iPhone presence sensor

Hello everyone!

My wife and I use our phones as presence sensors to run multiple automations in our house.

Unfortunately, her phone has stopped updating her status automatically.

For instance, if she leaves the house her phone still reports her as being present within the home until she opens the smart things app. Once she opens up the app it automatically changes her status to away as long as she is outside the homes perimeter.

I have tried checking to make sure that the “Location” settings are set to “always”. I have also tried to remove her phone from the application and re-add it, but nothing seems to work.

She has an iPhone SE with iOS 10 running.

Thank you for any help you may be able to provide!

This has been a long running discussion. I don’t think anyone has ever come up with a definitive answer to why this occurs. You find Android users that have never had a problem and some that have constant problems. Likewise, we use 2 iPhones in my home with no problems but others like yourself have had issues. There are a number of threads on the subject but here is one you can read through.

I always notice that when there’s issues with phones acting as presence sensors, it’s usually the wife’s phone with the issue. That is the case with myset up to. My wife’s phone is usually the one that I have to play around with to get the presence working again. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that she doesn’t use the SmartThings app as much as I do? Usually what I do to fix it is I just open up the SmartThings app on her phone, then minimize it so it’s still running in the background.

1 Like

Same for me (and my wife) too. In general iPhone presence is way better on both my iPhone and my wife’s compared to a year ago. But there appears to be something about the way the ST app works in the background with location services in iOS that just sucks, compared to some other apps.

Could it be to do with “Background App Refresh”?

No. Even when background app refresh is turned on for the ST app, presence detection can still be super flaky. If background app refresh were off, I assume presence detection wouldn’t work at all unless the app were open.

Do both of your phones have the same presence radius/bubble (or whatever you call it :confused:) set within the ST app?

I have a iPhone SE w/ iOS 10 too, and since I widened out that bubble from its default setting, my presence reliability has been very solid.

I have weak & flaky cellular coverage at my house, and I think widening that bubble out more helped my iPhone more confidently resolve my presence when I’m actually at/near my house.

Cheers, Chris

Mine works like a champ as long as I didn’t turn off wifi for some reason. I don’t have backround app refresh on for any of my apps. I don’t close any of them either.

That is actually the problem we are having. Her presence detection only works when she opens the app for the day. The “background refresh” is on.

The app should always be open in the background. It doesn’t drain the battery or use system resources. Just try opening it and leaving it in the background.

Make sure you are not sharing the same account between the 2 phones. We accidentally used my credentials on my wife phone so both were using the same account and password and this had the consequence not to work anymore. Using separate accounts restored the phone location function. I have an android and she has an iPhone.

That is a very good point.

We have two separate accounts, I just made sure she was logged in under her own. Good thought though!

Ever get a fix for your problem? We have the same problem, but it’s my phone that doesn’t work sometimes. I work from home and our alarm and system set when my wife leaves in the morning.

The answer is “kind of”. I uninstalled the SmartThings app from her phone and registered us with an app called life 360 that can link to the smartthings app and provide presence sensing. This method is pretty reliable although I have had a couple of instances where it takes a while to update our status when we arrive or leave the house.