17 Clever Tips and Tricks for Your Indoor Nest Camera

Indoor Nest Camera inside homeIndoor Nest Camera inside home

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If you just bought a new Indoor Nest Camera you are probably wondering what you can do with it besides sneak a peek of your pet in the middle of the workday or watch your kids play in the backyard after dinner. There are different things you can do to get the most out of your camera from setting up the correct alerts, utilizing Home/Away Assist, to setting up two-factor authentication.

The following tips and tricks will ensure you know everything there is to know about your Indoor Nest Camera.

Tip 1: Camera Placement

Camera placement for your Indoor Nest Camera is important. You need to first ask yourself what you want your camera to watch for specifically. Do you want to watch for people coming through the front door or back door? Will you want to talk and listen to people in view of the camera? Will you want the ability to keep an eye on all of the animals in your home?

All of these variables should be taken into considerations when determining the best location for your camera so that you get all of the alerts you need:

  • How high to place the camera (best if placed at head level – consider this if you specifically watching your children),
  • The camera is placed in such a manner that it catches the faces of people in view,
  • The microphone of the camera is in range to hear and speak to those in view,
  • Consider how away to place the camera to your object or viewing area so that all activity can be accurately detected, and
  • Ensure the power cable to the camera is still in the range of its power socket.

Check out some of our other favorite smart cameras here! We break down wired, wireless, indoor and outdoor models.

Tip 2: How to Use Home/Away Assist

Utilizing Home/Away Assist will ensure you get the most out of your Indoor Nest Camera. In essence, when you leave your home your phone’s location determines that you are no longer in the house alerting the camera to turn on and start recording. When you initially set up your Nest account you are asked when your home location is.

Understand that Nest is not continuously tracking where your phone is, however, GPS location will be checked on occasion if your WiFi and cell connection are lost. Nest sets up what is called a ‘buffer’ around the home location to determine when you are home. The Nest camera (and other products you have) build data that learn your habits understanding if other people are still in the home or not. Using this data, patterns are built allowing Nest to switch from Home to Away.

Typically, after a week or two of using Home/Away Assist the transition from each is seamless because Nest has learned your patterns and knows when you come home and leave.

So, how do you set up Home/Away Assist:

  1. Go to the Nest App
  2. Tap the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner
  3. Tap Home/Away Assist
  4. Tap What decides if you’re home
  5. Tap Use phone location and ensure it is set to Yes
  6. Tap the back button on the top left-hand corner
  7. Tap on your camera:
    1. Ensure Automatically turn the camera on and off is enabled
    1. Home is set to Turns Off
    1. Away is set to Turns On
Screenshots of Nest App setting it to Home mode

Tip 3: Setting Up Your Home Location

Screenshot from Nest App GPS map

It is important to set up your home location for your Nest Indoor Camera. This will be the premise for the Home/Away Assist feature. The most incredible feature about setting up your home location is that you can use a pin drop to get the most accurate representation of your home’s location.

When you put in your address it will bring up a map with the physical location of that address, but it will also show the GPS location of your phone allowing you to drag and drop your precise location. This is a fantastic feature for apartment complexes, condos, multiple cameras, etc.

Tip 4: Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

Privacy and protection are increasingly important for home security cameras. Setting up indoor cameras allows perpetrators to see inside your life, which makes it imperative that you add a layer of security to those who have access to your Indoor Camera. Luckily, Nest does have a two-factor authentication option built into your account.

First, you will need to enable two-factor authentication. To do this:

  1. Go to the Nest App
  2. Tap the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner
  3. Tap on Account
  4. Tap on Manage Account
  5. Tap on Account Security
  6. Tap on 2-step verification and ensure it is enabled

Two-factor authentication will ensure you have two tools for signing into your account. You will need the password you created for your account plus a verification code sent by Nest each time you sign in, sent via text message to your cell phone. The catch is that this verification code cannot be received by hackers or anyone else trying to get into your account.

  1. Something you know – password
  2. Something you have – verification code

A Nest verification code will also be sent to you anytime you change your password, reset a password, or remove your phone number or turn off two-factor authentication.

Tip 5: Protect Your Home Network

Now that you know how to set up two-factor authentication, it is just as important to keep your home network safe and secure. This means ensuring the router you use at home for WiFi is updated on a regular basis and secure from predators. To do this you will need to login to the routers Administrative Settings and conduct a firmware update or router update.

Make sure your password is only shared with those you trust and uses the logical password parameters such as:

  • Length: At least 8-20 characters
  • Numbers: At least one number
  • Special Characters: At least one special character
  • Upper Case Letters: at least one capitalized letter
  • Lower Case Letters: At least one lower case letter
  • Do NOT use spaces
  • It is best to use a random password generator
  • Try to create a 128-bit password

Create a guest-network on your home network if you can for WiFi. Not all routers allow this for guest networks though.

Tip 6: Nest Aware Sightline View

Nest Aware Sightline View is only available on mobile phones. In fact, it is a special feature for mobile phones that gives you an activity timeline of events that have happened throughout the day full of motion, noise, and alter activity alerts.

