How can I change my presence?

I am away from home, but things are not happening as they should because my presence sensor (my phone and Life360) still says I am home…although Life 360 shows me in the correct location…is there anyway to change my presence with the app? Thanks

You can create a virtual presence device in the IDE and use that.

Uhhh…little more detail please…60 year old lady here…just learning my way with this stuff…


Hopefully this will help.

  1. Login to your IDE at (create a login if you don’t have one)
  2. Click on “My Devices” at the top
  3. Click on “+New Device” on the top right
  4. Enter a “Name” such as “Simulated Presence Sensor”
  5. For “Device Network Id *” enter Presence or something similar
  6. Under “Type *” select the “Simulated Presence Sensor” option from the list
  7. Select your “Location”
  8. Select your “Hub”
  9. Click “Create”
  10. Open you SmartThings App on your phone, under “Things” look for your new device.

I have seen the recommendation of a virtual presence device in several threads here. I have never tried that myself and don’t really know how it is done. As with most things in the Smartthings world however, there is more than one way to skin that cat.

If you don’t mind pushing a button when your presence doesn’t update as expected, you could create a simple routine to change the mode to Away or whatever you would normally want it to be when you leave.

Just go to the routine screen in the app. Click on the plus sign to make a new routine. Call it something like “Mode Away”. You don’t have to fill in any other info except the one that says change mode to. Choose the appropriate mode and click done. Then anytime your mode doesn’t change as expected just manually run that routine from the app and the mode will set accordingly.

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I know you’ve been talking about both a cabin and a condo recently, it’s important to note that when you change primary locations by physically moving your Wi-Fi router to a new street address, your phone Account with your mobile provider (nothing to do with smartthings, this affects pretty much every presence app based on combining GPS And home Wi-Fi location, as most phones now do) can take about two weeks to realize that your home router has moved. This has to do with a bunch of separate databases that have to get updated.

Consequently, it’s possible that the problem is due to that issue.

If your location is OK in the Life 360 app but wrong in smart things, that’s likely a smartthings issue.

But if your location is also off in the life 360 app, it’s most likely your phone account itself, if it’s because of a move, it will correct itself in a week or two. Otherwise, talk to your mobile phone service provider.

I did not set up our presence at the new location…So I dont think that would be the cause…just got to the grand kids house. Once we leave I will have to decide which recomendation to use. I dont mind manually changing when it wont automatically…oh, Life 360 is correct.

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Regarding virtual presence sensors, they can help in many cases, but it’s important to understand what they are.

What they’re not is a method of automatically tracking your presence in any way. It’s just a bit of code like the virtual switches we use with echo. The virtual presence sensor itself has no way of knowing where you are.

They are also not a method of changing the values of your other presence sensors. So if you use the virtual presence answer you have to change your routines and smart apps to look at it as the present indicator and not look at the other presence sensors that are wonky.

If you use a virtual device which has both capability presence sensor and capability switch, you get a virtual device that will show up in the things listed in your mobile app that you can tap on and off. Or that you can Have other smart things methods turn on and off, like IFTTT, or another routine, etc.

So with this approach, you can just manually turn the presence for that specific virtual device on and off anytime you want, or you can set it up to automatically change when other smArtthings events happen. Or use IFTTT to change it automatically when external events happen.

The virtual presence answers can be very valuable when you want your House to know that a specific person is there, but that person doesn’t have a smart phone and you don’t want to give them a physical fob. Or they just don’t like the idea that you are physically tracking their location outside of your own house.

Example, if you have guests and you want to do is tell smart things when they come in your house or when they have left your house. And you want to do this through a presence sensor mechanism without using an actual presence sensor.

One way would be to give each guest a Securifi key fob and set it up so one button turns a virtual presence sensor on and a different button turns the same presence sensor off. Now you have a way to manually change when the House recognizes that that person is there.

Or you could even just have a switch inside your house that they press for home and away.

Virtual presence sensors are also used a lot in testing.

The following is a virtual presence sensor that has the switch capability. Just remember that it only changes from home to away when you yourself change it in the mobile app or when you set up something out to “flip the switch.” Just the virtual device itself doesn’t have any geolocation method.


The Nest Manager app team has done something cool. The app creates a virtual “Nest presence device” that is linked to the Smartthings presence sensors. However it can also be switched home/away manually. This way you can override the automatic presence sensors if you need to but you don’t have to worry about turning on/off the device after you changed it once.

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Ok, so I follwed the steps Brain said too in my IDE…I assume now I create a virtual switch and assign it to the virtual sensor? I went into the app phone and can see it as a thing…but click on it and nothing…how do I tell it what i want so to speak?