Is phone presence working for anyone?

FWIW, Life360 has been a solid choice for us if you’re looking for alternatives. I have almost no issues with Android. I can count on one hand issues within the last year.

Samsung announced wanting to use cars as presence sensors. Seems like they should get phones to work first.

1 Like

I’m also have this issue. I’m using 2 different iPhone models. Currently, only one of the phones is registering presence. Also, the automation associated with presence is not always working (changing mode from home to away and back).

1 Like

Me too. My wife has an iPhone 11 which is working reliably, I have an iPhone7 which is not. Both a running the new app, the latest iOS (13.5.1) and both have allow access to location set to “always”. About a year ago, with the classic app and an older version of iOS, it seemed to work reliably.

I suspect its something to do with iOS on older phones but would have thought Samsung would have fixed the problem or released some information as to why it cannot be fixed.

Yet another thing that will prevent SmartThings/home automation taking off!

1 Like

Presence has stopped working for both my wife and me in the past month on the new app - it used to be rock-solid. Both of use are iPhone 11s with up-to-date versions of iOS. I may look at Life360 but if anyone has a native solution, let us know.

Agree with @Steve_Carter - knowing whether you are present or not is pretty fundamental to automation.

1 Like

While it’s occasionally slow, presence is working fine for me.

Google pixel 2 phone running Android 10 and the new STSC app.

My phone just started triggering older SmartApps, but not presence-based automations. My wife’s phone is still not triggering any location apps or automations.

This is, of course, exactly opposite of the outcome I need…

I had no issues at all with presence using my Samsung s8+ since I started using it 18 months ago. First 9 months with the Classic App and the last months using the New App.

Mine works…haven’t had a failure yet. I am using new app. Always worked in classic though too. Both mine a wife’s phones are iPhone XS Max.

Triggers mode changes and all other automations I have set based on presence except when SmartThings Cloud is having an known issue.

Phone presence started working for both phones magically earlier this week. Automations in the new app appear to be running, and @RBoy Lock User Manager “Activate on user presence” function is unlocking the doors when we return. There were no changes on my part, so I suspect things were not well at the SmartThings mothership.

So, one migration (and marital harmony) problem addressed.


The new SmartThings app Get Your Location From This Device using an Samsung Android SmartPhone hasn’t worked for me for the last few weeks as my Goodbye Armed Away and I’m Back Disarmed Automations haven’t been triggered at all. Not even a Message like it normally logs advising that my location was shared in the new SmartThings app to trigger the Automation. So I disabled and re-enabled it, added it back to my Automations, but it still doesn’t work.

The Arlo app Geolocation on the Samsung Android SmartPhone works fine. In fact too good since it triggers multiple times because when I get in the freeway going to work, it takes me back inside the geolocation zone and back out so I get multiple Arlo app notifications of the location changes.

Now for the really funny thing. I can see the new SmartThings app Android device as a presence sensor in the old SmartThings app even though the new app has never shown it as a presence device. And the old SmartThings app was showing the Android presence device from the new SmartThings app as Away and Present normally. The old app also logged that it was Away and Left, and that it had Arrived and Inside. But nothing in the new SmartThings app even though that’s where it’s enabled and created. How strange is that?

So, I setup a Routine in the old SmartThings app to turn on/off a virtual switch depending on whether the Android presence device created in the new SmartThings app had Arrived or Left. Then I created some Automations in the new SmartThings app to use the virtual switch as a trigger to Arm Away and Disarm the STHM in the new SmartThings app. It works! What a long way around the SmartThings Geolocation barnyard though.

I noticed an interesting thing about the history logging of the new SmartThings app geolocation presence sensor in the old SmartThings app when it logs two additional entries besides Away and Arrived, which are Left and Inside. The time that is being logged for these other two log entries are different from the Away and Arrived log entries.

Example, the Arrived log entry is five minutes before the Inside log entry. I’m guessing the Inside (and Left) log entry may be using the exact Home geolocation since the Arrived is just when entering the circle of the geolocation.

So with that being said, I wonder if the new SmartThings app will expose the Left and Inside options at all. Because I can think of a few Automations where I could use the Left vs Away, and the Inside vs Arrived to trigger some Automations if they are using the exact Home geolocation.

