App to open garage door when presence sensor (phone) approaches?

The “Ridiculously Automated Garage Door Opener” is very cool, but I am wondering if anyone has developed a more simple version of it tailored for a presence sensor (smartphone) rather than a car or car door opening?

So, for example, when my husband drove up in his car, the garage door would automatically open. That seems like a super common use case and I’m surprised it’s not something I see out there already. Perhaps there’s some reason why this won’t work?

I’ve thought about using Life360 but the trigger options are very limited – I can’t trigger based on a certain person, just on “last family member” or “first family member” arriving or departing, which doesn’t work for the garage door.

I’m pretty much not a coder at all though I’m trying to use this opportunity to learn.

I’m going to be writing a verion soon that can use one or two presense sensors. My concern is the security of an “automatic” garage door. So my idea was to use both the phone presense and the presence of the car from a presence fob and then it would open only if both were present. Should be a relatively easy app to write just need to find time to do it lol.

Word of caution - I tried this a year ago and ended damaging my car with abruptly closing the door. Costed me $800 to fix card and garage door.

The app has to be super smart to consider all the sensors (presence, tilt sensor etc…) and obviously sensors should give RELIABLE data.

I would not be automating my garage door opening/closing unless it is super solid …

@coolcatiger I totally get it. We actually don’t keep our car inside the garage – that is taken up with our foosball table, kid’s train set, bikes, etc. – so it would just be to facilitate human entry in our case after the car is parked outside.

I have my garage automated. When I approach my garage with my motorcycle, I don’t have the remote on me, but only my phone. This is enough to open the door automatically and I roll right in.


  • Relay
  • Tilt sensor or multi sensor
  • Smart phone (iPhone in my case)

This is baked into the featured SmartThings offerings!

  1. Push the plus button at the bottom of the ST app.
  2. Under ‘Alerts’, press ‘Access and Entryways’
  3. press ‘Notify me when a door is opened’ to add a door.
  4. Add a door and be sure to select garage door.
  5. Select your tilt sensor (If you dont actually want to be notified, click NEXT > DONE, no other inputs are necessary, just the sensor)

In the main app now, you have a doors&locks section. Click that and then click the cog in the upper right.
Click the garage door that you created in the steps above. Then click ‘Open it when people arrive’

This should get you what you need.

Duh. Thanks @ethayer. I need to get more familiar with the app, but I’ll have to say it’s not super intuitive. Appreciate the help!

No problem! I had a tough time figuring this step out too. Those steps to add your first door are crazy confusing. After you add your first door though, adding more doors from the Doors & Locks section is much more intuitive.

-Happy automating

That won’t work when there are two garage doors for two cars. What if we are out in car #2, with car#1 in the garage. I normally drive car #1. So when we return in car #2, my presence from phone arrives, car #1 presence is there, door for #1 opens, which it shouldn’t.

I have the same problem too. When I’m out with my wife, the wrong door opens when we arrive home.

A simple solution would be to attach a dedicated sensor to the actual vehicle, not the specific person. Not sure if it’s worth the extra $60 or not. I just shut the erroneous opened door and move on with life.

I have two hubs, one in the garage and one in my home, so attaching the sensors to the garage hub would work perfectly for me. Might not with others.

I spent some time messing with “Ridiculously Automated Garage Door Opener” attempting a fix for this, but gave up. My idea was to use a larger geofence for my phone in hopes that the phone would arrive before anything else. Then the logic would be, if my phone arrives and my car is gone, open my garage door. That would stop the problem of the wrong door opening. But it turns out that presence arrival is so flaky that it is completely unreliable. I’ve decided that I don’t trust ST to automatically open any door. I do have it notify me if I’ve left and left a garage door open, so that I can close it remotely. But opening a door is just a bad idea with the current state of ST reliability. It can’t be 98% reliable, it has to be 100%. Otherwise, at some point, the house is opened when it shouldn’t be, and it’s completely obvious that the door is open from the street.

Sure it would. It would work like this. If car #2 arrives AND one of X,Y,Z presences is home open garage #2… If car #1 comes home and one of X,Y,Z presneces is home open garage #1. Super simple.

Yep, it would require the cars to have their own “presence”

I do have sensors in cars too, but it is not reliable at all. Too many false events. Some times I had to wait for a minute to open door…and my kids and wife used have big :stuck_out_tongue: and me :cold_sweat:

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Interesting… mine work pretty darn fast. Maybe your hub is far away from your garage?

yes, about 80 ft far.

i bet if you found a way to move it close it would work better. Mine is about 10 feet from my garage.

I wish I could, if i had Ethernet connection closer to it and also afraid that i will be away from most of my switches causing issues.

get a smartness motion sensor and plug it in? might help to have a zigbee node closer to the garage.

I have a similar problem. I have over 120 devices and moving the hub isn’t an option. However, I have a Zigbee repeater in the garage.

One problem I have is timing. Wife drives up, garage door hasn’t opened because ST hasn’t detected presence arrival yet. So she opens it with her garage door opener. While it’s opening, ST wakes up and notices presence arrival, and attempts to open the garage door (which is still opening). That causes it to close immediately. Wife instructs to quit trying to automate garage door, and rightly so. Telling her to wait for ST to open the door doesn’t work either, because sometimes it just doesn’t do anything. So how long is she supposed to sit there waiting for it?

Sometimes the presence in the car triggers ST when the car is 50 feet from garage door, which is good. Sometimes it senses the presence after she has pulled into the garage. There is no reliability AT ALL. Same is true for iPhone presence detection. Sometimes it is detected when she’s 1/2 a block away, just entering the geofence; sometimes it is detected after she is in the garage. No way for that to work either.

All of this for what? To not press the garage door opener as we’ve all done for many years?

I’ve learned that keeping wifi on is a must. my iPhone presence detection works at the very outside of the geofence without fail every day.

But the second i turn wifi off it all goes crazy.

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