If you have a Nest Learning Thermostat, you may have noticed a software update this morning. That's Nest 4.0. It's a total redesign of the Android and iOS mobile apps (the Web app got a makeover, too). And here's what it means for you.
The first thing you'll notice is that you no longer will you have to switch your phone from portrait to landscape mode to view your settings or turn your thermostat to Away.
You will be able to see the outside temperature in the top-left corner, complete with images depicting the current weather conditions (it's sunny in Kentucky right now). You can switch between Home and Away right there -- no fancy phone maneuvering required. And, you can see what your thermostat is doing in real time by color. If the thermostat is black, it's "resting." But if it's orange, it's heating your home, and if it's blue, it's cooling your home. That's simple, intuitive design for you.
And, if you want more details, just tap on the thermostat.
You get a giant, remote view of your thermostat. From there, you can tap on the settings icon at the top right and you'll see something like this:
This is really where the magic happens. Here, you can switch between heating and cooling, adjust fan time, view your energy history, and update your schedule -- all in one place.
Along with the clear design enhancements, 4.0 also offers a new feature called Quiet Time. If you have a whole home humidifier and dehumidifier that's compatible with Nest, you can set specific times you want to override them, regardless of the humidity. (Not sure if your humidifier and dehumidifier is compatible with Nest? Find out here.) This makes sense when you know you will want absolute quiet -- maybe you work from home and have a conference call or you want your child's nap time to be as uninterrupted as possible.
There are a couple other changes, too. If you have a heat pump and auxiliary heat, you can select how much auxiliary heat you want to use. This lets you further customize the degree of comfort vs. savings you want. And if you have a duel-fuel system, Nest 4.0 will focus on better protection and more-consistent heating when switching between fuel types.
In addition, this upgrade makes room for the preorderable $129 Nest Protect. So, if you have both the thermostat and the smoke detector, you would be able to see them side-by-side on the home screen, like so:
If the system looks good, Nest Protect will display a green ring. And if something's amiss, it will change to yellow or red. From there, you can tap the Nest Protect for an expanded view (similar to the thermostat):
Each smoke alarm is listed by location, like "bedroom" or "living room." It will also let you know when it last checked on the status of the system and when you last initiated a manual test, or fire drill. And the thermostat and smoke detector will be able to communicate in the event of a carbon monoxide alarm. That way, your thermostat knows to power down if it relies on potentially dangerous oil or gas.
That's it on 4.0 for now, but stay tuned for a full review of Nest Protect, when we'll also explore the app redesign in-depth and report on how well the thermostat and smoke detector work together.