Can you create separate "modes" for Smartthings?

Hello I am new to Smartthings and I am trying to create different types of mode so that different sensors and actions would create different results based on the mode - this is what I was thinking so far:

  • [ ] Security mode: Motion sensors & door/window sensors turns all lights on along with siren
  • [ ] Bedtime mode: Motion sensors turn on all lights for period of five minutes
  • [ ] Regular mode: Motion sensors do not activate lights

Is this done for creating scenes or how do you do that?

Yep, there is literally an option called “Mode”

Have a look in the Routines, and you will see a setting that says “Only action if this mode is active” or something along those lines.

I think there are 3 default ones, Home, Away and Night. You can add more if you wish

This is good advice, but don’t discourage the use of modes. They are very convenient. If you want automations to occur only in certain modes, then you only have to program for that mode.

I use CoRE to set up my automations and then use mode restrictions to limit each mode to certain actions.

I have 7 modes in my system and love the way it works.

Remember, each users need are unique. What works for one doesn’t work for all. The great thing about ST is that a user can pick and choose what they want to and do not want to use in their system.

So, I encourage users to try everything and see what works best for them.


Unless you are doing bare minimal in ST then there is no need for the IDE…however, if you want to get the best out of ST then you MUST use the IDE.

Saying that, it is quite simple to create new modes and modes are one of the key ingredients in my HA.

Another is CoRE. It is THE rule engine that should have came with ST.

I have about 6 modes that cover most of my 136 devices. YMMV.


Modes are essential for a meaningful home automation and they used to be easily accessible from the mobile app. You could create new modes and change them with a few clicks. Then in their infinite wisdom, someone at SmartThings decided to shove them away and disabled the ability to create and change modes from the mobile app.

It’s true that some users “abused” modes due to lack of a flexible rules and scene engine, trying to use them for something they’re not intended. I guess that was the reason the modes are now hidden, but they’re still available to experienced users.


Modes technically need to be nested 2-3 levels deep for the most flexibility.

I would even suggest that the ST Team needs to add Phases (seasonal? holidays? or simply day/night?) on top of Modes and allow modes to be nested at least 1 level, since locations have modes (or stages) within modes.


  • Winter Phase
  • Default Mode
    • Day Mode
    • Night Mode
  • Christmas Mode/Phase
    • Day Mode
      • Away Mode/Stage
    • Night Mode

:grinning:Because inexperienced people like me had no idea how to use them and therefor caused all kinds of errors and began the “I hate ST so much” campaign! So maybe they figured that once people get a handle on it then they would seek out the more advanced things which included learning that there is a Graph/IDE page that users could go to take their HA to the next level.

Might not be infinite wisdom but I can see how it would save them a lot of support tickets.

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Sorry, but that’s a typical misconception about modes and exactly what I meant by “abusing” them. I like to compare modes to the transmission in a car. While your car has dozens of different controls - a steering wheel, pedals and a dozen of knobs and switches, there’s only one control that governs its operating mode - a gear shift. It has only four positions (modes) - Park, Neutral, Drive and Reverse. There may be a few flavors of “Drive” mode, but there are fundamentally only four different modes. The same concept applies to a smart home.


Right, that’s what I was referring to. The “abuse” was actually practical use. While I may have one Drive “mode” in my automatic vehicle, there are various states of Drive that HAVE to be considered.

The same can be said of the smart home. Right now users have to create multiple modes for the same “phase” without any kind of phase inheritance. When you create a Day-Home and a Day-Away mode, you’re simply defining modes within a phase.

This type of functionality is fairly basic within most computer systems and should be less expensive to manage than users having to create single modes for every Phase+Mode+Stage iteration.

I’m a little confused here. I typically do not have to create new rules when creating a new mode. I simply create the new mode then tell the existing rule to either consider the new mode or not…


True, but that all depends upon how complex your modes are and the rules you need to change. The existing system is designed for modes to be properties (conditions) of rules, while also being governing states of the location. It works very well for most users and use-cases, but it’s designed more for security application than practical scene design based on the function of an actual household.

Got it. Thanks for the explanation. I am still learning and I appreciate all of the help here on these forums.

Yeah, the community discussions are nothing short of amazing. I get to see all sorts of uses that I’d never considered, and get to benefit from everyone else’s experience…successes and failures!

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Here’s an example of how I use modes to control my HA in one rule.


Can I get a Hell Yeah!


yeah… almost… I need another motion sensor for the closet though… that’s the master bath so it’s pretty fancy.

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Didn’t know motion sensors can survive steam/humidity. Do you waterproof them?

Is there a way to create a routine in which it will automatically put the system into night mode?

I have additional security settings set up for night mode, but am often forgetting to go into my phone and change the setting within the app.

i recommend you open an existing routine and go through each option and see what is available