Our overall accessibility score: 3.7/5
What can it control? Nest’s thermostat and learning thermostat, hot water, indoor and outdoor cameras, video doorbell and smoke alarms.
How can it be controlled? Via an Android or Apple device or web browser.
What are the download requirements? The app is free to download from the Apple store on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (iOS version 12.0 or later) and Apple TV (tvOS 10.2 or later) and the Google Play store on Android phones and tablets (version 5.0 or later).
- Multi-zone control (*only with Nest's learning thermostat): Yes
- Boost function: No
- Program modes: Yes
- Temperature reports: Yes
- Geolocation: Yes
- Optimisation: Yes
- Weather forecasts: Yes
- Weather responsive: Yes
- Open-window detection: No
1. Easy download and set-up
- The download and set-up of the app is relatively straightforward. It provides clear instructions throughout the whole process and will ask you a few simple questions about your home.
- You can add and pair your products with the app by scanning the product or entering a 7-digit entry key retrieved from the settings of the product.
2. Assistive technology compatible
- The app works reasonably well with Apple’s VoiceOver and Android’s TalkBack’s screenreaders. However, features such as ‘schedule’ and energy ‘history’ are displayed in graph form making them less screenreader friendly.
3. Ability to customise
- There are are no options to change the layout of on-screen features, colour contrast and alter the text size in the app’ settings.
4. Good visual features
- The room temperature is displayed in large numbers and is surrounded by a rotary dial in the centre of the app’s screen.
- The colour contrast of the screen varies between a black background with white text and an orange background with white text depending on the temperature setting.
- Four main functions (mode, eco mode, schedule and history), which are displayed as symbols, are clearly labelled with text at the bottom of the room temperature screen.
- A green leaf symbol will appear in the centre of the rotary dial when you adjust it to an energy-efficient temperature (16.5 degrees or below).
5. Easy to operate
- A back button is placed on the top left-hand side of the app’s screen, making it easier to navigate.
- The temperature can be adjusted by using circular swiping gestures or by tapping up or down at the bottom of the rotary dial.
- There is adequate spacing between features to allow you to target them by touch.
- The colour of the entire screen changes as the temperature is adjusted (black for lower and orange/red for higher temperatures).
- The app will clearly display an error message if it loses connection with your device.
- The app will send you extreme temperature alerts before your home gets too cold.
7. Easy to understand
- The app displays the the outside temperature and the percentage of indoor humidity to help you adjust the room temperature accordingly.
- The app includes an energy ‘history’ feature which indicates the number of hours you had the heating on per day over the last month to help you monitor your energy use. This is displayed both in figures and as an orange bar on a grey background. Leaf symbols will also appear on the days you have set the heating to energy-efficient temperatures.
Is there anything I should watch out for?
- The app does not allow you to adjust the text size, change the colour contrast or chose how information is displayed to you in its settings.
- Unlike other apps, schedules are made via a spreadsheet rather than drop-down menus. The user must select their chosen temperatures for days of the week (displayed vertically) and times of the day (displayed horizontally) which could cause confusion for users with cognitive or memory impairments and screenreader users.
- The schedule feature switches to landscape mode which we found to be problematic for screenreader users as they were not made aware of the sudden change in screen orientation.
- Information in energy ‘history’, while helpful, is displayed in visually challenging small text with poor contrast between the number of hours of heating and the background.
Who might this app be good for?
- We think this app is well designed for users wanting to be more energy-efficient, thanks to the app's green leaf symbol that appears when you pick an energy-saving temperature (i.e. 16.5 degrees or below) and thanks also to the ability to view your energy history. However, these features are not fully accessible for those with mild to severe visual impairments.
- The app is well suited to those with dexterity impairments as it is relatively easy to operate and allows use of alternative gestures to adjust room temperatures.
To find out more about the Nest app:
This app was user-tested by RiDC's researchers and members of our consumer panel in November 2020. Individual scores of ease-of-use features represent an indicative interpretation by RiDC of the feedback received from members of our consumer panel rather than scoring by consumer panel members themselves.