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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 (opens in new tab), 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 is a Senior Editor covering Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone manufacturers, and writes about the semiconductor industry, storage servers, and audio products. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

10 Comments
  • Jeez, get a piece of black tape and chill out.
  • Exactly. Clearly a move by the Electrical Tape Lobby....
  • Now when burglars see your camera and notice it isn't blinking, they know they can do whatever they want, thereby rendering the camera useless for it's intended purpose. Does Google not understand how security cams work? So let's say I have a camera watching the front register. All someone has to do is wait until the camera isn't blinking to commit a crime? I mean, is this mental retardation? A Google Cam is always recording, I can still review footage. What is the point to this? Why is it that Google has to screw up every one of their products. Now I have to request a full refund, and I will get it. No, I will not be using electrical tape. Yes, I will be a Ring customer.
  • I would not have one in my house anyway or any other cloud based security camera. outside yes, maybe, but not inside. I would prefer to have on site recording.
  • Next, Google will require the camera to announce that it is recording (or not recording) when it detects a person.
  • That would be useful. Maybe my Arlo base could play a barking dog whenever my outside cameras detect motion.
  • This is already possible with a few IOT devices. My front porch lights brighten when there is motion detected and dim back down after 5 min of no motion.
  • A hole punch makes a nice round circle out of electrical tape. It works great for stuff like this. AS long as Google isn't talking about the blue ring around the entire camera.
  • Is it just me or would this deter a thief from targeting a house? A hidden camera MAY allow the authorities to find the person after the fact. A camera in sight would have the potential to send them to the neighbor's place.
  • Better the neighbors than me. I would love to help out, but not at the expense of being violated. My cameras would be interior cameras. I don't want them to know I'm recording if they are inside or where. Externals should give a light to keep them away. That is why some people use dummy cameras, to deter theft.