Troubleshooting Nest video issues

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On occasion, you may find that the Nest app says the camera is off, not connected, or continually loading. Here are some helpful tips if you run into issues watching your video from a Mac or Windows computer.

Applies to: Nest Cam Outdoor, Nest Cam IQ indoor, Nest Cam Indoor, Dropcam Pro, Dropcam

You may see one of the messages below while trying to watch video on a computer at home.nest.com.

This article is about watching video on a Mac or Windows computer. We also have some suggestions if you’re having trouble watching video on a phone or tablet instead.

“The camera is off”

This message means that your Nest Cam is online but turned off.

In the upper right hand corner of your screen, just above the video and below the Settings icon  you will see an On/Off switch. Click on this switch to turn the camera back on.

“The camera is not connected”

This message means that the camera may be unplugged or there may have been a power outage. It may also have lost its Wi-Fi connection.

See our tips for solving camera connection issues:

The video shows a spinning circle or the video won’t load:

 Certain issues can prevent your video from loading at all. Or you might see a spinning circle that means the video is “buffering” or “loading,” but it never goes away. It could be that your computer isn’t receiving enough of the video to begin playback, or there’s an issue with your browser and its settings. This is usually caused by one or more of the following:

– Limited bandwidth

– Wireless interference

– Firewall settings

– Older browser

How to fix limited bandwidth

Your camera needs enough bandwidth to stream video 24/7. You may want to run an internet speed test to check on how much available bandwidth your internet connection currently has. We recommend a connection with at least 2Mbps of upload bandwidth for one camera, and more if you have multiple cameras.

If you have limited bandwidth, you can change the quality of your video to save bandwidth.

Learn about internet bandwidth and speed requirements for Nest cameras:

Nest cameras and Nest Hello stream video by uploading footage to the Nest service in the cloud, then downloading the footage to your phone or tablet for viewing. Both use your internet connection’s bandwidth. You can tell your camera to use less bandwidth for uploading video, which can help if your connection isn’t fast enough, and it also uses less of your monthly data allowance if you have one.

Applies to: Nest Hello, Nest Cam Outdoor, Nest Cam IQ outdoor, Nest Cam IQ indoor, Nest Cam Indoor,Dropcam Pro, Dropcam

Bandwidth is commonly referred to as internet speed – how fast your connection is. With Nest cameras, your internet connection’s upload bandwidth and download bandwidth both play important roles.

Tip: Check with your internet service provider to learn about your plan’s upload and download speeds, so you can see if they meet the requirements below.

Your camera uploads video to the Nest service in the cloud, using some of your home internet connection’s bandwidth in the process.

When you pick a quality and bandwidth setting, you’re setting the maximum video quality for your camera. No matter which level you choose, your camera will automatically adjust its resolution and compression according to how much bandwidth is available.

For a general idea of how much bandwidth your camera uses to do this, select your model below:

Quality and bandwidth setting Low Medium low Medium high High
Maximum upload bandwidth 800 Kbps
(0.8 Mbps)
1320 Kbps
(1.3 Mbps)
2000 Kbps
(2.0 Mbps)
4000 Kbps
(4.0 Mbps)
Typical resolution¹
up to
720p 1080p 1080p 1080p

¹ Your camera will automatically adjust video resolution based on available bandwidth and other factors.

How to fix wireless interference

Different materials or devices in your home could weaken your Wi-Fi signal, and other wireless appliances in your house (cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, baby monitors, microwave ovens) can cause interference — even appliances that don’t use Wi-Fi.

Making some minor adjustments to your Wi-Fi settings or minimizing the number of walls and ceilings between your router and the camera can help.

Firewall settings

Although this can happen at home, it’s more likely to happen in a work environment or somewhere with public or shared computers. In order to watch your video:

– If you’re trying to watch your Nest Cam video from the office, contact your network admin or IT department.

– If you’re at home, check your Wi-Fi router’s settings (see the router’s manual for specific instructions) or contact the person who set up your network and internet connection.

How to fix an older browser

If your web browser needs to be updated, it might not be able to load your Nest Cam’s video stream.

It’s a good idea to keep your web browser updated to the latest version. Your browser may automatically update itself, or you may need to do it manually. Nest Cam works with Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox browsers. The support site for your specific browser can show you how to check the version and update it if needed.

