"Mode" vs "Smart Home Monitor" in Routines

I have been trying to get the “Goodbye” and “I’m Back” routines to work. Eventually I got it but there’s something here that makes no sense to me.

First thing I did was to edit the settings for “Goodbye!” by clicking on the gear-icon in the Automation dialog.

Then, I see that there’s TWO different items that look like they need attention:

Here’s where it gets confusing. “Smart Home Monitor” and “Mode” have very similar options. I had been setting “Mode” to “Away” thinking that it would make “GoodBye!” have the same effect as pressing “Armed (Away)” on the main screen-- but that was not the case.

So now the question is… I have two settings that I can change for my routine: “Smart Home Monitor” and “Mode” – why is that? Why would they EVER be different from each other?

You’re right, the terms can be confusing and very unintuitive for new users. but there are actually very good reasons to have “modes” that have nothing to do with the alarm “state” of SHM. See the linked topic below.


There’re many reasons why location modes are different than SHM modes, but none of them is particularly good one.

The FAQ problem explains all, but lemme try:

  • SHM “mode” should never be called “mode”. I don’t even like calling it “SHM State”, since “state” could imply knowing whether or not an undismissed alarm currently exists. So I call it “SHM Armed Status”. SHM Armed Status is supposed to only be used by the SHM Solution SmartApp… i.e., not by arbitrary SmartApps or CoRE.

  • Location Mode (generally just called “Mode”) pre-dates SHM by quite a lot. Mode can be used by any SmartApp to affect it’s operations. In fact, if a SmartApp is using only a single preferences page, the option to have the SmartApp restricted to certain Modes automatically appears. It turns out that SmartApps can also read the “SHM Armed Status” – but that API call is unofficial and could be deprecated or disabled by SmartThings at any time. For that reason, it may be a good idea to have your Routines set both to a similar value. However, that wastes the potential value of using Mode for a whole lot of other purposes (e.g., instead of just “away, home, night”, you could have “vacation, test, pause, work-at-home, economy, … etc.”.

  • Though there are better SmartApps for scenes now, “Mode” can be considered a “whole home scene”. The distinct concept of a scene is, unfortunately, not built into SmartThings, so that’s why Mode was used by some customers for this purpose. For pure SmartThings (no added SmartApps), Routines and/or Smart Lighting are closer approximations of “scenes”.


If i Lock/Arme my home with SHM. I want to trigger Away routine (turn off light and radiator).
Using the SHM Arme on the dashbord there is no option to select a routine.

Or is ther a smarter way?

Use a Routine

  • A Routine can both set SHM and Mode.
  • Routines can be executed pretty easily from the Automation/Routine page, Android Widget, or real or virtual Switch.

Other way around. You run a routine to arm SHM and perform those other actions you want to do.


And if you use a routine, you can set it up as a widget which can be even faster to get to than the SmartThings mobile app dashboard. :sunglasses:


There may very well be good reasons for the notion of “modes” and “SHM” where each is distinct from the other.

Thank you guys for taking the time to explain it ! :smile:

But here’s the thing… if this is hard to grasp for people that will bother to find the SmartThings forum, people who might even know that “groovy” is something other than an adjective to describe 70’s furniture, there is NO CHANCE in hell that “Joe Public” is going to understand these nuances while fiddling with the SmartThings app on their phone!

The language for this stuff needs to be better and there needs to be more clear cues within the app itself. That said, its a very difficult thing to do. I hope that SmartThings can figure it out someday. Until then, it will remain a very niche geeky project thing (that fine for me and most of us here, I guess).


I’m tempted to spin off another Topic to express support for and discuss this challenge, because I totally agree, yet I am pretty much ignorant as to how the “average SmartThings consumer” understands (or doesn’t understand…) the product.

The problem is that Community members are least likely to be representative of “average consumers” and therefore such discussions go nowhere.

We survey ActionTiles users and it is painfully obvious that we are completely unable to speak the same language as some of them. We want to learn too.


That’s the problem with the entire ST structure. ST hub was pushed out (& still is) and advertised a as plug & play ready home solution to easy automation control. It’s is far from being that easy. Most people will get frustrated and trash it. Only the people that know how to code or the people that visit this forum will get more use out of it. The community developers here have done more work creating better & more useful apps than ST has for ST. ST is concerned about generating revenue. A new hub sale (not to mention all the other hardware they are pushing) is more profile than an app to turn on a light at 3AM when the dog needs out.


What I’d like to know is, how did you finally get those two routines to work?

I had to re-add my phone as a “presence sensor”, but that seems to be working now. (Now I get “arrived” and “left home” notifications.) “I’m back!” is triggering when I come home, but that’s kinda pointless, as “Goodbye” never triggers. It’s supposed to trigger when “Everyone Leaves”, but it doesn’t. I’ve deleted the “Goodbye” routine and re-added it, but it didn’t help.

It worked for a while for me and then stopped working. I’ve resigned myself to “manually” arming/disarming the system.

If I ever get the time to sit down and take a close look at it again and review all the non-intuitive badly constructed UI, I might try to troubleshoot the wonky thing to make it work.

The programmability of smarthings is really disappointing.

OK, I figured out why it had stopped working. I got a new phone and had to reinstall the smarthings app. When setting up the routines for “Goodbye” and “I’m Back”, I had neglected to fill-in the sections for “Automatically perform ‘GoodBye!’ when…”

When you first set it up, it just says “Everyone Leaves”. And that leads me to believe that the app has just tallied up all the people whose phones are presence sensors and that it will, by default, perform the GoodBye action when all of them are no longer present.

Well, that was not the case. I had to go in and explicitly select all the people to which this routine will apply. That’s inconsistent with the notion “Everyone Leaves” which had been set as the default.

Not sure if this is because I got a new phone. Could it be that the routine still had my old phone as the presence sensor even though my new phone had been added as my presence sensor? Who knows, I don’t care to find out.

Again, it seems to me that smartthings “works” but that the UI fails to provide reasonable cues about how the system is configured. That’s just not good for a consumer app.