Creating Shortcuts?

I’ve recently added a 3-way switch to my home network, and while it is working great - I can’t seem to get any nifty shortcuts to appear on my Android app. I have to navigate into the “Things” bucket, which has a bunch of uninformative icons and status indicators (no device names). So this isn’t really feasible as a long term solution. How does one create useful/named shortcuts?


When you mean “Shortcuts”, what are you asking for?

If you mean widgets within Android itself, then the answer is yes and no. If you mean short cuts within the mobile app (IE, tap on “lights & switches” then, yes.

Mobile App shorts cuts:

  • Tap on the “Lights and Switches” selection.
  • Tap on the settings gear (top right).
  • Scroll to bottom and tap on Auto import existing switch devices
  • Follow on screen steps from there

Android Short cuts (ie, widgets):

This is possible natively. ST does not have widget support. There is a way to do this using Tasker but it’s rather involved. You need to setup OAuth access to switches, then copy URL paths to Tasker tasks, then generate a widget or an app from Tasker. If you’re interested let me know and I’ll try to dig up the instructions on how to do this.

Other options:

I totally understand what you mean when you say “Things bucket.” There are a couple of things you can do to help with managing the bucket a little bit:

  1. Change the Icon: You can setup an different icon for each thing which makes it a little easier to recognize which device is which.
  2. “Folders” or groups can be created by moving one device on top of another. I tend to group mine by room (Den, Kitchen, Bedroom, etc.).
  3. You can re-arrange devices so that they are in an order that makes sense and is easy to remember. For example, I have a two stall garage and when looking at the garage my car is on the left, and my wife’s is on the right. So the open/close sensor for my garage is on the left and her’s is on the right.
  4. Finally, if you shake your phone (yeah… I know… hold tight and give it a gentle shake), the icons will temporarily be replaced with the device name.

Hope this helps a little bit.

If you are looking for Android Shortcuts / Widgets, you might want to check out my app SharpTools which makes it easy to setup a shortcut on your homescreen to toggle a light or control a Thing.

PS. SharpTools also provides easy to use Tasker integration that avoids all the manual headaches @chrisb noted.

Thanks so much for the reply! When I am at “Home” in the Android App, there are three “buckets” or groupings available:

-Home & Family - represents my wife and I (or our phones)
-Things - Little icons with no descriptions for all our “things”
-Doors & Locks - When you press on that you get to “Shortcuts” which contains incredibly useful little buttons that sense our garage doors, open/close them, as well as sense/control one door and lock. Those shortcuts are very useful.

That said I also have two lights I can control. My back porch light (single switch) and my backyard flood lights (3-way switch). Installing them and getting them set up was easy, but:

  1. There is no “Lights and Switches” section on the main dashboard. So there is no gear to tap and I can’t configure anything.
  2. In the “Things” grouping off the main dashboard there are icons with no descriptions. Only memory tells me which switch to push to do what. I inadvertantly discovered last night (while bounding up the stairs) that if I SHAKE my phone, I suddenly get descriptions!! Which is exactly what I want! But sadly they disappear seconds later. This is maddening behavior. It’s like having a default = useless but shake = briefly useful feature. Can I set the default to be the “shake” behavior?

The tip about dropping tiles on top of one another is very helpful, thanks!! I’ve got them grouped nicely now. But of course they still have non-descriptive names.

The only real reason I’m so interested in the “Shortcuts” is that they are so descriptive in their names, e.g. I don’t have to guess which garage door is open. It says right there.


Yes, indeed I figured this out almost by accident yesterday. How it is possible that this behavior is not default and why does it only last for seconds? That is literally one of the largest design flaws I’ve ever seen with a UI.

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It’s been brought up previously many times and I think ST would like to find a clean way to fix it, but squeezing in the name with the icon would make it sorta crowded.

One very important thing to understand re: ST philosophy… I don’t think they really intend for you to use your mobile device that much. I know when I first got into ST way back when that I figured this I’d use ST as my Home “remote control.” That is, I’d use my phone to turn things on and off, or change temp settings and make get notification of certain events.

But the more I got into ST the more I sorta got into the zen of SmartThings (how’s that for pretentious sounding?!?). The idea isn’t so much for you to use your mobile device as a remote, but for truely home automation. I think in an ideal SmartThings setting, you would never open the mobile app to do a specific task. In an ideal setup, everything would just… well… happen.

Now, obviously you need to still use the mobile app to setup rules and what not. And obviously we’re talking and ideal situation vs. reality where sometimes you do still need to pull out the mobile app to do stuff. But if you understand what ST’s ideal is… then fixing the the “Things Bucket” that doesn’t have names isn’t such a high priority. You, ideally, shouldn’t ever have to go into the “Things Bucket.”

That’s definitely odd… check with support on that. You should have a section for for Lights and Switches.

Yea, I can see that I suppose. But step #1 for every project is going to be simple control of the devices. And I’ll be surprised if any automation system will ever work so 100% well that it will alleviate the need for that underlying capability. To be depressingly honest, I’m a little underwhelmed with this system - ALTHOUGH I suspect many of the challenges I’m having with sensors relate to the sensors vs. ST as a system hub. Anyways, I’ll stick with it.

Now if I could just figure out why my multi-sensors don’t seem to care/report when my garage doors are opened via the car remote/push buttons. Strikes me that the entire point of those sensors is to detect that. . .but. . .they don’t. My system has zero awareness of the actual door condition. I’m not sure why they are there at all.


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I believe you have to use the + for the first time you add a light to the lights and things dashboard. as long as you have a light thing already connected. try hitting plus and choosing a top alert or action for a light. I believe that should create your dashboard section. But it’s been awhile.

Greg - THANK YOU!! That’s exactly what I was after and that did it. I also figured out my problem with my multi sensor. It is dead! I wasn’t getting notifications because it’s no longer with us. Worked great for 4 days and suddenly totally unresponsive. Swapped batteries with my other unit (it’s perfect) and no change. Frustrating but at least I know what the problem is now.


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I recently used SharpTools along with Tasker to get unique and highly customized alerts. Now I can effectively ‘arm/disarm’ my system from an Android widget icon. Any door or window contact will set off an alert that will override any silence or volume setting on my phone and definitely let me know an ST event has occurred. Josh has been extremely helpful including adding sensors that initially didn’t appear from his app. -asg


Regarding “Shake to temporarily view Thing labels in place of icons”.

Please see my forum post addressed directly to Alex on this insanity: Smartthings: I'm sick of this sh*t! Shape up!

Ahh…glad to see I’m not alone on this. The UI overall is quite counterintuitive to be perfectly honest. It seems clear that this system caters to developers who want full automation and autonomy vs A significant level of human interaction. Personally I kind of like that but it will dramatically reduce the number of people willing to use the system. I would not recommend this system to my non-techie friends who don’t want to code or really get into the internals of the system.

some of these improvements do not seem difficult to me to implement. But of course I am NOT the developer of the system so I would say that wouldn’t I! Ha!

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Discussion regarding both lables and more powerful / flexible / customizable groups and multiple shortcuts within groups, soft tiles (etc.) is in this recent new Topic: