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The exceptional features of smart thermostats set them apart from their competitors. Their distinct characteristic is their capability to modify settings aligned with the requirements of those living in the home.

With a Nest thermostat, you can create a customized schedule for the week and also have the device learn how to optimize it for maximum efficiency.

So in this guide, I’ll show you how to set up a Nest thermostat schedule and get the best use out of it. 

What Are Schedules In Nest Thermostats?

Schedules in Nest thermostats refer to a customizable routine where you can program the thermostat to maintain a specific temperature and system mode for a predetermined amount of time. 

This automates the thermostat so you don’t have to make constant adjustments manually.

On top of that, smart features such as Home/Away Assist and Eco Temperatures help you take automation to the next level, helping you cut back on energy bills without having to constantly monitor the device.

Programming the Schedule on a Nest Thermostat

Applies to the latest 2020 model

Google Home and Nest Thermostat 2 3

Despite certain limitations, the latest Nest thermostat is still a great option and allows users to create their own schedules, without the thermostat getting in the way. 

Although the latest model doesn’t come with the famous “Auto-Scheduling” feature, and lacks the ability to customize the schedule via the thermostat itself, you still retain the same level of customization. 

Open Up The Schedule

  1. To view your schedule and make any changes, first, open the Google Home app on your smart device and select your thermostat
  2. From the thermostat’s control panel, tap on “Schedules.” 
  3. If you can’t find this option right away, head over to “Settings” at the top right and scroll down to “Schedules.”
  4. A new menu will open up, showing a date-time graph with the ability to add scheduled events. 
  5. Here you can check your current schedule according to the days of the week and make changes as necessary. 

Temperature Presets

Unlike the previous models, you don’t have the option to set up custom temperatures for every event in the schedule. 

Instead, you have the option to pick a preset, either the default or a custom heating and cooling temperature.

With a Nest thermostat, the default presets (Comfort, Eco, and Sleep) are pretty spot on, but you can create several more according to your heating and cooling requirements. 

To Create a Custom Preset:

  1. Return to the “settings” menu of your thermostat (in the Google Home app)
  2. Tap on “Temperature Preferences” → “Temperature Presets”
  3. Use the “+ Add” or “Create Custom” button to create your own preset
  4. Rename your preset and type in a description, if necessary
  5. Then, use the + or – buttons assigned to each mode to adjust the temperatures
  6. Tap on “Save” to confirm your changes.

You can also edit the default or custom presets in the same manner. However, please note that editing a preset will update the temperatures for every scheduled event that follows this preset.

Add or Edit Events On the Schedule

To add a new event or temperature to the schedule:

  1. Return to the “Schedule” menu in the app’s thermostat settings 
  2. Tap on “+ Add”
  3. Select your preset and set the time
  4. If necessary select the days of the week you want to copy this event to
  5. To confirm your event, tap on “+ Add.”
  6. The event will now show up on the schedule. 
  7. To add more events, tap on the “+Add” button again and follow steps 3-5.
  8. To edit an event, tap into it and adjust accordingly. However, to avoid conflict with other events, you won’t have full freedom to adjust the time.
  9. To delete an event, tap into it, scroll down, and select “Delete”
  10. You can also copy a daily schedule to a different day by tapping on “Copy [weekday] schedule” at the bottom of the schedule view menu. 

Programming the Schedule Via the Nest App

Applies to the Nest thermostat E and Learning Models

Nest app and E and learning 1 2

For the previous models of Nest thermostats, you have the option to customize the schedule via the thermostat itself or the Nes app. 

First, let’s talk about how you can program the schedule via the Nest App:

Open Up The Schedule Menu

  1. First, open the Nest app and select your thermostat
  2. On the device’s home screen/control menu, tap on “Schedule” (represented by a calendar icon)
  3. The schedule view menu will open up, showing the days of the week along with any temperature points previously set up. 

Add or Edit Temperatures

  1. To add a scheduled event/temperature, tap on the day you want to customize.
  2. Then, tap on “Add”
  3. The schedule view menu will change into a grid. Tap anywhere on the grid to add a scheduled event.
  4. To fine-tune the temperature and time, you can scroll the temperature point vertically or horizontally
  5. To save your point, simply scroll to the desired time and temperature setting and let go. The point will indicate the temperature and the time it’s assigned to. 
  6. Similarly, you can tap on an existing point to adjust its temperature and time
  7. To remove a setpoint, tap on “Remove” and then select the point you want to take out.
  8. You can also copy setpoints between different days. Simply press and hold a row (representing each day of the week) and a menu to copy, paste, or clear the setpoints will open up. 

