Mobile/Cell Phone as Presence Sensor

I have recently migrated to the new app. Rather than trying to carryover everything from the classic app to the new app, I just started from scratch with new automations, etc. Overall…so far, so good.

However, there’s just a couple of features from the classic app that I am having trouble replicating in the new app…

  • In the classic app, our mobile/cell phones were listed as devices. That way, we could easily identify someone’s presence status. In the new app, mobile/cell phones don’t appear as devices and I don’t seen any way of easily determining someone’s presence status.
  • Related to the previous issue…in the classic app, the home screen had a “favorites” section where we could easily identify the status of a handful of devices (for example, someone’s presence status). In the new app, I see that we can view all of our rooms on the home screen but several of my “favorite” devices are scattered across several rooms. I have considered creating a room named “favorites” but, as far as I can tell, you can not assign a device to multiple rooms.

I would appreciate any thoughts/advice for solving those 2 issues. Thanks in advance!

The new mobile presence sensor doesn’t show up as a device. People have been working around this by creating a virtual switch or simulated presence sensor and using some form of automation to replicate presence status to that device…

So in essence its a behavior change for the end user - you have to think of your entire home screen as that favorites screen. It was a poor design decision for SmartThings to auto-populate that screen with everything. That said clear it out and only list your favorite rooms/devices/scenes there. All devices and the other rooms are always available under the hamburger menu if you need them.

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Any pointers for creating a “virtual switch/simulated presence sensor”? I’ve never done that before.

I’m struggling to understand what they’ve done. My phone does show up as a device, sort of. If you list the devices in the app, you won’t see it. But if you list the devices in the IDE, it shows up twice, once as the placeholder and once as mobile presence.

In automations, I see both “devices” if I click on the “Who?” to select. I can’t see the full description due to length, but I’m presuming one is the placeholder and one is the mobile presence.

Initially, my disarm on arrival automation didn’t work. I changed the “Who?” to the other device. It worked for a few days and then stopped.

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ok for you @GoulyONE - Mobile Phone Presence in the New App


You sensor is busted then - it should only show up once in the IDE - Everyone’s hung up on the ‘placeholder’ device. Just understand the device operates in the new paradigm - and that placeholder is exactly that, a PLACEHOLDER for the old IDE to ‘see’ it so it can show up in WebCoRE or any Groovy smartapp.

They definitely messed something up in last month’s release that severely horked up presence for a lot of people. What I had to do:

(Note I do not use any presence except newapp, no WebCore, no L360, no Classic)

I went to both my wife’s phone and my phone and disabled presence in newapp (I had already disabled classic and deleted the old classic virtual sensors)
That activity meant I should have ZERO presence sensors in my install.
I went in the IDE and deleted any OTHER presence sensors I had. (There were two)
Then went back into newapp and enabled presence on both phones.

NOW there is only one presence device per phone and they’ve both been rather reliable.


Thanks. I may give your fix a shot. Mine worked . . for 3 days, lol.

I also have a L360/IFTTT workaround that I may use in the interim!

Check out this article. I now have mobile devices show up in SmartThings and I see their status.
The following is a YouTube instruction how to install: Use Mobile Phone as Presence Sensor in NEW SmartThings App - YouTube