Nest Cam by Google are some of the best security cameras on the market, and Homekit is one of the best platforms or environments to start building a smart home.
But is it a good idea to combine Nest Cam and Homekit?
If you’re already in possession of a Nest Cam and you have a good reason to start a smart home based on Homekit, the question might not be that relevant. You just want to know if it’s feasible (it is). But if you haven’t yet bought your Nest Cam, before asking if it can be done, you should seriously consider if it makes any sense at all to go down that road.
In this article we will briefly see how a Nest Cam can be added to Homekit, but to prevent you from wasting a lot of money, we will see why it’s not a good idea to do that.
Before diving into the real question though, we must make sure you know how Nest Cams and Homekit work. If you already have a good idea on how the two products work, just skip to the end to know why it’s not something to go for if you haven’t already bought a Nest Cam.
So, this article is less of a tutorial and more a must read in order to save some money and pain before you get yourself into one of those technological nightmares.
Table of contents
How does a Nest Cam work?
What’s to understand here, is that all Nest Cams are subscription based cameras, as opposed to cameras that do not require any subscription to roll out their main features (like the Netatmo Welcome, which I reviewed here).
The Nest Cam IQ Indoor (and Outdoor too) offer for example artificial intelligence options for face recognition. Facial recognition can be considered as the most interesting and appealing feature to get one. But the Nest Cam face recognition is not a built-in option, you only get it if you pay for the Nest Aware subscription.
This is not bad per se, but it’s important you consider it, because when you pay the price Google asks for this camera (which is not very cheap), you don’t pay for the feature itself, but for the possibility to have this feature if you decide to subscribe to Nest Aware.
So, keep reading to know why this is not an ideal situation to combine a Nest Cam with Homekit.
Read also: Nest Cam IQ Indoor VS Netatmo Welcome
How does Homekit work?
Homekit, or Homekit Secure Video, works in a similar way to Nest Aware, but it’s designed to be much more flexible in terms of features.
The main difference with Nest Aware, lies in the subscription part. In fact with Homekit you don’t pay a subscription. Once you buy a Homekit Hub, you’re automatically “subscribed” to Homekit Secure Video, and you can then configure any compatible security camera in this platform.
Adding a camera to Homekit Secure Video means in most cases that you’re going to enhance the security camera with interesting features that are developed by Apple: like face recognition and activity zones.
So, this means that if you get a medium range camera like the Eve Cam, or the Logitech Circle View, that don’t have inbuilt face recognition or activity zones, you’re actually improving their performances.
But if you buy an expensive camera, with lots of interesting features, and you then add it to Homekit, you’re only going to use what Homekit has to offer, and you’ll lose most of the benefits that made you buy that particular security camera.
Adding a Nest Cam to Homekit: how is it done?
Before answering to our main question, which is whether it makes sense to add a Nest Cam to Homekit, let’s see what the current solutions are to accomplish this.
But you should know that the solution to this problem should be put among the reasons why it’s not ideal to combine Nest Cams and Homekit.
So, to use Nest Cams in Homekit you’re going to need a so-called “bridge”: a software that is designed to make non-homekit compatible devices work in Homekit.
Hoobs, for example, offers an integration that lets you add a Roomba (one of the best robot vacuum cleaners on the market) in Homekit, which is great, because at the moment there are no robot vacuum cleaners that natively support Homekit.
With security cameras in Homekit, on the other hand, you have plenty of options.
Another option to add Nest Devices to Homekit, is the Starling Home Hub. This integration is specifically designed to accomplish this task, and it works pretty well. But as Bradley Chambers pointed out in his review on 9to5Mac, it is “an excellent option for those who already have Nest products, but want the benefits of HomeKit”.
This solution doesn’t come for free. So, it’s important you think about it before you go this way.
I think we’re ready to answer the final question.
Why is it kind of a waste of money?
Should you add a Nest Cam to your Homekit smart home?
No, unless you’re moving to Homekit and already have a Nest device that you don’t want to just throw out of the window.
If you’ve read the previous paragraphs, you probably get it by now. Buying a Nest Cam to put it in Homekit, is a waste of money because you’re going to pay for a complete set of features (or possible features) that you won’t then be able to use in Homekit.
In fact, Homekit, with its face recognition abilities, activity zones, 1080p resolution, a rock-solid-almost-free cloud storage option, offers everything you should want from a home security camera.
So, it makes much more sense to buy a basic camera for $180 (like the Eve Cam that I reviewed here, or the Logitech Cirlce View, which I talked about here) and enhance it on Homekit, than buying an expensive camera such as the Nest Cam IQ, only to see some of its benefits to disappear as you configure it in Homekit.
It goes the same for Eufycam 2 and 2 Pro, for example. Homekit only supports 1080p resolution, and the 2 Pro costs $50 more because it has 4K resolution. Would you add those $50 to your budget if you already knew that you’re going to use your Eufycam Pro in Homekit?
So, if you add a Nest Cam in Homekit, you won’t be able to take advantage of many of the reasons why you bought the Nest Cam in the first place.
Adding a Nest Cam to Homekit is feasible, but it’s not something you should go for if you don’t already own a Nest Cam.
The reason is simple: you won’t be able to keep most of what you pay for when you buy a Nest Cam.
Alessandro Eric Russo is a technology content writer with a passion for home automation devices that bring Artificial Intelligence into our lives in a meaningful way.