You can't disable the status light on your Nest cameras anymore

What you need to know

  • Google is getting rid of the option to disable the status light on all Nest and Dropcam cameras.
  • The status light will always be on when a Nest or Dropcam camera is recording.
  • You'll be able to dim the light from settings, but there will always be a visual indicator when the camera is on.

Google made key changes to Nest accounts following security issues earlier in the year. As part of a broader privacy push the search giant outlined after I/O 2019, Google is now getting rid of the option to disable the status light on Nest and Dropcam cameras.

Whenever a Nest camera, Dropcam, or Nest Hello camera is on and recording, you'll see a visual indicatior. When a live video is being streamed from the camera to the Nest app, the status light will blink. From Google:

Recently, we shared our commitment to privacy to outline how our products work in your home. As part of that commitment, we explained that you will always see a clear visual indicator when your Nest cameras are on and sending video and audio to Nest.So we're changing how the status lights function on Nest cameras, Dropcam, and Nest Hello. You will be able to dim the light on your camera, but it will always be on when the camera is on. We're doing this to make sure you, and those around your camera, are aware when the camera is on and recording.Starting today, we're rolling out the following changes: - In Settings for all Nest cameras and Nest Hello, the ability to turn off the status light will be removed. Instead, you'll be able to dim the status light. When the camera is on, the status light will glow green. - For Dropcam, the setting to turn off the status light will be removed. When the camera is on, the status light will glow blue. - On Nest Cam, Dropcam, and Nest Hello, the status light will blink when the camera's live video is streamed from the Nest app. The setting to turn this off will be removed.We're making these changes for greater transparency and privacy in your home.

The move is great from a privacy point of view as it prevents nefarious use of the security cameras, but the Nest community is predictably outraged at Google for taking away a key feature and making the cameras more prominent:

This is an absurd update and an invasion of my rights as a consumer. Google is directly attempting to change the way the product I have bought - and how it was advertised at the time - functions. The camera's ability to turn off its status light was a feature which Google is now retroactively removing.Privacy laws do not exist on private property such as my home, where I get to dictate which light remains on. We have spent thousands on 8+ cameras, Nest Guard and Nest Sense products, and spend $40/month on Nest Aware. For me - as a consumer - to have my rights violated without an option to keep the status lights off is a major move backwards.

Nest users, what are your thoughts on the latest update? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.