Home and away with 2 users

Wondering if anyone can help. When i have my routine, “I’m back” auto switch on when either me or my wife arrive home ( i have it set under “someone arrives” - “any of these people” my phone and my wifes phone.
I have the 2 living room lights come on, and all others switch off around the house.

if, for example, im already home, and have other lights on, but have the living room ones off, and my wife arrives home, what will happen? nothing? That would i would want to happen as im already home but im unsure.

Thanks and hope that made sense.

I believe when she arrives, and your I’m back fires it is going to do what you told it to do. Yes your home but you set it so if anyone arrives to trigger.

So possibly your standing in the dark?

Short answer, Yes it’s going to fire when she comes home and turn on the 2 lights and everything else off.

So if you keep this routine in place I would do the following:

  • Add to the Routine to set the Mode to Home (if you aren’t already doing this)

  • I would also then include Advanced Options to not run this Routine when in Mode Home (this will prevent the Routine from running if someone already made it home). Example from one of my Routines

You will also want to make sure to cover the reverse scenario that sets the Mode to Away when everyone has left the house so that the “I’m Back” Routine will run the first time someone arrives at the house.

Just some thoughts for ya.

You should be good at the Modes now from our other conversation :slight_smile:

1 Like

In addition to my post above and with some of the conversations we have already had in other threads on SHM and Modes, I think I may have a way that gives you that light bulb moment to click. :slight_smile:

Forget for a moment that you have been creating all these Routines and Lighting Automations, etc… over the last week. Lets go back to the beginning of how and what you want set up and when you would want to fire everything off.

You have no Routines, Automations, Lighting Rules, etc.

  1. The first rule you want in place is when we all leave the house we want to Arm the SmartThings system:
    We create a Routine to do the following:
  • When everyone leaves (Both cell phones) I want to set the SHM to Armed (Away)
  • I also want to set the Mode to Away (This compliments what the SHM Status is) - This has nothing to do with SHM, but it allows you to use this is a trigger for other Routines and Automations

So now you have two different values in the system to trigger off of (SHM Status and Mode)

  1. When someone arrives Home, I want a Routine that:
  • Disarms the SmartThings System - SHM - Disarmed
  • Sets the Mode to Home
  • Turns on / off specific lights in the house
  • Etc…

But I don’t want this Routine to fire if one or both of these conditions are set:

  • SHM = Disarmed and/or
  • Mode = Home

This will prevent that I’m Back Routine from running if someone is already Home

Those are the 2 big ones in the system.

Now you can begin to add more layers of complexity to your system. You could create a Routine to:

  1. So maybe at 10pm lets say (Bedtime), you want to set:
  • SHM to Armed (Home)
  • Set the Mode to Night

Now you might want a routine that runs when Motion is detected on the way to the bathroom and overhead lights turn on really low (10%). Your Routine would say something like When SHM is Armed (Home) or Disarmed and the Mode is Night then it would run.

  1. So now maybe at 6am (When the sun comes up), you want to Disarm your system, you would create a Routine that sets:

*SHM to Disarmed
*Mode to Home

Those are just some examples. So now you might still be asking yourself, why do I need to set both the SHM Status and a Mode.

Here’s my example of that:

If you are at home and when you are home, period, you never want the system armed (Always Disarmed), but you have Routines that run during the day time (When the sun is out) and only want them to run during the daytime, then while SHM is Disarmed and the Mode is Home (Home means daytime) then those Routines will contain criteria to only run when Mode is Home. Now you have Routines that you only want to run at Night Time (Lights coming on and going off with motion, etc…) so having the Mode set to Night allows you to run Routines only when the Mode is Night.

So with the examples of using Home and Night when Disarmed. This gives you that added flexibility by using Mode on top of SHM to be able to perform two entirely different set of tasks, even though the SHM Status is the same (Disarmed), you now have an added indicator (Mode) that says something is different in the environment.

If all that now makes that much more sense, here is one for you:

If you were to add your own Mode in IDE called “Away Night” you would then have 4 Modes (Home, Night, Away, and “Away Night”)

Let’s say when everyone leaves the house during daylight hours, you Arm your system SHM = Armed (Away) and the Mode to Away and you want some Routines to run when SHM is Armed (Away) and the Mode is set to Away. You can use these 2 settings to then fire different Routines while Armed and in this Mode.

