Do I Need to Pay a Monthly Subscription Fee for a Nest Doorbell?

This is a question a lot of people ask. After spending upwards of $200 on a Nest Hello video doorbell it’s certainly understandable to feel a little reluctance to pay an $80 a year Nest Aware subscription fee on top of that.

There are definitely benefits to having a subscription however it is not essential to the basic function of your Nest doorbell. However, it is good to do research and find out exactly what those benefits are and if you need them or not for your particular situation.

What will you miss out on if you don’t get Nest Aware? Does the Nest video doorbell require a subscription? In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of having or not having a Nest Aware subscription.

Nest Hello Without a Subscription

While you can still view the live feed from the Nest Hello video doorbell and Nest Cameras, without an Aware subscription no images will be recorded, and still images will be deleted after only three hours. You need to be in almost constant contact with your Nest device for it to be truly worthwhile if you don’t have Nest Aware. Nest Hello is a joint effort between Google and NEST which means that the product can’t record and protect videos without you paying for the subscription.

This might sound very off-putting but remember that Nest Hello is one of the top home security products and there are a few things that you can still enjoy without having to buy the subscription.

Without a subscription, you still have access to live footage and you will receive notifications when someone is at your door.

What benefits are there to NOT having an Aware subscription?

The first and most obvious is that you don’t have to fork out more money every month!

You still have access to live footage 24/7 and to sensor and motion alerts. The camera will still take snapshots of any motion that it deems relevant. You get three hours of event history.

What will you miss out on?

You don’t get access to save any footage of past happenings. The alerts that you do receive are often false alarms. The camera can’t take still images. Video history is erased after 3 hours.

If you only need the Nest Hello video doorbell to stream live video footage then you will be more than happy not to have the extra cost of a subscription fee. If you are looking for more than that, then you will need to get the Aware subscription to make the most of the device.

What does an Aware subscription get me?

The Nest Aware subscription is a bit more expensive than some of the competitor’s prices but it does offer some great features.

You can pay the subscription of $8 per month and this will give you thirty days of historical footage. If you upgrade to the Aware Plus subscription you will pay $16 a month and get sixty days of historical video footage.

Nest Aware will give you access to all the features you expect in a smart doorbell. Aware covers all the Nest devices that you have in your house including the Nest Cam (indoor and outdoor) and the Nest Thermostat.

Best Features of the Aware

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week footage for ten days is stored in the cloud. This is available with the Plus plan and with the Nest Cam when wired and not the Nest Doorbell, wired, or battery.

Thirty or sixty days of past event footage which you can view.

You can set activity zones that allow the camera to focus on a specific area and will alert you when any sort of motion occurs.

Using Google AI, Aware will alert you to the face of any person at the door.

You can set up custom alerts that will send you a notification if a package has been delivered to your door. You can also set the device to send you an alert if certain sounds are detected. Google AI differentiates between sounds which enables you to customize alerts for specific sounds, even cars.

Pricing Summary

Subscription Fee - Google Nest DoorbellAt the time of publishing this article, two levels of subscriptions can be bought at the prices mentioned below.

You can pay the fees monthly or per year. For the basic Aware subscription, you will pay $8 per month ($80 per year) and that covers all Nest doorbells, cameras, displays, and speakers in a single home. The Aware Plus will cost you $16 a month ($160 per year).

It’s simple to change to an option covering all your Nest devices in one payment if you want to change from paying for each camera separately.


Is there a free trial period on Nest Aware?

If you register a new household or are upgrading from a 1st generation Aware subscription you have the option of a thirty-day trial with Nest Aware.

Is there a difference between 24/7 video history and event history?

Your Nest video doorbell or camera captures still images and video clips when they detect relevant events. Event history allows you to review the video clips of these events.

24/7 history uses continuous recording to capture each moment which then means you can scan through the history to see what happened before, during, and after a relevant event.

What do I need to get Aware?

Aware works with all Google Nest products however, different features are available with different devices and in different locations so make sure exactly what is offered with your specific Nest device.

You will need a Google Account – even if you already have a Nest Account.

You need an internet connection and access to the Nest app and Google Home app.

Can I change my subscription?

You can switch from Aware to Aware Plus whenever you wish. You cannot purchase a new Nest Aware – 1st generation subscription once you have migrated your Nest account to Google.

If you wish to change your billing from monthly to annual you will have to stop the auto-renewal on your current Aware subscription and wait for the billing cycle to finish. Once the cycle is over you can then resubscribe with the different billing option.

Can I cancel my Aware subscription?

Yes, you can. If you bought the subscription through the Google Home app you can use Google Store or Google Play to cancel your subscription. Your Aware service will continue to run until the billing cycle ends. Ensure that you save video or sound clips that might be important prior to canceling your subscription.

How do renewals work?

You select a cycle of billing when you purchase an Aware subscription and renewals are based on the cycle you chose. Renewals are billed automatically to your saved payment method.

Is my privacy protected with Google and Nest?

If you use a Google account with your Nest products, Google will handle the data as per their Privacy Policy.

You always have control of your Nest devices and their settings. You can delete video history at any time in the Settings of the Nest app as well as sound detection history using the Home app.

Can I use the Nest Hello doorbell without Aware?

Yes, you can. Aware will integrate extra features for Hello but is not necessary to its basic function. You are still able to monitor live video footage without a subscription.

What devices will benefit from an Aware subscription?

Here is a list of devices that will benefit from a subscription:

• Nest Hello (1st generation smart doorbell – wired only)

• Nest Doorbell (2nd generation smart doorbell – battery or wired)

• Nest Cam Indoor

• Nest Cam Indoor IQ – This has extra recognition features as well as a speaker

• Nest Cam Outdoor

• Nest Cam Outdoor IQ – With extra features as per their Smart indoor cam

• Nest Hub Max (smart speaker with integrated Nest Cam)

Aware plans are great in that a single subscription will cover all your Nest devices.

What regions/countries can access Aware?

Nest Aware - RegionsThe following regions have access to Aware:

• Australia

• Austria

• Belgium

• Canada

• Denmark

• Finland

• France

• Germany

• Ireland

• Italy

• Japan

• The Netherlands

• New Zealand

• Norway

• Spain

• Sweden

• Switzerland

• The United Kingdom

• The United States (excluding Puerto Rico)


With Nest Hello you will have a safer home with or without the Aware subscription. If you don’t need any of the extra features made available by having Aware or Aware Plus, then the Nest Hello smart doorbell will still keep your home safe and smart.

Depending on your security needs as well as your available budget will determine whether a subscription is something that will benefit you or not. If you want greater control over your safety you will definitely find having an Aware subscription beneficial.

Be aware that emergency calls and sound recognition on Google Nest display and speaker are available only in the United States. Familiar face detection will not work with Nest cameras or Nest doorbells in the state of Illinois.

You will need to make sure exactly what features are available with Nest Aware on your particular device and in your location.

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