The Mobile Presence device handlers have long since supported both the Presence Sensor and Occupancy Sensor capabilities. The ‘device’ reports each separately but the device handler includes some basic logic to deal with any inconsistencies. So if the device detects ‘occupied’ the handler knows that implies ‘present’ and will set that first, and if it detects ‘not present’ the handler knows that implies ‘unoccupied’ and will set that first.

I spent a few hours one day trying to crack the logic behind ‘occupancy’ but without any success. As far as I am aware it has never been documented and nor has it leaked out.

I use a webCoRE to mirror mobile presence onto a combined virtual presence and occupancy sensor.


1 Like

Really funny thing happened today, the new app Geolocation started working for me today at least when I left so I can only imagine that it should work when I arrive.

The only thing I did was open the menu, select Manage Location, then Geolocation, then just selected Done. I also deleted the Mobile Phone/Connect Now presence sensor from the old SmartThings Classic app. I’m not sure if either or the combination of both caused the new SmartThings app phone location presence to start working at least when I left.

Update: Geolocation also worked when I Arrived. So geolocation in the new SmartThings app is once again working for me.

Is it still working consistently for you now? I’ve set up a test to just send me a message and I’ll find out, but a couple of months ago, it didn’t seem to be very responsive.

For instance, I wanted some garage lights to turn on as I arrived home, but the delay from the app recognizing me as home happened between 10 - 20 minutes after I came home.

Is that normal?

Yes. It’s 100% reliable when I have left the Geolocation circle to trigger away, but about 99% reliable when I arrive inside the circle to trigger disarm.

Sometimes when entering the Geolocation circle, SmartThings goes knuts and right after triggering arrival and Disarms the STHM, it will trigger that I’ve left and rearms the STHM to Away again. So, I use my smartphone voice command to turn off the Home Security virtual switch which Disarms the STHM, but for whatever reason it will immediately trigger Geolocation away and the STHM rearms to Away (sad face). This only happens every couple of weeks or so, but when it happens, I have to drive up to my garage and wait a few seconds until my smartphone links to my home wireless network. Then I can toggle the virtual Home Security switch off and the STHM stays Disarmed, but sometimes it beats me to it and triggers Geolocation arrival and Disarms the STHM right after my smartphone has connected to my home wireless network.

I’m thinking that my Samsung Android smartphone is sometimes only using the Geolocation from the connected wireless cell phone tower and not from my smartphone’s GPS since it’s inside my pocket. Because one of the wireless cell towers near me is inside my Geolocation circle, but the other cell tower is outside my circle. I believe the reason it works most of the time is because I drive pretty close to the cell tower that’s inside my Geolocation circle on the way home. So if my smartphone isn’t using the GPS location, and the cellular network has handed me off to that cell tower inside my Geolocation circle, then SmartThings is happy with my smartphone’s Geolocation so SmartThings does what it should most of the time.

As for turning on lights and other stuff, I just rely on when the garage door multisensor triggers open to turn on my smart home lights and stuff.

A possible helpful troubleshooting enhancement that would help me resolved any SmartThings Geolocation issues, would be for SmartThings to log the Geolocation coordinates with the log entry that it shared my smartphone’s location information. After all, they now have SmartThings Find integrated in SmartThings so that shouldn’t be hard to do.

When I go into automations, I see I can set up an “If” statement for me returning to home, after a customized time period. But how do I set up a trigger for when I leave? Do I have to step out of the ST app and use WebCore or SharpTools?

I can’t see where I can trigger an event upon my departure.

one method in automations…
you should be able to select:
If member location
who? your mobile device
where? Home
when? Away from Home

1 Like

Yep, what @jkp advises which I know sure sounds backwards.

Where: Home
When: Away from Home

Working fine for me across three iPhones. It’s reliably triggering “I’m Home” scenes, disarming security, and unlocking a door.

A couple of changes helped my location reliability:

  1. I expanded the geofence to a radius of 500m. This seemed to eliminate accidental geofence trips resulting from GPS inaccuracies or jumping between cell towers.
  2. I registered my WiFi hub with Skyhook - Apple is supposed to have stopped using them, so this may be voodoo, but it sure seems to reduced false departures.
  3. Of course, the location permissions for the SmartThings app are set to always and high precision.

I have separate arrival automations for each person for tracking/ debugging, but they all run the same arrival scene.