google nest cam iq security

Google’s Nest lineup delivers cameras, thermostats, and security hardware that’s easy to use, but prices can definitely add up. Recently, Google started rolling out a brand new Nest Aware plan to its customers which cut costs. Should you upgrade? Which plan should you buy? Let’s discuss.

What can you do without Aware?

First things first, what does Nest hardware do without Nest Aware? Nest cameras can only show live video and send basic alerts. No video is recorded, only still images of events in the past few hours. For some cases, that’s fine, but if you want to rely on these cameras for security in any way, you’ll need Nest Aware.

For other devices, though, Nest Aware is slightly less expensive. Nest Secure, for example, will still provide alerts when sensors are tripped or motion is detected. Nest Protect, too, will still detect smoke and carbon monoxide and deliver alerts on your phone.

Still, Nest Aware plans add a lot of functionality, so let’s break that down.

What does Nest Aware add for cameras?

When it comes to Nest cameras, Nest Aware adds important functionality. Regardless of what plan you opt for, Aware adds some form of video recording and recording history. There are two types of recordings. There’s “event-based” which only saves video when motion or sounds are detected, deleting all of the “static” time in between.

Nest Aware also allows cameras to specifically monitor “activity zones.” These only look at a user-defined portion of the video frame to send movement alerts. With Aware, users can also create video clips that can be accessed, downloaded, and shared from the Nest website.

What alerts does Nest Aware add?

Nest Aware also adds functionality for other types of hardware in the form of “Intelligent Alerts.” These alerts vary from device to device, but here’s the basic breakdown. For cameras, you’ll be able to get alerts for a person moving/talking, dog barking, and use activity zones. Nest Cam IQ, Nest Hello, and Nest Hub Max can also spot familiar faces. The Nest Hello Doorbell, too, can detect packages on your doorstep as long as you’ve got a Nest subscription.

Finally, with a Nest Aware plan, you can also add a bit more smart functionality to your speakers. With a Google Home speaker, Nest Hub, or Nest Hub Max, Google will use those microphones to detect smoke alarms or glass breaking in your home and send those alerts to your device.

When some of these alerts are triggered, too, Google allows a quick shortcut to call emergency services. This only works in the United States, though.

google nest hub max cam

How much does Nest Aware cost?

Nest Aware plans vary depending on what you need, but for new customers, there are only two options.

The “second-generation” Nest Aware has a base plan and a “Plus” plan. The base Nest Aware subscription costs $6 per month is $60 per year if you pay upfront. Nest Aware Plus, on the other hand, costs $12 per month or $120 per year.

Both of these plans deliver notifications to your smartphone, add Activity Zones, and let you grab clips captured by the camera. What’s the difference between the two? Simply how much they store. The base plan only captures “event-based” video history. When the camera detects movement or anything beyond just a still room, it saves the several minutes that is going on and stores that for up to 30 days. Meanwhile, Nest Aware Plus doubles that length of time and also adds 24/7 video recording for 10 days. If your goal is security, I’d recommend Nest Aware Plus.

Can I get a free trial of Nest Aware?

If you want to give Nest Aware a shot and see if it’s worthwhile, there’s a free trial available! If you’re a new Nest owner, Google will give you a 30-day trial for Nest Aware. This trial is only eligible once per home, though. This trial also takes effect if you’re on an older Nest Aware plan. When you switch from the old plan to the new one, you’ll automatically get a 30-day trial.

When you sign up for the free trial, it will run for the full month. If you decide it’s not for you, you can visit your subscriptions page on the Google Store to see when the trial ends. You won’t be charged automatically after the trial ends, but rather you’ll need to go back and subscribe after it ends.

New Nest Aware plans: Should you upgrade?

Here’s one of the biggest questions surrounding these new Nest Aware plans; Should you upgrade from the older ones? In terms of dollars and cents, upgrading is going to be a no-brainer for many users. Original Aware plans cost considerably more for each camera you owned. Want 30-day, 24/7 history for three cameras? That’s $60/month! Meanwhile, Nest Aware Plus costs $12/month and offers 10-day 24/7 history and 60-day event history for as many cameras as you want. The new plans also allow Nest hardware to interact with the Google Home app instead of only the Nest app.

There are a couple of caveats to the new plans, though. For one, there’s no way to get 24/7 history for more than 10 days. If you rely on a longer history than that, you’ll be much better off with Google’s previous pricing structure which could go up to 30 days.

Another point of consideration is integrations. Before Google fully took over Nest, the cameras and security systems offered third-party integrations with systems such as IFTTT and more. Google, however, has severed those connections for new users and those who upgrade. If you want to keep your integrations going a bit longer, don’t upgrade.

More on Nest:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

Find him on Twitter @NexusBen. Send tips to or encrypted to