Does anyone use the mobile presence?

I am fairly new to ST having just received my kit last week. One thing I seem to be having issues with is the mobile presence. It just doesn’t seem like it picks up at all. After some exploration, I found where I can setup the location on the map within the location settings and I even expanded the geofence area quite a bit to give it a bit more buffer, but it doesn’t seem to function correctly.

One thing I noticed, under My Smartthings where it shows the circle for the mobile presense, it shows a small phone icon in the bottom left corner. I have never had that light up. Once I modified the geofence area, I even went back into there and confirmed it was showing my location as being in the dead center of the geofence area. My assumption is that the small phone icon should light up if that is the case, just like the tear drop icon will light up when the presence tag is within range. Is this correct?

One other thing I noticed, when I go into the device list at my mobile does show up, but it does not have anything listed under hub. Is that normal, or do I have a problem where the mobile device is not registered with the hub or something?

Just thought I should edit this and add - I did register my hub using the included code within the smartthings application on my phone. Also, in case it matters, I am using an iPhone 5 with all updates applied.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Did you try contacting in-app support? I was having issues earlier with my ST hub and they sent a firmware push that basically fixed all the issues I had with my devices.

Is geofence something that’s still a dream for Android users, or have I missed something?

@Brian S. Thanks for the info, I have not yet contacted support, but will try contacting them and see if that resolves the issue.

@Dave - Sorry, I can’t say that I have any info from the Android side of things, although I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible. From things I have read, it seems that development for the Android app lags the iPhone app somewhat(although someone with more experience may be able to pipe in on this for sure), so maybe they just haven’t gotten there yet. There are so many Android users out there, I would be surprised if they didn’t match the two feature for feature when possible, even if it is delayed some. Even though I have an iPhone, I hope they do anyway. Although I have no complaints with the iPhone, I always evaluate my choices when it comes time to upgrade.


Android Mobile Presence was actually released today in an app update. However, I am having a lot of issues with it. It pops in and out a lot.

@Cory, were you able to set your location? GPS locating works fine, but I’m unable to “pin” to my address. May do a ticket later, going to hope it sorts out though (Android 4.2.2).

edit: working now, at least letting me set my location on the map.

I’m removing my phone as a mobile presence as it’s essentially worthless since it will randomly report me leaving and coming.

Sadly, that’s maybe the biggest update with the new version of the Android app, and for me it’s useless. :frowning:

To be more accurate, perhaps it’s the “Notify Me” app that’s screwing up. I don’t know. Regardless, I’ll try again should the app get updated.

@coryds Cory, sorry to hear you’re having mobile presence issues. There are a couple of things you can try:

  1. Making your geofence larger via Settings
  2. Making sure your wifi is turned on
  3. Not using battery saving apps (could be killing GPS/location services in the background)

That said, mobile presence can only work as well as your phone’s ability to know where it is, which isn’t always perfect. It’s a feature we’re continuing to refine/improve on both iOS and Android.

Thanks @emilyallen Emily, I’ll try to make the geofence bigger…but the interface doesn’t seem to work well. I’m actually not even sure how I got the pin to finally drop… it was really janky. EDIT: Figured it out…after you get the large map to open (which is also kind of hard) you long press on the black dot, and drag to expand. I expanded it to encompass my entire neighbourhood, let’s see if that helps.

That said, mobile presence can only work as well as your phone’s ability to know where it is, which isn’t always perfect. It’s a feature we’re continuing to refine/improve on both iOS and Android.

I use geofencing for a lot of other location based apps, and haven’t had any issues with false readings so far.


I extended the geofence to several miles… and it is still toggling in and out a lot. I have confirmed my location has been stable with my other geofence android apps.

ID	Date	Source	Name	Value	Displayed Text	Raw Description	Displayed	State Change
	20 Aug 2013 22:10:03 - 27 minutes ago	 DEVICE	presence	 present	Cory's Phone has arrived	presence: 1	true	true
	20 Aug 2013 22:09:48 - 27 minutes ago	 DEVICE	presence	 not present	Cory's Phone has left	presence: 0	true	true
	20 Aug 2013 22:06:54 - 30 minutes ago	 DEVICE	presence	 present	Cory's Phone has arrived	presence: 1	true	true
	20 Aug 2013 22:06:51 - 30 minutes ago	 DEVICE	presence	 not present	Cory's Phone has left	presence: 0	true	true
	20 Aug 2013 22:06:43 - 31 minutes ago	 DEVICE	presence	 present	Cory's Phone has arrived	presence: 1

Hey @coryds,

What version of android do you use. I have noticed on Android 4.2.2 it will be a lot different then older version. I think Emily eluded to this in another thread on how hard it is on Android because of fragmentation. I have been real solid on 2.3.4 with the geofence. I am going to try it tonight on my 4.2.2 device and see if I replicate your issue but then again I think its going to depend on the location ability of each device!

@@sirtaran I’m on Android 4.3. However, the version of Android really has very little to do with geofencing. Location services are handled by the Google Services Framework (like many of Androids core APIs, which is why the fragmentation argument really isn’t that valid anymore), which was recently updated to all devices running gingerbread and up. That is assuming they are using the google API for geofencing though…if they are trying to reinvent the wheel with their own solution that would explain a lot.


True, but different carriers and phones use different methods for location services. You may even notice that stand alone GPS can vary from phone to phone. When I WAS using Google latitude my two devices varied greatly and sometimes had me several miles away at random times! Something else unique in my setup is I have more than one carrier for my devices. Again all assumptions again. Are you rooted or stock?

@sirtaran Well, the idea behind the Google Play Services is that no phone or carrier will have anything different. Google uses it to push updates through that otherwise would be held up months or years for “carrier network approval”. The API in question is called “Fused location provider” and is highly accurate in my testing. It uses far more than just GPS. It uses a mixture of your accelerometer, celltower, WiFi, and other sensors to get a position without having to wakeup the GPS antenna, which is why since the upgrade “GPS” is supposed to use less than 1% battery life per hour.

Yes, I am rooted.


Why did I even ask that question… of course you are rooted :slight_smile: You are way more knowledgeable with the workings of Android than me so I will let you know what I find.

@sirtaran Haha, wasn’t trying to come across that way… I just attend all the Google I/O dev events, and this was a big deal for them so the information stuck with me.

I just noticed my mobile presence seems to have stopped working. It shows that I am constantly ‘away’ … I checked the location map and have it set correctly but the sensor shows me as away. Is there any safe way of uninstalling and reinstalling the mobile presence sensor?

I use the beeper function to find my keys or my cat - that’s about it.

I just started using mobile presence with the latest android update. My family has 3 Android 4.3/4.2.2 phones and 1 iPhone. I invited my three family members to my account with the IOS app. So each family member logs into smartthings with their own credentials. I don’t believe these “guest” accounts are currently distinguished from the master account on the smartthings server side yet. Each users sees all the same locations, things, apps, etc. But mobile presence is available for each device.
I’ve also setup 3 additional “hub-less” locations using the app. In each of these locations I’ve associated certain mobile devices (This must be done on the phone you wish to use at the location). So I receive notifications when my daughters arrive and leave each of their schools. Plus I setup a hub-less location around work to notify my wife when I leave work.
Some of our cell phones location drift worse than others. I increased the geo-fence around my locations to a reasonable size (500 yards or so). And I use the app “Notify me when” which includes a time limit for multiple notifications/texts. Using a 5 minute timeout seems to filter out the problem with cell phone locations floating around.