savings. Your thermostat will learn to wait to see if you’re coming back soon or if there’s still someone at home. It will wait anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to switch your home to Away mode, depending on what it has learned about your home and your habits.

– Your schedule matters. If you have a regular morning schedule and are always out of the door by 8:00am to catch the bus, then your home might automatically switch to Away as soon as 8:30am. But if you have an irregular schedule, or if it turns out that someone is still home after it’s switched to Away, Home/Away Assist will learn and adapt. It may take longer to switch to Away in the future.

– Your home won’t go into Away mode immediately after you walk out the door or drive out of the garage. There are two reasons for this. First, your phone’s exact location isn’t being tracked and there’s a buffer zone around your home. Second, because Home/Away Assist also uses sensor data from your Nest products and your historical occupancy patterns, your home will take some time to make sure that people aren’t still inside before it switches to Away. It does this to help make sure that just because someone has left, the people who may still be home won’t have the lights suddenly switched off or the heating turned down.

– Switching to Home happens much faster than switching to Away. When you walk through the door, your home may already be in Home mode. If your phone’s location hasn’t yet triggered the switch by the time you get home, there will usually only be a short delay. Your home should switch soon after your Nest Thermostat or wired Nest Protect detects your presence.

– Home/Away Assist won’t automatically put your home into Away during the night when Nest product sensors probably won’t detect any activity. Otherwise, unwanted things might happen. For instance, you wouldn’t want your Nest Thermostat to be set to Eco Temperatures while you’re asleep. That would probably make everyone uncomfortable. However, if you’ve installed your Nest products in a business, Home/Away Assist will switch Nest products to Away mode, and set the thermostat to Eco Temperatures during the night.