Local control meaning

  • update *
    this was typed to save users the trouble of reading further and for easier understanding.

If you read (local control) on the forum be aware it means (local automation control) if your Internet drops out and your hub becomes disconnected from the internet you will NOT have individual device control.
This can be overcome IF you have an internet router that has a cell/phone network sim card installed, this should give access to the Smartthings cloud which in turn connects to your router and attached smartthings hub


We had an Internet outage tonight, isp doing some upgrades for an hour

Why did I have no control of any devices connected to my v2 hub ?

My limited understanding is that local edge drivers would allow local control be they 3rd party or beta St drivers, I put my phone in airplane mode and switched on WiFi only, nothing… all devices adopted cloud icons

My Tuya app that controls a few wifi light bulbs worked fine, my broadlink control worked fine

Am I not understanding local control properly ?

Unfortunately in SmartThings local “control” only means local automations/routines. The app connects only to the SmartThings cloud, not over your LAN.


Local control (if available) is only from device to hub or device to device. Mobile app always need internet connection.


As others have mentioned, “local processing,“ is not the same as “local control from the app.“

Local processing means that the hub can continue to communicate with some of the devices on your smartthings account. And that some pre-created routines will run on that hub.

But in the current smartthings design there’s no way to create a new routine, edit an existing routine, add a new device, or use the app at all without an active connection to the smartthings cloud, even if the app is on the same Wi-Fi network as the hub.

They didn’t have to design it that way, but they did.

There are other home automation systems, such as Apple‘s HomeKit, where the app will continue to work just fine if the Internet is out as long as the local Wi-Fi is operating, although some features, such as voice control, might still require an Internet connection.

But it’s just not how the smartthings app is designed. They have added more and more local processing over the last year or so, but they still haven’t done anything about local control except for a pre-existing routine with a trigger device. So you can have a zwave switch turn on a zigbee bulb through local processing if both are using edge Drivers. But you can’t do anything with either from the app unless you have an active connection to the smartthings cloud. :disappointed_relieved:

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Well ya learn something new everyday, there was me thinking local control kinda meant what was written on the tin not just the small print on the back

So I guess now I need backup local automation with devices that are local incase a timed local automation gets missed

Lesson learnt

If you miss a timed local automation by way of activating lights after the automation time for off, the net drops out your then stuck with lights on which makes edge and local as useful as cloud

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To me, it does mean that. However I’ve always been aware that the mobile apps aren’t local controllers.

I only make things ‘smart’ if they can still be controlled when only ‘dumb’ is an option, or alternatively if it is acceptable to completely power them off. So to me ‘local’ is just a bonus.

Update: I should clarify that a starting point for my last statement is that I think of SmartThings as a cloud based system and I knowingly installed it as such.


Local is still important to me, but I also try and have manual physical control.

So when I lose internet, motion still turns on and off lights and stuff like that, all routines run, but if I need to manually turn anything on or off, I still have physical buttons to control things manually


I am in a different situation. Since I’m quadriparetic, I don’t have the usual “Plan B“ option of just walking over and turning on the switch since neither of those actions are physically possible for me. So local control is quite high on my priority list. As I’ve mentioned before, I even have one set of switches in a pathway from my bedroom to the front door that have local voice control through echo. But these emergency switches are linked to an Echo device, not ST or HomeKit, because that’s the only way that local voice control works.


These are strictly my Plan B devices, typically in the auxiliary position for a two-way set up in the room. They will work manually for the other people in the home if necessary, and they will work through voice for me as long as the local Wi-Fi network is still operational. No Internet required once they’ve been setup.

I am also able to use voiceover on my iPad (the voiceover accessibility feature, not Siri) without an active Internet connection, so I can use apple’s HomeKit app that way, again, as long as the local Wi-Fi is active, but this kind of voice navigation is a lot more work than using a voice assistant like Siri or Alexa, so this option is more of a Plan C.

Use Voice Control to interact with iPhone - Apple Support

So different households will have different priorities, you just need to figure out what your own are and then plan for those.

We do have a how to article in the forum on planning for outages. that’s been there for a few years, but it never gets a lot of traffic, I think because most people just figure it out on their own once they realize they have to. even if it’s just, as you say, making sure that you can manually turn anything on or off that you might want to if the Internet was out.

Anyway, here’s that topic if anybody’s interested. It hasn’t been updated for edge drivers yet, but I think until edge comes out of beta we can’t really know how everything’s going to work. :thinking:

How to: Planning for Outages

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Yes, and I think we can go a little further than that and say we also need to see what ST are going to come up with in the way of virtual devices and variables. In particular, what the options are for cloud based virtual devices going forwards? We tend to focus on local execution during internet outages as that affects what happens in our homes, but we need to consider cloud execution too.

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Same as me Graham BUT the lights I wanted to switch off are powered from my garage, it was gone 12am, temp was -2 and our Internet rarely drops out for more than an hour, I could have braved the cold but honestly, I just hadn’t paid enough attention to the meaning of local control so never really had a cause to test its meaning

I will also add that creating backup routines to run localy also pushes the routine limit to a point where I simply can’t add anymore.