Now you want additional Routines to run while the system is Armed but only at night, so you have a Routine that sets the Mode to “Away Night” after sunset for example and if the System is "Armed (Away), which might include Random lights coming on in the house or enabling something else you would only want to run in the evening and not during the day.

This is how having 2 different settings compliment each other in the system and can piggy back off of each other to prevent / include certain things from running when the SHM Status is set one way. The Mode has absolutely nothing to do with the Smart Home Monitor (Security Feature), but by setting a Mode and keeping it aligned with the SHM Status appropriately whether you are in a Disarmed State, but it is Day or Night (Home / Night) or SHM is Armed (Away) and it is Day or Night (Away / Away Night) or SHM is Armed (Home) and is Day or Night (Home / Night), you have so much more power to be able to run different Routines, Automations based on the inclusion of Mode.

You could create a Mode called Babysitter so that when you and the significant other go on vacation, your home automation works differently when the Mode is set to Babysitter.

Then once you completely understand those basic fundamentals of how transitioning both of those settings in and out, you could do all of it with webCoRE to give you even more power and flexibility with more complex qualifications for your IF (these things match) / THEN (perform these actions) / ELSE (if these things don’t match, then perform these things).

I know it’s a lot to read, but I just kind of wanted to lay it out there in the most basic terms I can, because it can be overwhelming to hear some of the verbiage from everyone who has already been through this. Sometimes they forget we all started in the same position you are at :slight_smile:


Thank you so much buddy. I’ve actually got my head around this now thanks to this post. ( though something else will pop up that im unsure about )

So if one was to run a routine ( any routine ) and didnt have it trigger something else after that particular routine, this routine would just continue to run?

Thanks again for that

Think of a Routine as a Task List. A Routine can run one of two ways;

  1. Automatically - If you have a Routine setup to run based on a trigger (a switch turning on or off, motion detected), then the Routine will begin to run based on the IF conditions being met and will THEN perform the Task(s) you defined in the Routine (turn on a light bulb, change the SHM Status, lock a door).

  2. Manually - You can create a Routine that doesn’t run based on any automated event. You can define everything you want a Routine to do (turn on all lights in the house) and when you press the Routine it runs and executes the Tasks. You can also run a Routine that normally runs automatically when something happens by pressing the button (it ignores the input triggers and allows it to run right now)

A Routine doesn’t keep running. It is sitting there waiting for something to happen for it to automatically run or for you to press a button.

Depending on different use cases and this is just an example. You could create several Routines to do things like turning on or off lights throughout the house that are just manual Routines that you control when pressing the button, not automated in anyway. You could then add those Routines directly to a screen on your Phone. There are two ways that I know of with my Android, you can add a widget that displays all Routines or a widget for an individual Routine. See my screenshots below:

All Routines Widget:

Individual Routines:

I think what throws me is this…

I have created a routine to switch on my cinema room, named “cinema room on”, via a harmony hub it triggers all sorts of things, light on in that room, projector on, av equipment on etc etc.
I have this set up as a widget on my phone and can trigger it with my apple watch. All good.

Now that, that routine is running. what happens when i want to run another routine, “goodnight” or even something like " living room lights on" whilst im still on this routine, does that then switch to that routine and do something with the “cinema room on” routine. I thnk the reason im getting confused is because i was an alexa user before a smartthings user and their routines are slightly different, i think.


When a Routine is finished doing whatever it was supposed to do, it’s done. The Routine starts and ends, that’s it. If you want another Routine to run based on some other event happening, then that Routine would run and end. They don’t stay running.

A Routine is just a set of instructions that are carried out:

  • Instructions for when it should run (Input actions - Doesn’t have to contain anything to run - Can be a manual Routine only executed when you press a button
  • Tasks for what is supposed to do (turn on/off lights, lock/unlock doors, etc.)
  • Then its done - That’s it - Routine is finished

If you have a Routine that runs when motion is detected and it turns on a light. It runs and then ends. If you trigger motion again, it runs and ends again.

1 Like

got it now buddy.
That’s what was confusing me a little. I think that’s partly to so with how Harmony run their routines. You can’t run 2 routines at the same time.

Thanks again.