Why Is Nest Cam Idle

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The “idle” mode is a feature that appears in the Nest app when your camera isn’t actively streaming video when you’re at home, asleep, or when it is unable to detect any motion. Apart from the app, if the camera’s status light is off, it could also indicate that the Nest Cam is either in idle mode or powered off. But what makes the status light off and the Nest Cam idle? 

There are 5 reasons why Nest Cam can show idle status. These are as follows:

  • The camera is set to automatically switch to ‘Home,’ scheduled to turn on and off at specific times or turned off manually.
  • The camera is not receiving power,  or the battery is dead.
  • The camera is not recording, streaming video, or detecting any activity.
  • The camera’s software is not up-to-date.
  • The camera is offline.

Keep reading to learn more about your Nest cam when it shows it is idle.

How to Change Nest Cam to Always Active

The most common reason why the Nest app shows the idle status is because the battery-powered Nest Cam is set to automatically switch to ‘Home’ and ‘Away mode depending on your phone’s location. 

The Home mode is when the camera detects that the first person who left the premise got back and switches off till it detects a motion. You can manually change the ‘Home’ mode functions in the Home/Away assist settings via the app. 

Alternatively, you can change the wake-up sensitivity of the camera to the highest via the Google Home app. Increasing the wake-up sensitivity to the highest increases the range at which the camera senses activity and decreases the time it takes for the camera to wake up once it senses activity. You can also set your battery-powered Nest Cam to stay on all the time.

If you would like to learn more about your Nest cameras, take a look at this article.

Now that you know how to change the Nest Cam idle status to always active, you are definitely wondering how to tell if someone’s watching your live video feed. Here’s how you can detect spying eyes on your Nest Cam.

How Do You Know If Someone Is Watching Your Nest Cam?

The LED indicator of the Nest Cam shows whether it is recording or streaming video. When you or someone is viewing the camera’s live stream, the LED light will keep pulsing green.

So, you can tell if someone is watching your Nest Cam by reading the LED status lights. But what if the LED indicator of the Nest Camera keeps turning off? Let’s first learn why it keeps turning off, and then you can troubleshoot the problem yourself. 

Why Does the Nest Camera Keep Turning Off?

There are three plausible reasons why your Nest Camera may keep turning off. These are as follows:

  1. Setting up the auto-switch function via Nest app: Your Nest Camera may keep turning off unexpectedly if you or someone with shared access has programmed a camera schedule to turn off via the Home/Away Assist from the Nest app.
  2. Scheduling your camera to turn on or off via Home app: Just as Nest app, you or someone with shared access can create a camera schedule called the Home & Away routines via the Google Home app. 
  3. Using a schedule and automatic switching simultaneously: The most common reason why Nest Cam keeps turning off even if no one is back home is if you use the schedule and auto-switch features of Nest Cam at the same time. To avoid this problem, do not use automatic switching and a schedule at the same time. If you are not sure whether the automatic schedule for your Nest Cam is set or not, you must check both settings.

Not setting a schedule or turning off the Home/Away Assist feature can quickly drain the lifespan of your Nest Cam’s battery. This brings us to the most important question: How long does the Nest Camera battery last?

How Long Does the Battery Last Nest Cam?

In general, the Lithium-ion battery of the Nest Cam will last for up to 3 months on one charge. If you change your Nest Camera’s settings to battery saver mode, you can expect the battery to last up to 6 months.

The battery life of your Nest Camera can vary depending on how you use it and how many motion events are recorded in a typical day. That said, Nest Cam has an estimated battery life of 1.5 months to 6 months, based on usage. Here’s a rundown on the Nest Cam’s battery life based on recorded events per day.

Motion eventsAbout 25 – 30 recorded events/ dayAbout 13 – 60 recorded events/ day About 2 – 5 recorded events/ day
Expected battery lifeAbout 1 monthAbout 2.5 monthsAbout 6 months

Like with all batteries, the Nest Cam’s battery will run out of power. You can minimize the chances of this happening by lowering the video quality and setting your Nest Cam to record only when it detects motion. Now the question is: can someone else turn off your Nest Camera manually or without shared access? Here’s what you need to know. 

Can Someone Turn Off My Nest Camera?

Nest Family (people who share access to your Nest app) or Google Home or Google Home members can turn your Nest Cam on or off via the app. You can also program Nest Cam to turn off and on automatically depending on whether you’re home or not via the Home/Away Assist settings from the Nest app. 

Since Nest Cams can be turned on remotely, it’s possible for someone to turn off your camera if they know your password. However, you’ll receive camera alerts about when your Nest Cam goes offline or detects tampering. But what if somebody shuts down your Nest Cam manually by unplugging the unit? 

In the case of the battery-powered Nest Cam, it will continue to work as long as the battery does not run out. In the case of wired Nest Cam, it will shut down and completely power off once you unplug. 


Now you know why your Nest Cam becomes idle and how to prevent it from going idle.

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