FAQ Routine, routines: How do you use them? (SmartThings Classic)

@tgauchat - “But then again, we’ve obviously been patient since we’re still here, so that’s a reason for optimism, right?”

Yes I’m still here hoping that the proper changes are made to the security side of ST to represent what they are advertising before it is too big to change. It may be too big to change already.
A year ago when I was researching DIY security systems, ST was all in the news and had rave reviews. It seemed that they had it all and were miles ahead of their competition. I ran out and purchased the system and totally spent about $1000 on it with more devices, so I am heavily invested.

I really want ST to succeed and that is why I joined this forum. I am trying to be the noisy wheel to get some grease to make ST a truly awesome system. I am also trying to warn potential customers that the system might not meet their expectations if they read all the media hype.

I have my doubts if a purely cloud based will ever succeed. My cellular system arms/disarms instantly and gives instant notifications.

Please, ST engineers, get the security side flawless before the system grows too big to make changes.

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Since this is an FAQ thread on Routines, please take discussion of other topics to other threads. Thanks! :sunglasses:

Yes, we did get off track a little bit with kjarrard’s post. Since there are so many questions about ST security all over the place I think we need a new category just for ST security.
Do I need it?
Does it integrate with other security systems?
How reliable is it?
Suggestions and uses

Do you know how to set up a new category, do you want to set up a new category, and do you have any suggestions you would like to add?

Only the admin’s can set up new categories, but you can just start a new thread or add to one of the many existing threads on security. Seriously, I think there are at already at least three or four on every one of the questions you listed, and probably more. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

But since there have been some new major new security features added in the last few months, in particular the integration with Scout, the ability to download video clips in SHM and the integration of the Arlo (official) and Blink (Community created) cameras, as well as the creation of CORE, I think it’s reasonable to start a new consolidation thread. A lot of things have changed since most of the other threads were started.

If you want one just on SHM, put it in the smartapps category and make sure you put SHM in the topic title.


If you want a general discussion of whether SmartThings is appropriate as a security system, and what features might need to be added to the platform, put it in the general topics category.


And if you want one to discuss best practices for what Devices, rules, and services should go into a security system based on existing SmartThings features, and find out what other people are currently using, including integration with other security systems, put it in projects.


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Hi all,

Im using 6 routines at present, the 4 standard ones Good Morning, Good Night, Goodbye and Im Back.

Ive created two other routines, one for my daughters Bed Time, and another called Evening.

These last two routines come on at a set time. The first being my daughters Bed Time routine which turns the Landing Lights on to 20% and then goes off at a preset time. Evening then comes on after daughters bed time routine and runs until Good Morning routine is activated at a preset time. The Evening routines controls the same landing lights but when motion is detected between 22:00 - Sunrise it will turn those lights on to 20% and then turn off if no motion after 1 minute.

Now the problem im facing is with the Im Back routine. With this routine it will set the house to disarm, and set the mode to HOME. Now if i come home between the routines Daughters Bed time and Evening - it will then change the mode to HOME and if i walk up stairs the landing lights will then turn on under motion but go to 100%.

With the MODES, can i select IM BACK to just disarm but not select a mode to be in? if i do that, will it keep the current mode i.e. Daughters Bed Time routine which also has its own mode, which will stop it changing those settings.

I have i totally not understood the routines/modes ideas and over complicated what im trying to achieve.

Really appreciate any help or feed back. Im finding certain routines totally unreliable and work around 65% of the time.


use CoRE

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it doesnt show in rule but i have the actions for evening only between sunset and sunrise. thats how great core is too

You could use core, but you don’t need to.

First, yes, if you don’t specify a mode to change to, then the routine just leaves the current mode unchanged. But most people would want an “I’m home” routine to change the mode to Home if the mode had previously been “away.”

Easiest way to do that is to set up two separate routines.

One does everything you want your arriving home to do, except it doesn’t change the mode. You can let it run in all modes.

Then have another one which is restricted to running only when the mode is away and have it change the mode to Home.

When you arrive home, if the previous mode is away, then both routines will run.

If the previous mode is anything else, only the first routine would run.

You might even want multiple versions of The first one, so that different things happen if you arrive home at different times of day.

But the main point is that a routine does not have to change the mode. And you can restrict what modes a routine runs in. And you can trigger multiple routines from the same event (you’re arriving home) and control which ones actually run based on the current mode. Put that all together, and you should be able to set up what you want. :sunglasses:

Hi JDRoberts,

Thanks for your reply. I Think i understand what you mean. So basically i set up two Im Back routines. one of them have set without any mode change, and the other setup as normal with Im Back to change mode to HOME.

Sorry for asking, but would it actually trigger both of these routines? Only reason im asking is because when you select Dashboard, then press top right button it will show the MODE its in. What will happen when both have triggered?

Thanks for your help

What triggers the “I’m back” routines? If it’s just your arrival, then both will run, no problem.

If you put mode restrictions on either of them, and the change in mode on one affects the other, then you might get a race condition and we’d have to look at adding a virtual timer on one of them.

But as we originally discussed, if it doesn’t have a mode restriction, then routine a won’t care if routine B has change the mode.

The mode that you see in the mobile app is just the current mode. By itself it doesn’t do anything – – you have to have selected the mode restrictions in the individual routine/smart apps before it affects that specific role.

The only thing that triggers the I’m back routine is the arrival of our mobile phones as they are the presence sensors.

So all I have to do is create the same routine called I’m back and have this one to have in the mode as blank?

And the other im back routine should have the mode as home?


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I am having issues with Routines that I have created and getting Alexa to recognize them. I can use the default routines, Good Morning, Good Night, Goodbye, and I’m Back by saying Alexa, turn on Good Morning and so on. Everything will work fine. I created a routine called Going to Work. If I say Alexa, turn on Going to Work, she will say "Sorry, I didn’t understand the question I heard.
Any Ideas?

Have you had Alexa do a Discover devices recently? Double-check to make sure the routine exists in the Alexa->Smart Home device list.

Also, if you didn’t expose all devices in the Alexa Smartapp, you will need to select the routine to make it discoverable.

I did do a Discovery and the routines are listed in the Alexa App. What do you mean by expose all devices?

If Going to Work is listed in Alexa, then it is properly exposed.

I do see it in the Alexa App but it still will not recognize it.

So it seems that the problem is the phrase. Try renaming it to “Work”, if that is suitable to you.

I tried changing it to “Go To Work” and also just “Work” neither worked. I ran discover devices after each and saw them listed in the Alexa App. When I changed it to “Work” Alexa told me she found several devices matching that name, which one did you want.

By any chance does “Go to work” control a door lock? I’m guessing not, because you’d still be inside … just checking, because I think Alexa is not allowed to control locks … not sure how she knows inside a Routine though!

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Forget the old “…Work” devices in Alexa to prevent conflicts. She’ll respond that way whenever devices are closely named and she doesn’t fully understand which you meant.