You can scroll through your timeline or history to see videos (snapshots) of what took place. From each of these recorded videos, you can save clips, create time lapses, download the video or even share the video.

What you will notice is that each recorded snapshot of ‘activity’ has bars that show you when the activity started and ended. You also have alerts based on the size and color of the dots in the activity feed.

  • Gray Dot: Motion outside of activity Zone
  • Color Dots: Motion inside Activity Zone
  • Longer Bar: Longer Period of Motion

Within the app, you can filter your Sightline and Event history by events you want to see as well.

Tip 7: Nest App Night Vision Sightline View

One of the unique features that Nest has is its Night Vision. The Nest Indoor Camera has an option called Night Vision that allows you to enable it to ‘Always On’ so that at night a dim lite room has a bit lighter and your picture is not picking up a pitch black video. The cameras have infrared (IR) LEDs that help illuminate the video feed and not just the center, the entire wide-angle view.

It is also important to mention that the range will depend on how much light is exposed to the room. Most of the Nest cameras have a range of about 20 feet, while the Nest Cam Outdoor has a bit more due to its need for functionality. 20 feet should be plenty for your living room, kitchens, and playrooms. If you leave a backlight on or maybe a lamp that will add some enhancement and make the night vision functionality even more successfully.

Remember that at night your video will be in black and white due to the infrared (IR) LEDs being used.

How do you set up the Night Vision on your Nest Indoor Camera?

  1. Go to the Nest App
  2. Tap the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner
  3. Tap the Camera you want to view
  4. Tap on Night Vision and either choose Off, Auto, or Always on
Screenshot of Nest App motion sensors

Tip 8: Turn off Sound Detection or Adjust Microphone Settings

The Nest Indoor Camera is excellent at deciphering the difference between a person, a dog, hearing something inside your home, or outside your home. However, you may have a camera in a location that has a lot of background noise. Because of this, you may not necessarily need sound notifications as much as motion. Luckily, Nest allows us to decipher the two and choose what we want.

To adjust the microphone volume on the Nest Indoor Camera:

  1. Go to the Nest App
  2. Tap the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner
  3. Tap the Camera you want to view
  4. Tap on Microphone
  5. Tap Microphone Sensitivity and then select what level of sensitivity you want

Now, you can also choose to turn off audio recording which will stop all alerts for sound. You can still listen in on the kids in the playroom via the live feed, but you will not get bombarded with multiple alerts. The same will go for barking dogs.

To turn off Audio:

  1. Go to the Nest App
  2. Tap the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner
  3. Tap the Camera you want to view
  4. Tap on Microphone
  5. Tap Microphone
  6. Tap Audio Recording and disable

Tip 9: Set Up and Utilize Activity Zones

Activity Zones allow you to pick specific targets within the camera’s view to focus on. This allows for a more specialized set of alerts. They become more meaningful to you and reduce the likelihood of an overload of notifications about motion, seeing someone, or hearing something. Activity Zones allow you to:

  • Set up 4 different focus areas in one camera
  • You can set up the Activity Zone to be a specific shape, size, color, or name
  • Alerts are specific to your likely zone
  • You can even set up an activity zone and set up the alerts such that you only receive alerts for activity outside of the zone

To create an Activity Zone:

  1. Go to the Nest App
  2. Tap the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner
  3. Tap the Camera you want to view
  4. Tap on Activity Zone (Note: You must subscribe to Nest Aware)
  5. Tap Create Zone
  6. Rotate your phone to landscape mode for a more manageable field of view and creation of the zone
  7. Tap on each corner of the zone to drag and change the position (you can choose any shape you want). You can also drag the zone to move it to a specific location in the camera’s view.
  8. Change the color of the Activity Zone by selecting a different colored circle on the bottom of the screen.
  9. To name your Activity Zone, tap the pencil where it says ‘Zone 1’. Once finished tap checkmark to save it.

Tip 10: Add a Family Member to Your Account

Nest allows you to add Family Members to your account. The Nest Indoor Camera only allows Full Access for those you add as Family Members. This means that they have full control of the product just as you do as the owner. Family Members will be able to view all cameras set up, see history, change any settings, set up Activity Zones, privacy settings, invite other people to your app, etc.

To add a Family Member:

  1. Go to the Nest App
  2. Tap the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner
  3. Tap on Family (Note: You must subscribe to Nest Aware)
  4. Tap Add a person
  5. Type in their name and tap Continue
  6. Enter their email address and a message that will be emailed to them
  7. Tap Send

Don’t forget that once a Family Member has been added they have Full Access to your camera.

Tip 11: Share Nest Camera Video Stream

Let’s say you want, your Mother, the grandmother of your children to have access to one or two of your Nest Indoor Camera for a weekend while you are away so that she can keep an eye on your almost-adult teenage children. Can you share the live video stream without giving her full access to your cameras?

Absolutely! All you have to do is send her a password-protected link of the video stream to the camera of your choice.

