Nest Snapshot URL - Bad image quality if not watching live stream



I wrote a script which capture and save the snapshot image, which I want to use later to produce a time lapse video. It is only 1 image per day. I set the “Image Quality” to 1080 from auto since I read others have issue with the image quality and this is solved it.

For some reason if I do not check the camera for a while the image quality of the snapshot is really bad. If I open the camera via the nest app and have a look at the stream, than the snapshot image quality is great again for a period of time.

Any idea what could cause this and how to fix?


Thank you for your question. It sounds like the image quality issue might be unrelated to the Nest API. The support website at has more information about product features.




Thanks, I believe it is caused something like a standby mode or something like this to save energy. Any chance I can “wake up” the camera with an api request or ping or something?

Thank you in advance!


Hmm, good question. Maybe this schedule feature could help you as a workaround.

It says: “You can schedule your Nest Cam to turn off and on again up to 32 times per week.”

We’re also looking into whether there might be an underlying issue that needs to be investigated further.

Thanks again,


My camera is always on, but I will try to schedule a turn-off - turn on right before the snapshot has to be created, this is a good idea. Thank you!

I will also modify the cron to create a snapshot in every minute so I can determine and let you know exactly how many minutes has to be passed before the camera goes to this “standby” mode. I can confirm that the snapshot API request itself will not prevent the camera going to this stand by mode, since my home automation request a snapshot once in every minute. I am refering to this request just to be precise:

Also, on the bad quality image there is no Nest logo on the top right corner. The image size is 1920x1080 but looks so bad. I wish I could attach two images so you could see the difference more, but here is the bad quality image:


and the good quality right after watching the live stream:


Hi again,

Do you have a Nest Cam subscription?




No I do not have a subscription at the moment, but come on, I cannot use an almost $200 camera to make a snapshot if I do not have subscription?

I made some tests and the schedule does not “wake up” the camera, nor the motion detection. The only time when the snapshot has a good quality if I watching the live stream via the app or via the website. As soon as I close the app, the camera goes back to standby mode.

I believe it is not what we early adopters expect from a quality camera. I m already very disappointed that I cannot record to my local network drives such as a NAS server or something. Do you know by chance if this will be modified over time?

Thanks a lot for your efforts to help me!



With all the respect, may I ask why was this thread unlisted? Thank you!


Apologies, we believe it was an accident. Our team is looking into the issues you’re seeing and will get back to you shortly.




I am just wondering if you have any news on this topic. Thank you!


Any update on this?
I’m also experiencing the same issue.


Hey Jake,

I do not think if we will get an answer for this. I am about to extend my camera system, but probably I will sell the Nest cam I have and purchase some other brands which I can record to my local storage and be able to access good image quality without a monthly fee…