[OBSOLETE ] Virtual Presence Sensor

I created this for my needs, but decided I should share it as others may be interested in it.

With the new app I was not able to easily see who was present at my home, and who was away (with the classic app I was able to do this easily). With the new app, I was originally using a virtual switch with automations to track everyone’s mobile device, but I never did like how it appeared (I may be a little OCD…).

So, I created a new virtual presence sensor device handler:

Once installed in the groovy IDE, you can create a new device. To track a person’s mobile device, setup an automation to turn on or off the device with a mobile device being present or away. You should also be able to use it in webCore, but I have not tested it out.


I have tried that, but nothing shows in the automations. This is why I quickly created this device handler.
Something I didn’t do correctly or its not working with me.

Have you tried this lately? I can get the virtual presence device to show up when configuring the automation, but after I save it and then open it back up, those devices just disappear from the IF condition section.

This is a known problem that started happening in late January or early February. #2 on the “broken features“ list. It doesn’t matter which DTH you use, they are all broken in this way, although it may depend on which operating system your phone uses and on exactly how you are using it. :disappointed_relieved:

Broken Features [Feb 2021]

There are multiple discussion threads about it.

1 Like

old post and things have changed since then :slight_smile:


Bummer. My searching of other topics failed me (thrown off track by all the complaints from people using phones and not virtual devices).

Guess I’m still stuck with doing it in SmartLighting (which seems to randomly just stop working) or WebCore.

Thanks for the reply.

1 Like

The simulated presence sensor never worked for me, so this is why I created my own virtual presence sensor.

Just tried adding it to an automation and saving it. Then went back and it was still there for IF condition. It seems to be working for me.

(what doesn’t work reliably for me is presence from my wife’s and my mobile devices, which ST has still to solve. But I’ve now moved all my automations to Home Assistant and no more issues)

1 Like

I have no problem with virtual presence in Automations. I just tried it with two different handlers and it saves fine (Android).

One of the first things I tried was your DTH. It does not work for me either. I have iOS, though - maybe that’s part of the issue?

Ah, I see. It works if I use the on/off capability. If I switch it to presence capability, it vanishes once I save and re-open it.

1 Like

I’m not sure of all the details, but I know engineering has acknowledged there is a problem. It may only be certain operating systems or exactly how you’re using it, but it is an ongoing problem.

This is the sort of thing we really need to know more about to allow ourselves to avoid the problem.

The descriptions we’ve had of Automations and Rules make it sound like Automations are saved as Rules and then mapped back. That sounds like an unnecessary complication to me. Doing it one way sounds fiddly enough but at least it can be a one to one mapping. Backwards it can be many to one. Hopefully I’ve got the wrong end of the stick.

1 Like

The latest SmartThings app allows the use of “Member location” (i.e. phone’s presence or absence) as an IF condition in the “Add routine” menu without custom device handlers.

See the instructions here.


What does the location-mode DTH do? Is it necessary to install along with the virtual presence sensor handler?

You may want to check out an Edge Presence sensor at this point (if your hub supports Edge). Groovy device handlers will be phased out at some point in the future.

Thanks jkp. How exactly do I invoke the Edge Driver for the Presence Sensor? I afraid that I am not to versed in doing this.

As far as whether my hub supports Edge Drivers, based on reading the Q&A concerning the first rollout of drivers, it need to be above a specified firmware version. My firmware version is 000.042.00007

When I tap on the ellipsis on my hub, the dropdown menu lists “Driver”. When I click on “driver” it list several drivers which appear to be installed on my hub. Included in the list is Zigbee Presence Sensor, 5 other Zigbee sensors, 5 Z-Wave sensors, - Virtual Devices. It also states that my hub is registered to the channel “TAustin Shared Projects” and "SmartThings Drivers (Beta) is also listed.


No you don’t need the location-mode to use the virtual presence sensor.
What it does though, is give you a tile in SmartThings that shows what location state SmartThings is in, such as Away, Home, Sleep, etc.

Thank you Ralph. I appreciate the guidance and the quick response :slightly_smiling_face:

Hi there - You’ll need to go to the channel invite for my channel (which sounds like you are already enrolled in) and chose to install the Virtual Devices V2 driver to your hub. It may take a little time to get installed, but once it is, the next time you perform an Add-device / Scan nearby devices from your mobile app, you’ll get a new device added in your ‘No room assigned’ room called vEdge Creator. You can then use this new creator device to create whatever types of virtual devices you are interested in.

1 Like

I just tried installing Virtual Devices V2 and I got an error: Request failed with status code 400.

Any ideas?