To share your live video stream via a password protected link:

  1. Go to the Nest App via a computer (Note: You cannot change your settings on your phone or tablet)
  2. Click on the Profile Button in the top right-hand corner of the browser and select Settings
  3. Under Products, click on the camera you want to share
  4. Click on the Camera sharing button
  5. Select ‘Share with Password’ or ‘Share publicly’ tap Agree & Share

Now your Mother will need the link and password to access your live feed.

Tip 12: How to Use the ‘Talk’ Feature in Live Video Feed

Do you like to talk to your dogs when you are at work? I do! I like to see the look on their faces when they hear my voice. I like to see them running around looking for me.

Lucky for you, if you are anything like me, the Nest Indoor Camera has a microphone on it that has a ‘talk’ feature. What this also means is that if someone is actually in the home you can talk to each other in a conversational manner. It is a pretty important feature for numerous reasons from security to family reminders.

How do you use the Talk and Listen feature?

  1. Go to the Nest App
  2. Tap the Camera you want to view and speak through
  3. Tap on the Talkbutton
  4. A tone will sound on the Camera one time indicating the feature is enabled and someone is trying to communicate
  5. Once you are done speaking into the camera, Tap the Talkbutton again to ‘hang’ up
  6. A tone will sound on the Camera one more time indicating the conversation has concluded

Tip 13: Change Your Cameras Image Quality

Now, let’s walk you through changing your image quality. The quality of feed you get is determined by your internet connection. In the simplest terms possible this means the better video quality the more bandwidth used and the more bandwidth you use the better internet connection you need.

You need to understand that your video is uploaded to the Nest cloud service and then downloaded to your phone via the Nest app. With that said, your phone (the Nest app) and your Nest Indoor Camera work simultaneously to adjust the video quality based on interruptions in internet connection, slowdowns, etc.

You have the capability to alter your cameras video quality setting. To do so:

  1. Go to the Nest App
  2. Tap the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner
  3. Tap the Camera you want to view
  4. Tap on Quality and bandwidth
  5. Select the bandwidth level you wish

Tip 14: Create Schedules for Your Nest Indoor Camera

We have talked about Home/Away Assist; however, you can set up schedules that determine when your Nest Indoor Camera turns on and off. Schedules will allow your camera to turn on even if someone is home. Nest has a limit for setting a schedule for up to 32 times a week.

A schedule is for all practical purposes set from a specific start time to specific end time. For example Mondays from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

To create a custom camera schedule:

  1. Go to the Nest App
  2. Tap the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner
  3. Tap the Camera you want to view
  4. Tap on Schedule and make sure you enable by toggling
    1. Tap on each day of the week to select a schedule (Note: you will see that the entire day is selected by default)
    1. Tap Add Time to select a specific time for your schedule
    1. Select the time for the camera to turn on and off then choose Repeat if you want this same schedule for multiple days
  5. Turn off Home/Away Assist so that the schedule works
    1. Tap the Settings icon in the top right-hand corner
    1. Tap Home/Away Assist
    1. Disable
Screenshot of Nest App Camera Setting Schedule to turn on and off

Tip 15: Hide Your Camera

Most people put the Nest Indoor Camera in plain sight; however, there are some incredible ways to hide your camera or make it a little less inconspicuous.

Nest Indoor Camera with minion skin
Nest Indoor Camera with Mike Wazowski skin

There are companies that make skin outfits for your camera that are designed to make them a little less obvious.

There are devices that make them easier for mounting in plants or other furniture for ease of hiding. There are even companies that make plush toys that allow you to put your camera inside of them for hidden baby room cameras or toy rooms.

The choice is yours, but there are options available for hiding your camera in plain sight. It is simply a personal preference.

Tip 16: Avoid These Types of Wi-Fi Networks

Remember that Nest uses the internet to send notifications to you from the Nest application (from your Nest Indoor Camera). A wireless network is needed to communicate by and between the Nest Indoor Camera and the Nest App. However, you should be careful about what type of network you set up at home. It is best to avoid home networks such as:

  • Mobile hotspots
  • Guest networks
  • Open networks
  • DSL less than 2 Mbps
  • 5GHz0-only networks
  • Captive portal networks (which are never common in a home network – you find these in airports and hotels)
  • Enterprise 802.1x/RADIUS networks

Your standard home network with a router connected that supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi is the standard protocol that Nest products, including the Nest Indoor Camera and the Nest app support.

Tip 17: Subscribe to Nest Aware

Last, but not least, it is in your best interest to subscribe to Nest Aware. Nest Aware provides the intelligent alerts, continuous recording, video clips, and activity zones that you certainly need with any home security system.

The subscription services give you the option to choose from 5, 10, or 30-day recording, which cost the equivalent for a monthly purchase and there are savings for long-term purchases.

To add Nest Aware to your current Nest Indoor Camera:

  1. Go to the Nest App via a computer (Note: You cannot change your settings on your phone or tablet)
  2. Click on Sign In in the top right-hand corner of the browser and select Subscriptions
  3. You may be redirected automatically, if not select Subscribe
  4. You will see your camera with a list of price options and subscriptions to choose from
  5. Select Add next to the one you want
  6. Select Proceed to Checkout

Once you have subscribed to Nest Aware you can set up your custom alerts, Activity Zones, etc.

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