Modes: i feel like an idiot


I know what modes are and how to change it from one mode to another… but how do i customize the mode to do stuff. for example if i come home i can set the mode to home, but how do i set the thermostat to 65 every time the mode changes to Home. i know i can set it to change in routines but how do i make it happen in modes?


For this you want a Routine. They are in the app under the Automations tab.
Routines will run either at pre-determined times or when specific events occur (such as your mode changing from Away to Home).

The mode itself doesn’t do anything. Smartthings calls it a “behavioral filter,” and the idea is that you have your automations notice what the mode is and then do something because of that.

Routines, the official smartlighting feature, many of the Smartapps in the marketplace section of the mobile app, core, and other smartapps will all pay attention to mode if you tell them to in the setup wizard for that automation.

But the mode itself doesn’t create any actions. There has to be an automation to do that.


sure, i get that, but what is the purpose of modes if they don’t do anything?

per ST page:

What Modes do

Think of Modes as behavior filters for your home. You can change how devices act or behave in your home based on the Mode you are in. For instance:

When in Home Mode, I want a motion sensor to turn on a light.
When in Away Mode, I want the same motion sensor to send me a text message as a security warning and to turn on an alarm.
When in Night Mode, I want that motion sensor to turn on a light and send me a text message.

how do i make those things happen? i want to turn on all my lights when modes are set to home, but why have that option if i have to do it in routines?

It’s so you can setup apps in such a way that they act only when in a defined mode.

Example: turn lights on when there is motion but only if mode matches home

Check out the post from @JDRoberts for info on how to use the modes to filter what occurs when.

Use a Routine, SmartThings’ own Smart Lighting app or custom apps like CoRE to make that happen.

i liked your answer but i don’t like it at the same time. Thanks!

I’m trying to set my temp to X degrees when someone arrives, but then if they feel cold/hot and make edits while they are home and someone else arrives i dont want the temp to changes again.

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In your welcome home routine, you can set under ‘perform this when someone arrives’ and then use the filter to only allow if mode matches ‘away’

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You specify the action in the automation, but you tell the automationwhich mode to attention to. Otherwise the automation would be doing things all day long.

My usual example is of a motion sensor in the bedroom at my house.

At 7 AM every morning, a routine changes the mode to “daytime.”

When the mode is daytime, I don’t have any automations set up that pay attention to that motion sensor, so nothing happens if it triggers.

At sunset every evening, a routine changes the mode to “evening.”

Then I have a smart lighting automation set up so that if the mode is evening and the motion sensor detects activity, the overhead light in the bedroom comes on.

When I go to bed, I manually run another routine that changes the mode to “asleep.” My schedule is really variable, I might go to sleep at 7 PM, I might go to sleep at two in the morning.

Then I have yet another smart lighting automation set up, so that if the mode is “asleep” and the motion sensor detects activity, instead of having the overhead light in the bedroom come on, a soft night light on the wall comes on.

So the mode is determining which smartlighting automations run. Same motion sensor. Same overhead light. But which smart lighting automations run depend on which Mode is set.

Take a look at the examples in the official support base, they might help also:

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I should also say that this kind of logic is the least obvious when you are creating a new routine, because the mode filter is “do not run if automatically in this mode” instead of being “run in this mode.” They changed that about a year ago, I’m still not sure why, because it can be really confusing. That means if you are creating a routine to set the temperature you would have to list all of the modes that you don’t want that routine to run in.

For smart lighting it’s much more straightforward, because you list the mode that you do want it to run in.

I think most of the other thermostat smartapps do let you specify the mode it should run in rather than the mode that it shouldn’t. But it does just vary from automation to automation.

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An example with two modes and two routines and two presence sensors:
Presence sensors: husband, wife
Modes: Home, Away


  • Set mode to Away
  • Set thermostat to 60
  • Run automatically when both husband and wife leaves

“I’m back”

  • Set mode to Home
  • Set thermostat to 65
  • Run automatically when either husband or wife arrives

That’s all you need. When both presence sensors leave (it does not have to be at the same time), the house runs the “Goodbye” routine. When the first person arrives, the house runs “I’m back”. It will not run it again when the second person arrives, so any changes made by the first person, will not be changed.

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I got it! was trying to roll unlocking doors and temperature changes all in one routine. i think piecemealing is the best approach.