pfSense, self-hosted Unifi controller, & UNVR; hybrid cloud?

Hi all, at home my network is set up as such:

pfSense router/firewall
    self-hosted software Unifi controller
    Unifi APs
    Unifi UNVR running Unifi Protect
    Unifi Doorbell G4 Pro

The UNVR & doorbell are new, while I’ve had the router & APs for a long time. I’ve never used a Unifi cloud account, but I think I’ll need to do something to that effect in order to get notifications in the mobile Protect app while away from home*. When reading online about setting up the UNVR, I feel like I read someone suggesting that I start with a local account and then add cloud access later, so that it would be hybrid. But now I can’t seem to find anything in the web console for UNVR about connecting to the cloud. I’ve looked around online, but most discussion and videos center around how the UNVR started off as a cloud-only product, before Ubiquiti updated it to allow local management.

*I don’t actually even get notifications (doorbell or motion) while I’m at home, even though I can open the app and see the camera plus recordings of motion detections.
Is there a way I can do this without completely resetting the NVR? As an aside, I assume I could theoretically keep it local if I run VPN, but then that would require ensuring VPN is always connected, which I think may affect the phone’s battery life? Maybe something like Tailscale would be another way of doing it (though I don’t know much about those types of VPNs)?

Presumably the notification can be delivered via email, however, you’ll get loads of notifications, you’ll probably have problems setting this up on say gmail, due to the volume so a good chance it will be stopped after some while.

Perhaps the Protect app can receive the alerts, but then you’d need to be connected to the network, via a VPN. You’ll need to VPN into your network if you want to view your cameras anyhow, wouldn’t worry about battery drain.

Or there is some kind of cloud service that can relay messages.

On the UNVR go to your OS Settings then Admins & Users and add an admin that has an email that is tied to the UniFi cloud account.

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Hi Tom,

I’ve done that. Next, on my phone I’m connected to the same network as the UNVR. I open the Protect app and do the following:

  • I see my doorbell cam’s live feed (while logged in as the local admin)
  • I tap the profile pic in the upper left corner
  • I tap “Sign in to your UI account”
  • I provide my credentials, including TOTP token

It then shows me:

  • A screen with my username & email in the upper left corner
  • A cartoon picture of some Unifi equipment in the middle
  • A message below that says “No Unifi console found; Plug in your Unifi OS console or get invited to an existing one to begin.”
  • A blue “Add New” button

I click the Add New button, after which it shows me “Direct Consoles” with “UNVR” underneath and a green dot. I tap on UNVR and it brings me back to “No Unifi console found.”

Trying these steps a few times, I managed to land on a view of my camera, though I didn’t think to see what time it showed in the image to see if it was live. I tapped the user and it showed my account, but when I went back to see the camera view again, it went back to saying no console.

Starting from the beginning, I tried uninstalling and reinstalling, then logging in first with the account instead of the local admin. It couldn’t find anything at first, but since it was using Bluetooth, when I went into the room with the NVR, it found it, but still wouldn’t connect, like described above.