Easily Control Your Nest Thermostat From Your Mac With Thessa
My wife and I have used a Nest Thermostat in our home for several years, and while Nest offers robust mobile and Web interfaces, I recently started looking for a way to more quickly monitor and adjust the thermostat from my Mac without needing to log into the Web interface or find my iPhone. A quick search of the Mac App Store revealed Thessa, a Notification Center widget for OS X Yosemite and up. Here’s my brief review.
Created by Netherlands-based developer Deviate, Thessa is a $2.99 widget that gives you basic control of your Nest Thermostat, including current temperature and humidity levels, current thermostat setting, and the ability to enable away mode or turn your HVAC system off.
It works by linking to your Nest account via the “Works with Nest” program, and setup was as simple as authorizing the app with my Nest account credentials when prompted (for those unfamiliar with “Works with Nest,” it is similar to how some websites and services allow users to authenticate with their Google, Facebook, or Twitter accounts; the app developer doesn’t gain access to your account credentials, and you can manage all linked apps and services from a single location in your Nest Account menu).
Once installed, Thessa acts like any other OS X Notification Center widget, which means that you’ll need to manually add it to your Notification Center before you can see or use it. To add widgets to Notification Center in OS X, launch Notification Center and select Edit from the bottom of the interface. Locate the new Thessa widget and click the green plus icon to add it to your enabled widget list. If desired, you can click and drag on the three parallel horizontal lines at the top right of each enabled widget to reposition it.
After enabling Thessa, it took about 5 seconds for my home’s Nest thermostat to appear. From the Notification Center interface, I could see the current temperature and click up or down (or drag the slider) to adjust the desired temperature range. Based on some testing performed via my MacBook while standing directly in front of the actual thermostat, any changes you make to the temperature or HVAC configuration via the Thessa widget take only 1 or 2 seconds to register on the device itself.
Even though I’m almost exclusively interested in monitoring my Nest’s current temperature and making occasional manual adjustments, I tested all other functions — enabling Away Mode, turning the HVAC system off, and switching from heating to cooling — and found that everything worked as advertised.
One function I couldn’t test, however, is Thessa’s ability to deliver notifications from the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector, as we don’t currently have one of those devices installed in the house. If you do have a Nest Protect, Deviate claims that Thessa can pass any smoke or carbon dioxide warnings to your Mac via the OS X Notification interface. This would be a welcomed extra layer of protection for those who have deployed Nest Protects, but we’ll have to take Deviate’s word on the timeliness of the alert and warning notifications.
While Thessa provides all of the functionality you need to adjust your Nest temperature settings, it’s important to note that it doesn’t provide any of the advanced features found in the official Nest mobile app or Web interface, such as energy usage history, scheduling, or the ability to view and change options such as Airwave and Sunblock. These omissions are acceptable in my opinion, as I don’t need to view or modify these settings nearly as frequently as I wish to adjust the temperature, and they are all still accessible from my iPhone or Web browser if the need arises.
Overall, Thessa is a very simple app that does its job well. There are certainly other ways to access my Nest via OS X, and most of these other options offer access to Nest’s more advanced features, but my goal was to find a simple and easy-to-configure interface for checking my Nest’s temperature and, if necessary, making adjustments. For this purpose, an app like Thessa for $2.99 fits the bill.
Of note, Deviate also offers a version of Thessa for iOS with support for Notification Center and Apple Watch. I briefly tested the app but found that I prefer the official Nest app when using my iPhone. Thessa for iOS is a separate purchase ($1.99) and is not required for those interested only in the OS X version.