FAQ: How to Add a New Location Mode, or Manually Change from One Location Mode to Another (Classic App)

on September 15, 2016, an update was released to the android and iOS smartthings mobile apps which removed the ability to add a new mode through the app. Hopefully this was just a glitch and it will be re-added soon. Meanwhile, you can still add a new mode through the IDE. Instructions in the following thread.


Many people use modes to manage which actions are automatically triggered. To begin with, Smartthings starts you out with a few basic modes, like Home and Away.

However, many people like to add additional modes. For example, I distinguish between Night, which is when we have a lot of lights turn on when there is motion, and Asleep, when the same movement will not turn on the ceiling lights, but will turn on a soft night light.

Someone else might normally have a chime ring as a doorbell, but also have a Baby Sleeping mode, when instead of the chime, a light blinks.

Many people have special modes for when they have guests. So they usually use Home and Away, but they also have Guests at Home and Guests Away.

You can add whatever mode you want through the mobile app. The rest of this post will detail the steps for adding your own custom modes. ( note that the method for doing this change significantly with version two of the mobile app. This FAQ has been updated for those changes. )


Tap on the three horizontal Lines in the upper right to open the pop-up menu:



The detail screen starts with the name of the location and the map. Continue to scroll down and it will show you the list of modes you already have set up. Tap the “add a new mode” option.

This will open the mode name page for your new mode.


Give your new mode a name. I named mine “ASLEEP.” Then tap DONE at the top right of the screen.

This Will return you to the location details page.


Tap DONE at the top right of the location details screen to save your changes.

This will return you to the Location screen.

  1. To Change to a Mode, You Can Set Up a Routine that Makes that Change

In previous versions of the mobile app, we could manually change from one mode to another through the dashboard. That is no longer available.

You have two options for setting up manual mode controls. The easy way is to set up one routine for each mode that just changes to that mode. Alternatively, you can create a virtual switch for each mode.

The official method is to set up the routines. I found that cluttered my routines too much, so I used virtual switches. Which method you use is up to you.

This FAQ will first detail the official the suggested method of using Routines, and then provide a link to the alternative virtual switch method.

Tap on the partial circle with a checkmark in it at the bottom of the screen to switch to the routines screen. Then tap the three vertical dots at the top right of that screen to bring up the routines pop up and choose add routine.

Give the Routine a name. I called mine Asleep.

Scroll down until you see Change Mode and choose the mode this routine will set.

Save everything by tapping done at the top of each screen until the routine is complete. From now on whenever you tap this routine it will switch to the mode you selected.

Alternatively, you can set a momentary virtual switch for each mode, then put all of those devices into a “room” called “mode switches,” and do any of your mode changes there. It’s just a personal preference as far as which method you like. It’s easier to set up the mode controls as routines, but I find them easier to use as pushbutton switches when they’re all together in a “room”. The momentary switches approach also has the advantage that you can then set the switches up for control by echo, so you can just tell echo to change to the mode you want.

The following topic explains how to do this.


Modes are most commonly used to control when Routines or custom smartapps are triggered. If a mode option is available, the set up wizard for the Routine or the smartapp will display the option to “run only in the following modes” and then you pick the ones you want to apply.

For more information on using modes with Routines, see:



Your posts are awesome, @april should get you posting these to their blog :smile:


How about charging ST for his posts instead. I sure learn a bit from his posts.


Heh. I’m just lazy. I’d rather answer something once in a way that covers all the bases than pick it apart piece by piece. :wink:

1 Like

How do I manually change mode in the latest app version? I see the mode setting and I can drill down into the house to add modes but what if I only want to change the mode without a routine.

This changed in version 2.0 of the mobile app. There is now no longer a way to do it within the mobile app by itself. You have to either use a routine, or add switches.

@JDRoberts Thank you! I had read your virtual switch idea for controlling hello home actions/routines when I was enabling them to work with my Echo, which worked great! Sometimes when testing a newly created action I like to switch the mode to test the action (e.g. set lights to 25% when motion detected in Asleep mode but 100% in other modes) so I will be using your virtual switch idea when I start creating actions when my Hub V2 arrives. Thanks again, your write-ups are extremely helpful for me.

1 Like

Very helpful. where is the current mode displayed in App 2.0??

In the IOS app, click on the My Home icon at the bottom of the screen (4 little squares). The mode will be in the upper left quadrant. In this screenshot, “Home” is the mode.

Wow, I can’t believe I missed that. thanks

It doesn’t appear on the first screen, you have to go into the My Home view.:sunglasses:

I want to create a mode called “Dark”. I have created that mode, but I want to change to that mode automatically if the Lux reading on my sensor drops below a certain value. I tried to use a routine to change the mode automatically, but apparently Lux readings are not supported in routines. Is there any way to have a “dark” mode enabled automatically when the lux reading drops below a certain value?

There are multiple ways but this is the most comprehensive. If you are not familiar with it make sure to read the release notes at the top of the thread.

Well I’ll be darned. I use Rule machine extensively. Actually the reason I wanted to set the mode to “dark” is so I can use that mode in rule machine to automate my lights when it is dark. I never thought to look at Rule machine to set the mode.

1 Like

That is somewhat amusing :smile:

Where do you find the Alexa app mentioned that allows the virtual switches to be created?

If for whatever reason, you don’t want to use Alexa helper, there is a very simple smartapp in the “marketplace” section of the official mobile app which only does one thing: assign a mode to a switch.

To find that one open the mobile app, select the marketplace section (use the*icon at the bottom of the screen), choose “smart apps”, choose “lights and switches” and you will find it. :sunglasses:

Click on it and complete the set up wizard. You can do one switch changing to one mode.

Now you have a switch that will activate that mode.

You will have to repeat this installation for each virtual switch that you have.

( One of the big advantages of Alexa helper is that it will let you do multiple switches in one set up wizard. But this way should still work. )

Is there any update on this?

I am a newbie, and it seems there have been changes in regards to how modes work…
I was able to add a new mode online, it showed up shortly on my phone (Android) and now it does not.
When the smartapp was supposed to trigger a mode change I got a text that said "Tried to change to undefined mode ‘null’ "

I just tried adding a new mode and adding an automation that used it and it worked fine for me, so I’m not sure what’s going on. But I use an iPhone, I don’t know if there’s a different issue with android. I’d suggest getting in touch with support, maybe they can see something from their side.