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Contrary to popular misunderstanding, your Nest thermostat can operate effectively even without a Wi-Fi connection.

Offline, the device can be operated as a regular thermostat. However, certain features will be disabled, and troubleshooting issues or installing the device can become a bit tedious. 

So what are the exact trade-offs when your Nest thermostat is working without Wi-Fi? Let's find out.

Can the Nest Thermostat Function Without Wi-Fi?

When the Nest thermostat is disconnected from the internet you are going to miss out on certain “smart” features. That being said, the device won't become entirely useless and you'll still retain the core functionality of your Nest thermostat. 

These include: 

  • The ability to control the heating and cooling equipment via the thermostat
  • Create a fixed schedule specific to each day of the week 
  • Hold the temperature to a desired setpoint, temporarily or indefinitely
  • Read the temperature from a separate Nest temperature sensor installed nearby (since it works on Bluetooth)
  • Switch on Eco or Away temperature modes manually via the device
  • Sense motion and configure Home/Away settings without your smartphone
  • Manage certain Nest Sense functions such as Airwave, Early-On, and Cool-To Temperature 
  • Check the basic history of the thermostat's functions. 

Essentially, it can function as a programmable thermostat that's easy to control manually and retains a good amount of energy-saving features. 

What Features Will Be Lost When the Nest Thermostat Works Without Wi-Fi?

Without a constant connection to the internet, via your home's Wi-Fi connection, the Nest thermostat basically functions as a programmable thermostat. 

So in that same regard, most of the smart features that improve convenience and efficiency will be disabled. A few of these include: 

  • Remote monitoring and control via the Google Nest and Google Home apps
  • Geofencing and more reliable Home/Away Assist
  • Auto Scheduling
  • Voice control and integration with Google Home routines and other smart home hubs
  • Full functionality of the Nest Sense features
  • More accurate Eco or Leaf temperatures/settings
  • Access to Nest Seasonal savings 
  • Error codes and instructions on how to fix most issues

Is it Possible to Install the Nest Thermostat Without Wi-Fi?

Google doesn't recommend setting up your Nest thermostat manually since you can miss out on certain important steps or configure settings incorrectly. 

For the Nest thermostat E and Learning models, you will have to use the Nest app with an online connection during the initial setup. If you don’t have a Wi-Fi network you can set up a mobile hotspot and temporarily connect your thermostat.

For the Nest thermostat 2020 model, you can set it up entirely offline via Google Home.

Set Up the Mobile Apps First

Before you begin setting up your Nest thermostat, make sure to download the Nest and Google Home mobile apps and set up your Google account.

Initializing Nest Thermostat Without Wi-Fi

Offline thermostat set up process via Google Home

Nest thermsotat 2020 models 2
  1. Open the Google Home app on your smart device
  2. Select your home and enter the app’s home screen
  3. After that, tap on the “+ Add Device icon” at the upper left (in recent versions, the option is under the “Devices” tab.)
  4. Then tap on “New Device.”
  5. Select your home for this new device (if you have multiple homes)
  6. The Google Home app will try to search for available devices. Wait for it to timeout
  7. Then, from the list of devices that show up, select “Thermostat”
  8. After that, select “Nest thermostat”
  9. The app will enable your device’s camera to scan the QR code
  10. Then pull the thermostat off the display and scan the QR code located at the back of the thermostat.
  11. Follow the instructions in the app to finalize the initial setup. Don’t forget to tap on “Already installed” to bypass the installation steps and instructions.
  12. Also, you might have to configure the thermostat wires manually. Check the thermostat’s base plate and confirm the wires as necessary.
  13. Then, plug the thermostat back into the base plate and follow the instructions on the app to test the device.
  14. After the display on your thermostat switches to the main menu, which shows the temperatures and system mode, you’re good to go.

Setting Up The Nest Thermostat E and Learning Models

Initial set-up via the Nest App

Nest E and Learning 1 1

  1. Open the Nest app
  2. On the app’s home screen tap on the “Settings” icon at the top right
  3. After that, scroll to “Add product.”
  4. Your smart device will then open up the camera view to scan your device’s QR code. 
  5. To open up the QR code on your Nest thermostat, simply head to “Settings” → “Nest App” → “QR Code.”
  6. Scan the code and follow the instructions on the app
  7. If you’ve already installed the Nest thermostat tap on “Already installed” to bypass the installation steps.
  8. After the installation steps, the Nest app will start searching for the Nest thermostat via Bluetooth. Make sure you’re within range of the thermostat.
  9. After that, the app will ask you to set up the Wi-Fi credentials. You can skip this step by pressing on the “X” at the top right
  10. Then, you will have your Nest thermostat ready to be controlled offline. 
  11. You can safely disconnect from the network and see if the thermostat can control the HVAC system manually.

If you run into issues when scanning the QR code, you can also input the entry key in your Nest thermostat. Simply pick the option to “Continue without scanning” when the app prompts you to scan the QR code.

Is Controlling the Nest Thermostat Manually More Efficient?

Sadly, no amount of “helicopter parenting” your Nest thermostat will make it more efficient than when it was running with all of its smart functionalities enabled. 

A primary reason for this is that automated smart features such as auto-scheduling, nest seasonal savings, Airwave, and Home/Away assist are more accurate when the Nest thermostat is connected to the internet. 

However, they can also glitch out or operate inefficiently in certain situations, so if you don't mind controlling the Nest thermostat manually without a Wi-Fi connection, you can also disable all of its automated features.

Reconnect the Nest thermostat to the Internet

If you've previously connected your Nest thermostat to your Wi-Fi router, you can simply restart the connection by: 

  • Resetting the Wi-Fi settings on your Nest thermostat and entering the Wi-Fi information. 
  • Allowing the thermostat access to the internet via your Wi-Fi router settings. 

However, if you're running into network issues or the mobile apps aren’t picking up on your Nest thermostat, I suggest troubleshooting the Wi-Fi network and any connectivity issues.


Your Nest thermostat can definitely work without Wi-Fi. That said, keeping it disconnected indefinitely might not always make the most sense since you'll miss out on most of the intelligent functions and remote control capabilities. 

On top of that, troubleshooting the device, resetting it, or installing it might be extra tedious since you can't rely on the mobile app to figure things out for you.

So weigh the pros and cons before you consider disconnecting the thermostat from the internet.


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