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The most common Google Nest Mini problems, and how to fix them

Google Home’s Nest Mini is the second generation of its Home Mini product, a little round speaker you can put around your house and connect to a larger Nest Hub or use for your own little personal assistant/radio. You can check out why we liked this improved model here, but we also want to go over some of the most common issues people are reporting for their Nest Mini and what you should do if they happen to you.

See our troubleshooting tips for the larger Google Home, and our general tips for getting the most out of Google Home this year.

My Nest Mini won’t connect

If you have trouble connecting with Wi-Fi, start with the basics first. Are you trying to connect to the right Wi-Fi network? Are you absolutely sure your password is correct? If this checks out, try moving your Mini closer to your router to see if maybe there’s a blind spot or interference issue.

If everything seems to be working well, the best solution is to reboot your Nest Mini. A basic reboot is very easy: Just unplug the power cord from the Nest Mini itself (not the outlet), and leave it unplugged for about two minutes. Then plug it back in, and start the connection process over in your Google Home app.

Note: With simpler smart speakers like the Nest Mini, rebooting is always a good option for addressing minor problems. If you haven’t tried rebooting, no matter your issue, give it a shot. There’s also an alternative reboot option in the Home app that may be easier for you: Go to Settings, choose More, and then select Reboot to begin.

Google Nest Mini closeup on wall
John Velasco / Digital Trends

My Nest Mini has problems playing music

In a perfect world, your Nest device would effortlessly connect to all your music accounts and play whatever you want with a simple command. Since we don’t live in that world, you may find that your Nest Mini runs into problems playing or finding music.

First, if you can’t hear music but it seems like it’s playing, check your volume. You can always say, “OK, Google, turn volume up,” or a similar command to see if the volume was accidentally turned down. On this note, you can also try different phrasing when asking for a specific music playlist just in case Google Assistant is having trouble understanding you.

If this isn’t a problem, make sure your music accounts are linked to your Google Home app. Google can’t automatically connect to things like Spotify or Pandora, so you need to go in and provide your account information first. If your accounts are connected and active, open up the apps themselves and go their individual settings sections. Look for any options to clear the cache or history, and then restart your phone to see if this helps the problem.

Also, when in doubt, don’t be afraid to reboot.

My Mini keeps on skipping songs on music services

Google Nest Mini on table
John Velasco / Digital Trends

This happens when your speaker only plays a few songs on services like Spotify, and then just starts playing previews of songs for several seconds before automatically trying to skip them. This can make music services unusable. It appears to be caused by a bug in the Mini’s software and may be related to switching to a new phone. Your best bet for fixing the issue is to reboot your Mini entirely and reconnect to see if this fixes the issue.

A similar option is that your speaker won’t play sound at all even those the music is playing. This usually happens because of Bluetooth bugs, and can often be fixed by unpairing and repairing all Bluetooth devices that you are using.

My Nest Mini tells me other Nest devices aren’t set up (when they really are)

Sometimes, Google Assistant needs to be reminded that all your Nest devices are present, especially if you introduce a new device in your home. Try saying, “OK Google, sync my devices,” and see if this helps get everything in order.

When I talk to my Nest Mini, it doesn’t respond

Many different problems can cause an unresponsive Nest Mini. Try the classics like rebooting the Nest Mini and checking the volume levels to make sure nothing obvious is wrong. If this isn’t working, double-check that you haven’t disabled the mic itself. There’s a mic switch on the Nest Mini that will completely shut off the mic for privacy reasons, and if it has been turned off accidentally, this is the cause of your problem.

If everything seems fine, take a look at where the Nest Mini is positioned. Airflow from nearby vents, sounds from other speakers, signals from appliances like microwaves, and many other environmental factors could be causing interference. Try moving it to a more quiet area and see if this helps as well.

If none of the above works, you may want to do a factory reset and start over.

My Nest Mini speaker only produces static

The best option for a Mini that’s only putting out static and doesn’t seem to respond well is a full factory reset. Note that a factory data reset is not a reboot: It will erase all data on the Mini, and you’ll have to go through the full setup process again when it’s done.

