Android Presence Sporadic

For the last 5-7 days, Android Presence has become unstable. It worked well for the past 4-5 months and now it comes and goes constantly. This mostly happens on my Moto X Pure, and less on my wife’s identical phone.

I know this has been discussed many times, but does anyone have a new suggestion? Maybe I just need to buy presence sensors and forget about using the phone entirely.

I’m not sure anyone has figured this out completely. We have 2 phones in my household used for presence detection. My phone, and IPhone 6 has never failed presence detection. The other phone, an IPhone 6s has on occasion failed to recognize leaving or returning. Interestingly this problem is immediately corrected if the app is opened on the 6s. That leads me to the thought that it might have something to do with the app going dormant and just not checking presence as it should. But who knows, there doesn’t seem to be a common denominator that I can put my finger on.

I do see a lot more Android users reporting this problem but that may be nothing more than more Android phones in use. It’s also possible that OS fragmentation writhin the Android world may have a hand in this.

Lots of variables to consider.

I’ve had the same issue since I got my SmartThings setup in May 2016. However, I wasn’t so sure that this was a SmartThings only problem since I know Android well enough to know that these apps are coded to use Android OS level location/geofencing services vs. using their own location/geofencing codes.

So I did some testing to see what the root cause of the problem was, the ST app or Android location services. My wife and I both have the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge on T-Mobile with the latest firmware based on Android 6.0.1. We both have the same issue. Both were setup with the following apps for testing:

Tasker with Autolocation plugin

I setup the same geofence on all three apps for my home. Each was setup to send notification whenever my phone’s geofence location changed (i.e. whenever arrived/departed event occured.)

On both phones, at random times, when SmartThings mobile presence failed and changed and sent notification, the other 2 apps also sent location change notifications.

So at least on our phones, the Android location services is broken and unreliable. This is causing all apps that use Android location services on our phones to fail at random times.

You can test this yourself by using IFTTT. Geofence notification is pretty easy to setup for both iOS and Android.

Thanks for listening! I wouldn’t be surprised if the issue is related to Android, though it is ironic that it WAS working pretty well! I’m probably going to look into other methods of detecting presence from other forum posts.

For those interested, I also got a reply from Smartthings support which suggested removing and re-adding my devices as described here:

These workarounds are driving me absolutely nuts.

That doesn’t help.

I’ve tried every possible “workaround” suggested by support and nothing worked. They’ll eventually tell you to try Life 360 and give up.

One thing I’ve read online about fixing Android location services issue was to clear AGPS cache and force an update on the device. You can do this using the “GPS Test” app from the Play Store. I just cleared it so we’ll see if it works.

Have you looked at the battery saving settings? I had trouble on my Samsung phone until I excluded ST from battery saving.

I even wrote it up on my blog

Mine was very flakey until I disabled Battery Optimisation on both my and my wifes Samsung S6.
Hasn’t been a problem since.

Alternatively you could try Life360. (The free version). This works just as well.

Our phones have both Android Doze and Samsung App power optimization features turned off for all our geolocation capable apps. We still have random failures.

As I me mentioned previously, it’s not just ST app that’s failing with geofensing, it’s all apps that use geofensing on our Android phones. It’s an issue with the OS level Android location services, not just individual apps.

Perhaps you have something else going on then.
I can only comment on what I found, and turning battery optimisation off, not just for certain apps, but completely off, worked for us.
Also it did not significantly affect the battery life of the phones.

I read several threads which said that disabling battery optimization for the Smartthings app didn’t do anything so I didn’t bother. I’ll try it though (nothing ventured, nothing gained).

I hate having yet another app, but I did temporarily install Life360 to see how it does with locating my position.

Hope it works for you.
I should have mentioned that I am in the UK on the UK server.
I also have a very strong mobile signal where I live.
Not sure if these things contribute to my presence reliability.

Removing and readding presence did work. Not sure how long it will though. I’m also testing Live360 to see if it’s more reliable. Time will tell.