FAQ: use a button controller to turn on a virtual switch to run a routine to change SHM alarm state (SmartThings Classic)

You want to press a button on a minimote or other button controller and change the alarm status of smart home monitor.

Fortunately, that one’s doable, although like many features in SmartThings, it’s not intuitive. :sunglasses:

  1. create a routine that sets the alarm status the way you want it. You will probably need two routines, one for arming and one for disarming, but that’s up to you.


Two) create a virtual switch. here’s the FAQ.

Three) there is a smart app in the marketplace section of the official mobile app that can tie a routine to a switch. This has been around for a long time and is very popular. It Uses the old terminology of “hello home phrase” instead of “routine”, but they mean the same thing.

So open the mobile app,

a) choose the marketplace section (asterisk icon in the lower right)

b) choose smart apps at the top of the screen,

c) choose “lights and switches”

and d) scroll down until you see “switch activates home phrase.” Install it.

If I recall correctly, you’ll have to install it twice, once for the switch going on and once for the switch going off.

Now you have a switch that can change the SHM alarm status. It will appear on your list of switches in the smart lighting feature or just on the things list. So you can toggle it in the mobile app, or you can tie it to a button on a minimote (using SmartLights) or even turn it on and off with Alexa. Anything you can do with a switch in SmartThings, you can do with a virtual switch. :sunglasses:

And for those who have never used the official SmartLights feature before, here are the instructions for that:


I wanted to use a Button press to perform Routine A immediately, and a button Hold to perform Routine B after a 1 minute delay.

  1. I created 2 Virtual Switches, VSA and VSB.
  2. I then used Smart Lighting to turn on VSA when Button is pressed. Do not check Toggle on & off.
  3. Use Smart Lighting to turn on VSB when Button is held. Do not check Toggle on & off.
  4. Next create a Routine called ‘Nothing’ that does nothing.
  5. Create a Power Alliance app that turns off VSA after 1 minute (that way button gets reset to off so you don’t need to worry about the state of the Virtual Switch)
  6. Create a Power Alliance app that turns off VSB after 1 minute (this will trigger our delay)
  7. Create Switch Activates Home Phrase app that when VSA is On performs Routine A, and when Off performs Routine Nothing (power alliance resets switch for us, but we don’t want to do anything when it does)
  8. Create a Switch Activates Home Phrase app that when VSB is On performs Routine Nothing (start our delay), and when switch is Off perform Routine B (the power alliance app turns it off after 1 minute so that’s how we get our delay)

There is no longer a “Switch Activates Home Phrase” SmartApp listed - how should I do this now? I have a Smartthings Button and I want to use it to Arm Away. I’ve got it so the Button sets a Virtual Switch - but can’t figure out how to get this to trigger Ärmed Away.

You are replying to a thread which is three years old. A lot has changed in that time. :wink:

Two years ago, using the V2 app (now called the “classic” app) the answer would have been that this functionality was added to routines. So you just create a routine triggered by the switch.

Now, however, things are very different in the V3 app (called “SmartThings ( Samsung connect)“).

Although both the V2 app and the V3 app have a feature called “smart home monitor” they are in fact completely different code with different features.

And in the V3 app, Smartthings has changed their design philosophy on security features, and there is no longer any way to automate arming or disarming smart home monitor except manually opening the app and doing it there, or by time of day. :disappointed_relieved:

FAQ: Why can’t I use Geopresence or an Automation to set the alarm state in the new (V3) app? (Updated 1 November 2019–now you can!)

Thanks @JDRoberts that wasn’t clear from everything I’ve read. It’s very disappointing :frowning:

I have bought both the Smartthings Button and Fibaro FOB because I specifically want to be able to arm/disarm the SHM for my V3 Hub without using the app.

At least you’ve stopped me wasting my time.

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Is there some reason you can’t use the Classic app?

I airbnb my house. My guests need an easy way to control the house, but of course even if they have their own Smartthings app I won’t let them directly control my devices, so my thought was to give them a FOB with buttons for various functions including setting the alarm.

I think what I meant was can you use the Classic app as YOUR app and use the SHM in that app. That way a button controlling a virtual switch can arm and disarm the SHM. As @JDRoberts pointed out, the SHM functions differently in the two apps. If you can live with using the SHM in the Classic app (instead of the SHM in the newer Connect app), you can use a button to arm and disarm.