New app: Presence

Ive been trying to use my phone, or actually 2 phones as a presence sensor in the new app. My old phone was added in the old app and worked fine.

Now i have 2 new phones, which i want to use as presence sensors.
Both phones are added to the smartthings app and seem to be working fine. The ‘smartthings find’ plugin also shows the correct location of my phone.

I just cant seem to use the presence for any automation. Firstly ofcourse i tried the built in automations to use presence to switch on or off a simulated switch… its not working.
I tried changing the device type from ‘placeholder’ to ‘mobile presence’ as it was in the old app… also not working. Tried to use the webcore device type and again no luck.
Ive tried all the regular trouble shooting things like restart, remove and add again etc.

The ‘new’ app is already 1 or 2 years old? And presence is a built in function which should work automatically. Am i missing something or doing something wrong?

Is this working for anyone else or is this thing broken?

I found it non-reliable. I use life 360 with no issues.

non-reliable meaning it does work for you? It just works poorly?
Because to me it does not work at all. I have my new phone added since 3 days and never got a single presence update.

correct. works sometimes and not all times.

If you are using just presence, try to add another trigger. e.g. if X & Y are present and motion detected at Z then…

there are advanced options in presence which may require to be added to automation.

The main thing i use presence for is to turn on the lights when luminosity goes below X while im present. If at that point i also have walk near a motion detector i might aswell turn the lights on manually.

I think its unbelievable how millions of new Samsung phones now get Smartthings as a standard app installed and after a year or so the presence still doesnt work on those same phones. But the option is there and gives no errors.
It seems so straight forward. Add a phone. Add an automation: if presence changes to ‘present’ than flip a switch.

Dont do that, its supposed to be placeholder as it works completely differently than it used to. Doing so will break it and you may need to disable presence, delete the presence device and start over setting up the presence on your phone

1 Like

For me the presence works well in the new app but only after I basically deleted them all and rebuilt.

I had to delete the ‘old’ app presence sensors and then get all family members to sign out of the old app and remove it. Then signed everyone into the new app, setup each app to track location which created new presence sensors, then I updated all of the automations/scenes that used them using the new app and targeting the new presence devices.

I had similar issues and found the setting the location mode as a prerequisite in the automation is what caused the instabilities for me.

The way I handle light and dark automations now is with 4 automations and Smart Lighting smart app.

I have 4 locations modes
Home (Dark)
Home (Light)

Automation 1:
Everyone leaves home
Location mode is Home, Home (Light), Home (Dark)
Set location mode to Away
Turn all plugs/lights off
Turn on Security (STHM)
Notify me

Automation 2
Anyone is at home
Location Mode is Away
Set Location Mode to Home
Switch on select plugs, lights
Deactivite Security (STHM)
Notify me

Automation 3
Location Mode is Home, Home (Dark)
Light sensor luminance is >= 6000 Lux
Set Location Mode to Home (Light)

Automation 4
Location Mode is Home, Home (Light)
Light sensor luminance is <= 5999 Lux
Set Location Mode to Home (Dark)

Then in my Smart Lighting Smart App I set the automations to run only when Location Mode is Home (Dark)

I also do a load of other automations based on the (Home Light) and Away

I haven’t had much for issues with Presence using the new app but had an odd occurrence today.

Was sitting in the living room with my phone in my pocket when I got a notification from SmartThings that I was Away. As it happened I checked my Nest app. It, too, said I was Away.

Phone is a Pixel 2 and just got upgraded to Android 11 yesterday.

I opened Google maps on the phone and it was monetarily centered … somewhere … not my house. It almost immediately recentered on my house and I got the notification that I was Home. At the same time the Nest app changed to Home.

Can’t blame this on SmartThings! Wonkiness in Android 11 location hang??

Same here. I have quite a few automations that use presence as a trigger with a mode precondition. They are totally unreliable. The issue is 100% the automations as I can confirm via the IDE that presence is working just fine. Support ticket has been opened for weeks. They are beyond useless and essentially just ask the same questions over and over.

Agreed about support, I asked of them if it was possible to have ‘arrives’ and ‘leaves’ as well as the current ‘at’ or ‘not at’.

So certain automations only happen once (especially with the mode precondition being problematic)…
Their response was:

If everyone arrives and leaves home at the same time everyday I’m sure we wouldn’t even care about presence… But in the real world our families come and go at different times each day.

I may be completely wrong but I can’t see why this would be problematic as they say.


Hi. Just signed up for the community so apologies if this post is a bit late.
Been playing with home automation for about 18 months, luckily started using the new smartthings app (no migration issues) and soon discovered that without totally reliable presence sensing, home automation is a waste of time, so I’ve put a lot of time and effort into getting this “basic” to work as reliably as possible.
In my experience phone presence is great for exiting your home as you don’t care whether the lights and heating go off and home monitor turns on one minute or five minutes after you leave.
However, you dont want to be sitting on your drive waiting for the lights to come on and home monitor to turn off for five minutes when you arrive . This seems a trait with phone presence. Sometimes it works 20 yards before I pull onto my drive, other times, I waited and waited for up to five minutes. No good. Especially when it’s cold. !.
My work around was to buy some old Smartthings presence sensor key fobs (ebay as they’re not made any more).
I have an “either phone or fob” is present automation and bingo, works a dream. I get 100% reliability with this method. Pull up on the drive and if my phone hasn’t triggered already the fob does.
However as with all home automation device’s, nothing is perfect. The battery life is not good (although managable) in these little fobs and dont leave them in a cold car as youll get nuisance sensing.
Hope this is useful.

1 Like

I was using Webcore Presence sensor app was great to use until recently.

1 Like

Same here, it seems very delayed now… When i go outside it last up to 10-15 min to update presence sensor status