Programming the Schedule On the Nest E and Learning Thermostats

Customize the schedule directly at the thermostat display

Nest E and Learning 3 1

If you have a Nest Thermostat E and Learning thermostat, you can make quick schedule changes at the thermostat itself. Here’s how:

  1. First, change the mode to heat or cool, depending on the schedule settings you want to access. So if you set the system to “heat” the thermostat will only display the schedule for the heating setpoints.
  2. After assigning the system mode, head over to “Settings” → “Schedule”
  3. The schedule view menu on your thermostat will open up. Here, you can browse the schedule and check the scheduled events/temperatures.
  4. To add a new temperature point, scroll to the day and time you want to set the point to.
  5. After that, tap into the thermostat and select the “New” option
  6. A new setpoint will open up. Turn the dial to fine-tune the time (in 15-minute increments).
  7. To confirm your time, tap into the thermostat
  8. After that, scroll to select your temperature
  9. To save this temperature point, press into the thermostat again and scroll away.
  10. Your temperature setpoint will now be saved on the schedule. 
  11. To edit or remove a setpoint, scroll to it and tap into the thermostat. 
  12. Menu options will show up to “Change” or “Remove” the setpoint. 
  13. To exit the schedule-view menu scroll to the left or an empty spot on the schedule, tap into the ring, and select “Done”

Optional Features For Enhancing The Schedule

Nest also offers a default schedule and extra features that help improve your custom schedule, making it more energy-efficient without compromising on overall comfort. These are:

  • Quick Schedule: Helps you set up a default schedule based on the average temperature settings in the U.S. (Only available for the Nest 2020 thermostat during initial setup)
  • Savings Finder: Offers suggestions on how to improve your current schedule so it’s more energy-efficient. (Only for the Nest 2020 thermostat)
  • Auto-Schedule: Learns your temperature habits for several days and then creates a schedule for you. (Nest E and Learning Models)
  • Basic Schedule: Sets up a barebones schedule to help you get started. (Nest E Only)
  • Home/Away Assist: Detects your presence using motion sensors and geofencing to adjust temperatures to a power-saving mode (Eco temps) when you’re not at home.
  • Eco Temperatures: Analyzes your location and weather data to provide a range of heating and cooling temperature ranges that are more energy-efficient.

These features are definitely ingenious and can help you get a better understanding of how a thermostat schedule is structured.

However, they aren’t always the most reliable and tend to change temperatures automatically, often leading to undesirable results.

To learn more about enabling/disabling these features, check out this article.

Resetting the Schedule

Along with factory, and Wi-Fi resets on a Nest thermostat, you also have the option to reset the schedule. 

This helps clear out your entire schedule, so you don’t have to delete each temperature setpoint when you need to start fresh. 

Tips and Tricks to Create the Perfect Thermostat Schedule

Although a schedule can be very specific based on your daily routine and surrounding environment, taking note of these tips can help you create a more efficient schedule in your Nest thermostat:

  • Create a “Sleep” preset or comfortable (yet energy-efficient) sleep temperature, around 60-65 degrees, around the time you go to bed every day.
  • Set up power-saving/Eco temperatures whenever you're away or on vacation.
  • For example, set an eco temperature (Usually, it's 40-70 degrees during the winter and 76-90 degrees during the summer) when you're at work and nobody's home.
  • Use the “Eco temperature” presets, represented by a green leaf, to identify power-saving temperatures when you schedule your “Away” time.
  • Use Home/Away assist with geofencing enabled on your smartphone to improve energy savings
  • Learn your ideal summer or winter temperatures and adjust the schedule based on this value when you're at home.
  • Don't forget to set up Nest Airwave, Sunblock, and other Nest Sense features that improve temperature accuracy and system efficiency.
  • Keep the thermostat connected to the internet and mobile apps so it can detect the outside temperatures and adapt its energy-saving settings according to the seasons and weather data.


Programming a schedule on a Nest thermostat is highly recommended since you can automate most of the day-to-day temperature changes.

Depending on the model, you can customize the schedule using the apps or the thermostat itself. 

So don’t forget to set up a custom schedule and check out the guide above for a detailed walkthrough. 


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