How To Adjust the Sensitivity of a Nest Camera easily and fast!

How To Adjust the Sensitivity of a Nest Camera

Smart cameras like Nest cameras have become an accessible piece of tech that can help you bolster home security.

Unfortunately, Nest cameras are prone to sending out false alarms, and there’s no setting that adjusts motion sensitivity.

However, there are a few alternative solutions that can reduce the number of worthless notifications you get throughout the day.

Here’s how you can adjust the sensitivity of your Nest Camera:

  1. Adjust the position of your Nest camera.
  2. Create an Activity Zone for certain areas.
  3. Change the notification settings in the Nest app.

Since you can’t fine-tune the motion sensitivity of Nest cameras like with some other smart cameras, we’ll have to get creative. This article will go over the methods mentioned above in more detail.

1. Adjust the Position of Your Nest Camera

The easiest way to change the sensitivity of your Nest camera is to reposition it – it’s 100% effective and completely free, which can’t be said for other methods on this list.

If you’re getting a lot of notifications from events that happen on the street in front of your house, adjust the camera angle so that it can’t see the road.

Something as minor as the shadow of a tree moving throughout the day can trigger the Nest motion sensor.

So, ensure that there aren’t any large objects within the field of view of your camera.

Indoors, the biggest enemy of your Nest cameras is light beams.

When sunlight pierces between clouds, it’ll look like motion to your Nest camera.

Nest Support explained on Reddit that pulling the curtains and adjusting the camera angle can help.

It’s best to keep your indoor Nest cameras only in the most important places.

For example, if you’re a cat parent, you probably don’t care about where it walks around the house.

So, adjust the camera until the floor is outside the Nest’s field of view.

Consider placing the cameras only near exterior doors, both indoors and outdoors.

This way, you’ll know who’s approaching, entering, and leaving your home, and you won’t get any false alarms.

2. Create an Activity Zone for Certain Areas

In a nutshell, an Activity Zone is a specific part of your camera’s field of view. 

Setting up a few activity zones on your Nest cameras makes sense.

It allows you to adjust the types of notifications you get or disable notifications from the area altogether.

Activity Zones are free on wired and battery Nest Cams and the battery-powered Nest Doorbell.

Other cameras require a Nest Aware subscription.

As a side note, the Nest Aware subscription comes with intelligent motion detection, so it may be worth investing in it.

Activity Zones allow you to do the following:

  • Create up to 4 completely custom Activity Zones per camera. You can adjust things like shape and size for each Activity Zone.
  • Enable notifications for People or All other motions.
  • Receive zone-based notifications. You won’t have to guess whether the camera detected motion on a nearby street or your porch.
  • Stop receiving notifications from certain Activity Zones. This is great if your camera looks out at a nearby street or neighbor’s driveway.
  • Rewatch events that happened in specific Activity Zones.

Here are the steps on how to create an Activity Zone in the Nest app:

  1. Open the Nest app.
  2. Select your camera
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Tap on Activity Zones > Create Zone.
  5. Select the color of the activity zone and adjust its shape, size, and position.
  6. Tap on the Pencil icon to name the Activity Zone.
  7. Once you’re done with everything, tap on the Check symbol in the corner.

You can do the same in the Home app. The only exception is how you access the setting. 

Create a new zone by going to Settings > Events > Seen Events > Add a Zone.

Once you have all Activity Zones set up, you can change what notifications you’re getting. Select a zone in the Activity Zones / Seen Events menu.

You can select People, All Other Motion, or both.

I strongly recommend that you only enable notifications for People.

That said, if you don’t want to be notified, you shouldn’t select either.

3. Change the Notification Settings in the Nest App

I understand that this isn’t exactly the solution you were hoping for. 

Changing what notifications you get isn’t the same as changing the sensitivity of your camera.

However, it does stop worthless notifications from getting to you, so it’s effectively a permanent fix for your issues.

Google allows you to adjust some notifications for free, but some features require a Nest Aware subscription.

The options you get vary between camera/doorbell models too.

I’ll only explain the most basic options here. 

Other settings like Smart Alerts for package alerts on the Nest doorbell are self-explanatory.

You can find the Notifications settings by following the steps below:

  1. Open the Home app.
  2. Select the camera you want to modify.
  3. Go to Settings.
  4. Tap Notifications.

For the Nest app, it’s basically the same. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the Nest app.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Select Notifications.
  4. Select the camera you want to modify.

There, you’ll be welcomed by a few different settings.

Notification Type lets you determine if you want to get push or e-mail notifications.

When to Send is probably the most useful setting. You can choose between No One’s Home and Always.

Select No One’s Home so that you’ll only get notifications from your camera when necessary.

Lastly, under the Activity section, you can select People, All Other Motion, or both. 

It’s the same as with Activity Zones. Only enable People. You don’t need to get notified each time a car passes by, or a cat runs across your front yard.

Lastly, you can adjust the notifications you get for different sounds. I recommend that you only enable Person Talking or keep all of them off.

Final Thoughts

Since Nest cameras don’t have any traditional motion sensitivity settings, you must turn to alternative solutions, and adjusting the position is one of them.

Creating Activity Zones helps, but then the camera might miss important events.

This happens even if you adjust the zones to perfection.

Lastly, changing the notification settings is a sure-fire way to stop the camera from notifying you about everything. Only enable notifications for People to block alerts from other events.

Nelson Barbosa

I'm an engineer in love with smart home tech. On my website, I share useful tips and tricks to help my readers get the most of their devices and make their lives simpler by adding just a drop of technology in everyday routines!

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