How to change your camera’s video quality:

The video quality and bandwidth setting lets you choose how much of your internet connection gets used by your camera to stream video. Higher quality settings use more bandwidth. No matter which option you pick, both your camera and the Nest app will automatically adjust their resolution to work with available bandwidth.

Applies to: Nest Hello, Nest camerasNest cameras stream video by uploading footage to the Nest service in the cloud, then downloading the footage to your phone or tablet for viewing. The Nest app and your camera work together to automatically adjust the video on both ends to minimize disconnects, pauses, or stuttering when needed.

How to change the video quality setting for your camera:

The higher the video quality setting you choose, the sharper and more detailed your footage can be, but it also uses more of your internet bandwidth. If you have a Nest Aware subscription, this will be the video quality at which your footage gets recorded.

How to change your camera’s video quality setting:

– On the Nest app home screen, select the camera that you want to change settings for.

– In the upper right, tap Settings  .

– Tap Quality and bandwidth.

– The leftmost option labeled Low uses the smallest amount of bandwidth. Higher settings use more bandwidth.

Keep in mind, this setting lets you pick the maximum video quality for your camera. No matter which level you choose, your camera will automatically adjust its resolution and compression according to how much bandwidth is available.

What happens when you change this setting

– Wi-Fi troubleshooting: If your camera frequently disconnects, or if the other Wi-Fi devices in your home seem slower than normal when your camera is streaming, manually lowering the Quality and bandwidth setting may help fix the immediate issue. If so, you should try to troubleshoot the root cause, which is usually a Wi-Fi connection or bandwidth issue.

– Resolution in video history: When you have a Nest Aware subscription and you pick a video quality setting, you’re also picking the quality at which the footage gets recorded. You won’t be able to go back and watch your saved footage at a higher video quality.

– Small gap in video history: After you change the Quality and bandwidth setting, your camera will take a moment to restart and switch to the new video quality setting. If you have a Nest Aware subscription there may be a few seconds gap in your video history while your camera restarts.

Video quality is automatically adjusted when you’re watching footage

No matter what kind of wireless connection you have on your phone, tablet or computer, you’ll be able to view Nest camera video with minimal interruptions. That’s because the Nest app automatically detects the speed of your connection and adapts accordingly.

If the Nest app detects a fast connection, it will play your video at a higher quality and resolution. On a slow connection, it lowers the quality and resolution to help reduce pauses as you watch. So, even if you’ve set your camera to a higher video quality setting, you may see a low-res version on your device if you have a slow connection.

Switch to a Wi-Fi network with plenty of bandwidth if you want to watch your footage at the full video quality setting you chose above.

Wi-Fi 4G or LTE cellular 3G or 2G cellular
Watching live or recorded video on phone, tablet or computer 1080p maximum
(720p maximum for original Dropcam or Dropcam HD)
720p maximum 224p maximum
(400×224 pixels)

Learn about wireless interference and how to troubleshoot it

If you’re having trouble connecting Nest products or other wireless devices, or suffer from slow network communications or intermittent disconnections, here are detailed explanations about the causes and symptoms of wireless interference, along with troubleshooting tips.

Wireless interference typically comes from three sources: walls and floors blocking wireless signals, other Wi-Fi networks using the same channel as your own Wi-Fi network, and appliances and electronics emitting radio frequency interference. While your home Wi-Fi network and Weave may only be affected by one or two of these, almost every wireless network can be affected by all three types of interference.

Symptoms of wireless interference

Most homes experience all three kinds of wireless interference, but symptoms can vary. Read below to see if your Nest product is experiencing any of the symptoms of wireless interference.

Here are some quick tips for troubleshooting your home’s wireless interference.

– Enable channel auto-switching on your router

– If possible, move your wireless access point/router

– If possible, move your Nest product closer to your access point/router

– Unplug other electronics that may be interfering with your connection

– Install a range-extender or repeater

Important: If you use multiple access points on your network, such as a second router or range-extender, make sure that all of them use the settings recommended below. If they don’t all use the same settings, they may not be able to connect to each other or your Nest products. It’s a good idea to use access points and extenders that are made by the same manufacturer. This can improve the chances that your extender is compatible with your access point.

Note: When troubleshooting wireless interference, test what works best for your home connection. Every network is different, and every home experiences unique difficulties caused by wireless interference.