How reliable is group presence (everyone leaves/someone arrives) sensing?

I know ST can use “everyone leaves” or “someone arrives” as triggers for automations. But how reliable is this?

I’ve done some research and found quite a bit of frustration with the reliability of using these triggers. But these are all a few years old, I didn’t see any recent experiences. I wonder if anyone has used this recently and how well it works. Especially in mixed groups where you have both Android and iPhone devices.

Mobile presence is a very individual thing. In my home location it usually works fine on the two phones I need it to work on, though historically it has often needed to be disabled and re-enabled on at least one phone after app updates. However there are other locations where it almost never works. It really is something you have to try for yourself to see how it works for you.

It isn’t just a case of whether you can rely on the presence status to be updated, it is where and when it is updated. In my home location I can be out of sight of my property when my phone reports me as present, or I could already be inside it before it notices. I can even be in a train travelling at 60 mph and effectively an hour or so away. That has implications on what I can sensibly use the information for.


Thanks for the response. That is exactly the information I needed. I was going to buy a ST hub for this and not sure it is worth the effort just to find out it doesn’t work as reliably as I need.

I plan to use this to enable/disable cameras inside my house and issues like you’ve described will not work for this use case. Not sure there are a lot of scenarios where triggering an hour late is going to be useful. In many cases I will leave and return within an hour with nothing triggered.

IFTTT has a new feature called Group Location that I have tried, but after a week it has worked with 0.0% reliability. I guess the search goes on. Ring can turn cameras on/off based on the alarm mode but only for Ring cameras.

You should be able to test if this works for you without investing in a hub. Presence works on the phone without it. Just setup a routine to send a notification on home away and see if it works. If presence seems good to you after testing thn continue forward

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ST is not good for camera integration, dependant on the camera manufacture what you want to do might not be possible regardless of prescence

Just to be clear, I don’t have any issues with triggering an hour late (I leave that to Google Home …). I was just giving an example of the things you need to think about. In my case I do have a railway line crossing my geolocation circle and if I am outbound on a train on that line I can be detected as present at home as I pass by, even though it would actually take me an hour to get there if I needed to. I am not saying it happens often but it happens. If I tried to mitigate for that by requiring presence for thirty seconds before I do anything with the trigger I am still caught out if the train is held at signals, and it causes issues for when I am actually arriving home. So it’s not all about reliability.

Similar situation for me, where I pass near my house on the highway then have to circle back through the neighborhood to actually arrive. Waiting for 1 minute of presence before triggering anything has worked for me; since my path home brings me across the geolocation circle, I typically get a notification from my welcome home routine when I’m about a block away. (Also there aren’t typically traffic backups that would keep me on that particular stretch of the highway for over a minute.) However, I haven’t automated any security features like unlocking doors / opening garage on presence; we’re walking or biking as often as driving, and could stop within the geolocation radius at a neighbor’s house or playground without actually coming home. I’m fine with my A/C switching modes a few minutes early though.