Before the new Nest Cams launched in August 2021, most people used the Nest app to view event video clips for their cameras. The Nest app was (and still is) much loved, with a great user interface that made it simple to control your Nest devices. Sure, the Nest app couldn't be used to create automations or do anything more complex than simple view-and-control, but Starling Home Hub bridged that gap conveniently, bringing every Nest product into Apple HomeKit. Everyone was happy.
Then last Fall, Google announced the launch of three new Nest Cameras - the first new models in 3 years. Everyone got excited, the cameras got generally good reviews, and we even blogged our own thoughts on the new cameras. But there was a sting in the tail - the new cameras no longer work with the Nest app, only the Google Home app. And unfortunately, almost everyone agreed that this was a major user experience downgrade, especially for cameras. What before required just some easy scrolling through the Nest app timeline to access past events, now involved navigating through cluttered menus in the Google Home app, often only to be met by an error.
There was a huge amount of frustration, and many people returned their cameras to the store! The sad truth, though, was that the cameras themselves were and are great products - but they're let down by the Google Home app. Time for Starling Home Hub to come to the rescue ...
In February of 2022, we launched our most-anticipated feature ever for Home Hub: iCloud recording (via HomeKit Secure Video) for most 2021/22 model Nest Cams:
2021 model Nest Cam (wired)
2021 model Nest Cam (battery) when plugged in to power
2021 model Nest Cam with Floodlight
2022 model Nest Doorbell (wired, 2nd gen)
(Sorry, we don't support iCloud recording for older-model cameras or doorbells for technical reasons.)
With HomeKit Secure Video, your supported camera's video event timeline now appears in the Apple Home app. You'll now get event video clips covering all the activity your camera has seen over the past 10 days - all without leaving Apple Home - and you can download these clips to your Photo Library, or share them with other people and iOS apps like Instagram and Slack. You'll also get rich notifications telling you about animals, vehicles, people and packages your camera has seen - and even alerts when HomeKit recognizes the faces of people it knows about. You also get HomeKit Activity Zones so you can select specific focus areas for your camera view, so your camera will record when someone walks up to your house, but not when a car drives past.
HomeKit Secure Video gives you an amazing usability upgrade for your 2021/22 model Nest Cams. Expecting a package delivery but can't find it, and worry it was stolen when you were out? Hear a strange noise in the night and want to check it out? See someone walking outside your home and worry they're up to no good? No problem. Just check video history in the Apple Home app to review footage.
HomeKit Secure Video requires Nest Aware and an iCloud plan, but many households with Nest and Apple products will already have both of these in place, so using this feature won't cost you any more money. Plus, stored camera video clips don't count towards your iCloud storage limits.
Already have a Starling Home Hub? You'll get HomeKit Secure Video for free as part of our 11.0 firmware update. Don't have Home Hub yet? Now might be a great time to take another look at how Starling can make your smart home more comfortable, secure, fun - basically, smarter.