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Do You Need Nest Aware For A Nest Cam?

Last Updated Nov 29, 2021
outdoor nest cam

Sometimes, smart home tech gets confusing, particularly when it comes to subscription services. It can be hard to tell whether the device you are considering can be used without the subscription service offered, or if you’re better off signing up to get the features you’re looking for! Google offers a service called Nest Aware for Nest devices, but do you need Nest Aware for a Nest Cam? 

Nest Aware is not required to use the built-in features of your Nest Cam. Nest Aware is also not required to use your Nest Cam with your Google Home or Nest Home apps, speakers, or hubs. Nest Aware is a separate service offered by Google with a paid subscription.

Okay, so what’s the difference between Nest and Nest Aware? What features of the Nest Cam are available without a Nest Aware subscription? We need to get to the bottom of all this, starting with the difference between Nest and Nest Aware. No worries, we did a ton of research and we’ve got you covered!

The Difference Between Nest and Nest Aware

Google Nest is an app that is used to connect devices like the Nest Cam to Wifi and to control the basic features of your device. The Nest app also works with the Google Home app to create groups and connect devices to speakers and hubs. This app is provided by Google for free and without a subscription for use with your Nest devices.

Nest Aware is a cloud-based subscription service offered by Google that provides access to advanced features and video storage. Nest Aware is currently available in three plan options, and most Nest Cams come with a 30 Day Trial of Nest Aware Plus included with your purchase. This service is not required for you to use your Nest Cam, but it is required if you wish to access your recorded video footage past a certain amount of days. 

Nest Aware has recently released an updated version of their Nest Aware service, Nest Aware 2nd Gen. This second version includes several changes to Nest Aware 1st Gen features, as well as including new options. In this article, we’ve provided a full comparison of the Nest Aware 1st and 2nd Gen versions.

How long Do Nest Cameras Keep Footage Without Nest Aware?

Your Nest Cam retains recorded images and video using cloud storage for up to 10 days without Nest Aware. This footage is available for viewing in the Nest App for those 10 days. However, without Nest Aware you will only be able to view up to three hours of snapshots for previous video recordings. 

The Nest Cam Wired and Nest Cam Battery have enough internal memory to use local video storage to retain up to one hour of event recording when offline. These recordings will be uploaded automatically when the Cam is back online. For security reasons, the internal memory cannot be accessed until then. 

Nest Cam Basic Features Available Without Nest Aware

Your Nest Cam comes with basic features that do not require a subscription to Nest Aware for you to access. These features require the Google Home app to connect to your Wifi, as well as your other devices such as Google Assistant speakers and the Nest hub. 

We’ve provided a list of the basic features included with all Nest Cams below: 

  • Alerts: Motion, People, Vehicle, and Animal 
  • Video Recording: Event-Based Video Recording is included  
  • Video Quality: HDR Video and Night Vision
  • Power: Nest Cams come in both Battery and Wired models

In addition to basic Cam features, the Google Home app also connects your Nest Cam to your Google Assistant. Connecting your Nest Cam to your Google Assistant allows you to: 

  • Set up your Nest Cam and use your Google Assistant to control your cam with Google Home and Nest speakers and hubs
  • Control and manage your Nest Cam along with other devices within the Google Home App
  • Manage your Nest Cam device settings 
  • Use Google Home to place your Nest Cam in a Group with similar devices based on Room(Location) or type of device(Cameras) 
  • Enable Routines to control your Nest Cam automatically based on your preference 


When it comes to smart home tech, it’s important to know as much as possible about the devices you’re considering before you choose to add them to your home. This is especially true when deciding whether the device’s features are suitable for you without the addition of a paid subscription. 

In this article, we answered the initial question of whether you need Nest Aware for the Nest Cam, as well as went into the difference between Nest and Nest Aware and what features of your Nest Cam can be used without a Nest Aware subscription. 

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