To reset, first find the mic button on the side of your Nest Mini and turn it off. The LED lights on the top of the Mini should turn orange when this happens. Now, press the very top of the Nest Mini, like it’s a big button you are pressing down. Hold it for about 15 seconds. While you are holding, the Mini will enter its reset phase, and it will chime when that phase is completed — don’t stop pressing until you hear the chime sound.

Now, start your device back up, and see if the Mini responds correctly.

Google Nest Mini

My Nest Mini keeps responding even when it’s quiet

Sometimes the Mini can be activated by conversations throughout the house or entertainment systems, but some people find they have problems even when the room is quiet. In this case, sometimes vibrations from nearby appliances — or even HVAC systems and traffic ––may be activating your Mini unintentionally. This tends to happen most often if your Mini is on an uneven surface. Make sure the device is positioned firmly on an even surface and not subject to any small vibrations.

Some LEDs on my Nest Mini stay on constantly

This is an ongoing issue that Google hasn’t seemed to fully patch out yet. Try rebooting via the unplugging method cited above — unplugging the power cord from the Mini itself and waiting for around two minutes before plugging it back in again. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you may want to try a factory data reset and start over to see if this solves the issue.

My Nest Mini keeps unlinking from my Google Home account

This was a serious issue in early 2020, with Nest Mini unlinking from Google accounts up to several times a day. It appeared to be a bug in the software because Google created a patch to address the issue. If it has been a while since you tried this fix, reboot and reconnect your Nest Mini to make sure any recent updates have taken effect. If the problem continues, you may need to wait for another bug fix from Google.

I can’t pair my Nest Mini with my 1st Gen Home Mini

Unfortunately, this isn’t a mistake. The update from the Home Mini to the Nest Mini makes it impossible to pair the two. You need two Nest Minis or two Home Minis to pair. If you do have two units of the same model, make sure they are close — in the same room — to pair successfully.

Google Nest Mini back
John Velasco / Digital Trends

The ultrasound sensor on my Nest Mini isn’t working

The Nest Mini has a setting that allows you to enable ultrasound sensing. This detects when you come near the speaker, turning on the music controls when you draw closer while showing alternative LED information when you are farther away. However, people sometimes find the ultrasound sensors just aren’t responding to their presence, no matter how they approach.

First, Google warns that other appliances throughout your home can emit ultrasound vibrations that interfere with the Mini’s sensors. Try to move the Mini to an isolated spot, and see if the sensors seem to work better there — it could just be a location issue.

Second, this feature currently seems very buggy. There are many complaints about it not working at all. It looks like one of those situations where waiting for a patch update may be necessary to fully resolve the issue.

Nest Mini won’t play my kid’s games anymore

Nest Mini has the ability to play a variety of audio-based games and trivia (we even have some ideas for you here), including some great games for kids. That’s a convenient perk for any parent, but what happens if your kids discover that some of their game commands no longer work? Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that it’s probably a licensing issue on Google’s end, and there’s not really anything you can do about it.

Note that content can become unavailable because licenses expire or the content is created by a third party who pulls the content from the service.. For example, Disney’s licensing contract with Google has now expired, and Google retired some of the Disney-related content. 

Unfortunately for many parents, that means any Disney Princess games, Marvel games, Pixar games, Mickey Mouse games, and similar options are no longer available over a Mini or another Google device. Hopefully, these games might become available again in the future if Disney chooses to renew its contract with Google. Your best bet right now is to find new, highly rated games to try on your Mini.

My account is blocked and I’m getting a strange security email from Nest

Starting in Spring 2020, Google released an update for all Nest users. The new update included a new two-factor authentication for better security. Authentication is simple and only meant to verify it is you logging in.

When your Nest is updated, you may be asked for a new code when you log in. Check your mailbox and look for an email from account@nest.com with the authentication code that you need to log in. Please note that all new users will need to go through the same process when logging in for the first time on a new device.

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