All Nest smart home products fell offline in smartphone app outage
Locks, thermostats, doorbells, cameras and alarms were all inaccessible via the app and web browser
Users of Nest smart home products were unable to control their devices via the Nest app and website for several hours on the night of May 16.
The outage affected the entire Nest product line up, including cameras, locks, doorbells, thermostats, smoke detectors and security systems.
While the devices could still be used physically - locks and thermostats still functioned - they could not be controlled with the Nest app or through any web browser. In effect, the smart, web-connected devices reverted back to operating like the dumb, cheaper, simpler devices they are intended to replace.
The Nest Support Twitter account said it had received reports of devices not working via the app at approximately 23:30 EST on May 16. The account said: "We've received reports from Nest Secure and Next x Yale Lock customers who are unable to arm/disarm or lock/unlock via the Nest app. Physical controls aren't affected. We're currently investigating this issue and will provide more info when available."
We've received reports from Nest Secure and Nest x Yale Lock customers who are unable to arm/disarm or lock/unlock via the Nest app. Physical controls aren't affected. We're currently investigating this issue and will provide more info when available.
— Nest Support (@nestsupport) May 17, 2018
Further reports then came in of customers unable to use the Nest app in any way at all. Users posted screenshots to Twitter showing a message on their app, which read: "There was a problem connecting to the Nest service. Try again in a few minutes."
One user, Gregg Goodbrod, tweeted: "All app services seem down. No access on computer nor iPhone to cameras, thermostat, or Nest Protect."
One person said: "The entire app is down, it won't even load so access to arm or disarm, thermostat and cameras are not accessible. I can't keep and [sic] eye on my baby until this is back up and running. Please work on this quickly, it isn't taken lightly."
Another Twitter user, by the name of HYAdamsFoster, said: "I only have the thermostat, but this issue today has made it so that I never ever buy another one of your programs [sic]. Privacy was already a concern."
Screenshot of the Nest smartphone app unable to log inTwitter / Arturo Garcia
However, the outage was short-lived for most users. At around 00:30 EST on May 17, Nest Support said the iOS and Android apps were working again for most people, and by 02:30 the company said the issue had been resolved.
Although it doesn't seem like anyone's privacy, safety or security was compromised during the outage - and all products continued to work at a basic level - this episode is a stark reminder of what can happen when we digitize products like door locks and put our trust for them to work properly in an internet connection and a smartphone app.