How to set up Google Nest Hub smart display

Got a Google Nest hub? Find out how to get started with our guide.

The Google Nest Hub smart displays are bursting with features and functions – they can tell you the weather, show you your calendars, enable you to control your smart-home devices, look up facts online and much more besides.

Before you get to all that good stuff, though, you need to set up your Google Nest Hub. Fortunately, it’s not a complicated or lengthy process.

You’ll be guided through it by the prompts on the screen of your Google Nest Hub, and through the Google Home app that you can install on a smartphone or tablet. If you’ve previously set up a Google Nest device, then you’ve already done some of the work. 

A Google Nest Hub on a table going through the set-up processCredit: David Nield
The second-generation Nest Hub, all set up

Here, we’re going to take you through the process step by step. This guide was written using a second-generation Google Nest Hub, but the procedure is very much the same on other models. 

Quick look

Project overview

You will need the Google Home app on either your phone or tablet to help you set up the Google Nest Hub.

15 mins

1. Turn it on

Power up to get started

The set up screen on the Google Nest HubCredit: David Nield)
This is the screen you’ll see when your Nest Hub is powered on

Once you’ve got your Nest Hub and its power adapter out of the box, peel off the protective film on the Nest Hub screen, then connect it up to a power socket.

You’ll be met with a cheery welcome message and a prompt to download the Google Home app to a smartphone or a tablet. 

2. Get the app

Install Google Home on your phone or tablet

Screenshots of the Google Home app for the Google Nest Hub setupCredit: David Nield
Get the Google Home app from the Google or Apple App Store

If you don’t already have the Google Home app installed on one of your devices, it’s available for Android phones or tablets, or for the iPhone or iPad. When you launch it, you’ll need to sign in with your Google account. 

3. Add your device

Connect your Nest to the app

Screenshot of Google Home app detecting the Google Nest Hub for setupCredit: David Nield
Google Home should detect your Nest Hub almost instantly

From inside the Google Home app, tap Devices and then Add to add a new device – in this case, the Nest Hub. It should be automatically detected by the app, and you can then use your smartphone or tablet camera to scan the QR code shown on your Nest Hub. 

4. Set up a room

Find a home for your device

Screenshot of the Google Home app showing setting up a roomCredit: David Nield
Choosing a room for your Nest Hub will help you find it later

As you work through the setup steps, you’ll need to put your Nest Hub in a room for easier organisation. If the room the device is in doesn’t appear in the list, tap Create new to add a new one. 

5. Connect to wi-fi

Time to get online

Giving the Google Nest Hub access to wi-fi via the Google Home appCredit: David Nield
Give the Nest Hub access to your wi-fi so it can get online

You’ll also be asked to connect the Nest Hub to a wi-fi network, which you’ll need to provide the password for. This means the Nest Hub can download updates and look up information online.

6. Set up Google Assistant

Tell your smart display who’s who

Screenshot of Voice Match on the Google Home app to illustrate how to set up a Google Nest HubCredit: David Nield
Voice Match means the Nest Hub can tell you apart from other people

After that’s done, you may be asked to set up Google Assistant, if you haven’t already done this on your smartphone or another gadget. You can also choose to enable Voice Match, which means the Nest Hub can tell when you’re talking to it as opposed to anyone else. This can help if multiple people are going to be using the Nest Hub, each with their own contacts, Google Calendars, and so on. 

7. Turn on personal results

Get personal

Screenshot of personal results on the Google Home appCredit: David Nield
You may have already set up personalised results on another device

If you want to be able to access personal results on the Nest Hub – so that covers everything from your reminders to your schedule to your YouTube recommendations – you can turn this on in the next step.

This works in tandem with Voice Match, which we mentioned above, and if Voice Match is enabled then other people won’t be able to get at your personal results through the Nest Hub.

8. Activate features

Add extras to your Google Nest Hub

Set up additional features on your Google Nest Hub via Google HomeCredit: David Nield
Your Nest Hub will offer to set up various other features at the end

The Google Home app will then ask you to set up the various features offered by your Nest Hub. With the second-generation Nest Hub, for example, this includes sleep tracking and gesture control.

If you’d rather do this later, tap Not now; otherwise, tap Next to continue through the process.

9. Set up gestures

Talk to the hand

Screenshot showing the set up of hand gestures on the Google Nest HubCredit: David Nield
Hand gestures is one of the options on the second-generation Nest Hub

The screens you’ll see next will depend on which features you’ve chosen to set up, so if you want to use hand gestures for the second-generation Nest Hub, you’ll need to agree that the device can watch out for your gestures.

The app then shows you a few key tips for the Nest Hub, such as where the mic control is.

10. Take a tour

Find out what your Hub can do

Screenshot of the Google Nest hub showing the tour you get during the set upCredit: David Nield
Take a tour of the Nest Hub to see its main features

The Google Nest Hub then offers to take you through a tour of the interface, and we’d recommend that you complete it. You’ll learn about how to swipe through different screens on the display, how to access its settings and more.

11. Set up other features

Further options can be found in the Google Home app

Screenshot showing how to set up further options on the Google Nest HubCredit: David Nield
You can always go back and set up other features, such as volume, after the initial set up procedure

After that, your Nest Hub is ready to use, but you can go back to the Google Home app and set up more features whenever you like.

Just tap Devices and then the name of the Nest Hub – which is usually the room it’s in followed by Display. To change this name, tap the cog icon (top right), then Device information, then Name.

12. Discover settings

Familiarise yourself with general settings

Screenshot showing further options on the Google Home appCredit: David Nield
You can also get back to any of the settings you’ve already seen

All other device settings, including those you configured during setup, can be found by tapping the device name in Google Home, then the cog icon at the top of the screen. You can choose which app notifications appear on the device, for example.

13. Set your sleep schedule

Get your smart display to help your sleep

Screenshot of the sleep schedule option on the Google Nest HubCredit: David Nield
The second-generation Nest Hub can set up a sleep schedule for you

If you’re using a second-generation Nest Hub, you can tap Sleep Sensing on this screen, then follow the instructions on screen. You’ll need to calibrate the device and set up a sleep schedule that you want to try and stick to. 

14. Set up music and video apps

Explore the audio and visual options

Screenshot of Google Home app showing how to set up music and video options for the Google Nest HubCredit: David Nield
Several music and video services will work with your Nest Hub

Some other settings, including the music and video apps you can use on the Nest Hub, are found in a different place inside the Google Home app.

From the app’s front screen, tap Settings (lower right) and then pick either Video or Music to set up services such as Netflix, Disney+, Spotify and Apple Music. These services then work across all the Google Nest devices you’ve got running.

David Nield

Written by David Nield


Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, you’ll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables.

David has by-lines at leading publications including TechRadar, Wired, The Guardian, Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.

When he’s not busy writing, he enjoys watching football and long walks in the countryside.

  • twitter
  • linkedin