Matter has had a rough first few months, with barely any devices available and plenty of problems setting up and using those that are. But the new smart home standard may have just gotten the kick-start it needed. The Nest Thermostat is getting updated to support Matter starting today, April 18th. This is the first smart thermostat to support Matter, and the big change for Nest users is that it will now work with Apple Home without needing third-party hardware. (You will need iOS 16.4, however).
An over-the-air update will make the popular thermostat from Google compatible with any Matter smart home platform using Matter over Wi-Fi. The rollout starts today and will be completed over the next few weeks, according to an update to a post on the Google Nest Community blog.
Only the “new” Nest Thermostat released in 2020 is getting the update to Matter
Matter is a new smart home standard developed by Google, Apple, Amazon, Samsung, and others, with the main aim being to make smart home devices easier to set up and use across ecosystems as well as faster and more secure. Matter devices will work locally in your home and won’t need a cloud connection to communicate with each other.
With Matter on board, you can adjust the Nest’s temperature, change the mode, and control the fan using the Apple Home app and Siri voice control as well as Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and any other Matter-compatible platform.
While the Nest Thermostat already works with Alexa and SmartThings, with Matter, all communication will be local, which should be faster and more reliable. The thermostat can also interact with and be controlled by any Matter-compatible device as well as any devices in the ecosystem you choose to use it in — including smart motion, temperature, and contact sensors.
Only the “new” Nest Thermostat released in 2020 is getting the update. Google still says it is exploring bringing Matter support to the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Thermostat E, which are the only Nest Thermostats available in Europe. (The E was discontinued for general sale in the US shortly after the new Nest Thermostat was released.)
The update will roll out to existing thermostats automatically over the next few weeks; if you have a Nest Thermostat, you won’t need to update it manually. Google says it’s working on updating future thermostats so that Matter comes ready to use out of the box.
After the update, a new Matter settings page will appear on the thermostat and in the Google Home app settings page for the device. From there, you can pair the thermostat to any other Matter ecosystem using a Matter pairing code. Currently, the Google Home app on iOS does not support Matter. But you can access the Matter pairing code from the thermostat itself, so you should still be able to add it to Apple Home this way, at least until the Google Home app gets Matter support.
The Nest Thermostat is the first Google Nest device with Matter support that can be added to and controlled by any Matter platform. The other products Google has updated to Matter — the original Google Home speaker, Google Home Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub (first and second gen), Nest Hub Max, and Nest Wifi Pro — are all Matter controllers. This means they can control Matter devices but aren’t Matter devices themselves — so you can’t control your Nest Hub Max from Apple Home, for example.
Matter is still confusing to use and incomplete, with a lack of cohesive support across all the ecosystems that are supposed to be playing together. Amazon’s Alexa platform still doesn’t support Thread devices (which is a key protocol of Matter), and with no iOS apps from Amazon or Google that work with Matter, you can’t use an iPhone to set up Matter devices in those platform’s apps. There are also still very few Matter devices to control with those apps, should they ever arrive. But thermostats are one of the most popular smart home devices, and the addition of the Nest Thermostat could well signal a tipping point in the Matter rollout.