Phone as Presence Sensor w/o Access to SmartThings App

So far, I think IFTTT might be the easiest thing so far. If I install IFTTT on his phone, how does that connect with my SmartThings to turn on a virtual presence sensor (I already use several virtual sensors). Thanks.

There’s a smartthings IFTTT channel, so You could just use that, but then he would have access to your other smartthings devices as well.

So another option again is to use an intermediary.

  1. Download the Ifttt app to his phone and set up a free account.

  2. Get a Meross Smart plug or any other Wi-Fi smart plug that has an Ifttt channel and smartthings integration.

  1. create an Ifttt applet using “location“ as the IF and turning on that smart plug as the “that.“


You will need two applets. One to turn it on when he arrives and one to turn it off when he leaves.

  1. add the Wi-Fi plug to your smartthings account.

  2. now you can use that plug being turned on as a proxy for your stepson being home. Or you can create a virtual presence sensor and activate it when the smart plug turns on. Your choice.


Now you can see his presence in the smartthings app, but he will have no access to the ST app or your other devices. :sunglasses:

Great. Thanks!

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Just to clarify, using the method I use, you don’t need an app on his phone, but you do need a compatible router (a quick search on IFTTT shows Google Wifi, Asus, TP-Link and some D-Link routers as compatible). You would create an IFTTT account and add your router and your ST account to them. Then create two applets:

  1. If “stepson’s iPhone” (or whatever his device name shows up as on your router) connects to my router, turn on “Virtual Presence Sensor”

  2. If “stepson’s iPhone” disconnects from my router, turn off “Virtual Presence Sensor”

Because you’re linking your router, your ST and your IFTTT, he won’t have access to any of it, and won’t need to do anything on his end. In theory you could even do this without telling him, but, you know, ethics and all that…

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Ok, I’ll check this out. I have an Orbi router, so I’ll see if it’s compatible. Thanks.

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I think I have figured out yet another way to handle this. Life360 sends a notification to my phone whenever a family member leaves or enters the Home geofence. I can act on this using Tasker & AutoNotification. When I get the notice, I can have Tasker send an HTTP request to SharpTools to turn on a virtual switch for my family member. I can set up other SharpTools rules to do things depending upon whether or not the virtual switch is on or off. Neat. This way I don’t have to mess with my stepson’s phone.


By the way, I emailed Life360 to ask if they are going to do something about the loss of the Groovy connection between SmartThings & Life360. I was told that Life360 during the next year (however long that means) is revamping/restarting its connection to IFTTT, which will be the way that Life360 can connect to SmartThings. As I understand it, Life360 used to have an IFTTT channel, but it went away in December 2020. I gather that this channel will be resurrected. So, some hope for those who use Life360 as a presence sensor in SmartThings.


interesting these methods, certainly useful for your situation where you want to monitor someone who does not use Smartthings.
I was thinking of a different method, to not have to use Tasker, I am afraid of further battery consumption in my phone, and possible malfunctions if my phone has no range when I should receive the notification.

I was thinking of a solution with google home, has anyone tried?
I notice that google home can track location and change from home to away from home. I could try to operate virtual buttons. Hope it can monitor 2 different phones at the same time. I’ll try and I’ll let you know. I had tried it in the past, but with no good news. I hope it gets better now

edit after same hours:
sadness … the change from “home” to Away from home "and vice versa, it didn’t work automatically neither with me nor with my wife, so pretend I didn’t say anything, maybe the geolocation of Google Home sucks more than that of Smartthings

I haven’t tried Google Home as presence sensor. I don’t see our phones listed on it anywhere. I know have two presence virtual switches that appear, but I have to trigger those manually through Tasker or SharpTools. Not sure where I would add the phones as sensors to Google Home, but if you figure it out, let us know. Thanks.

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I do have Google Home providing mobile presence on one phone that has had SmartThings removed (it is far too big for something only needed for presence). I use a separate Home where only that one user contributes to presence sensing for Home/Away and the only Google speaker that contributes to presence (a recent addition, at least in the UK) is one only the one user normally uses. So Home/Away should represent that user’s presence. The Home/Away routines activate/deactivate a virtual switch/presence sensor imported from SmartThings.

It isn’t perfect but it is better than nothing. I just have to keep an eye on things to make sure the presence is reported correctly and correct it as required.


I use Google Home in a very similar manner, one custom home per user so can be monitored separately, although you can just add all users to a single home and when anyone is home it is home and when all are away it is away. I have found its presence sensing far more reliable than SmartThings ever was. Definitely not perfect, but much better.

What is the functionality you were talking about with the speaker? That’s not something I’ve heard of here in the US.

I find that it often selects Away when just a single user leaves, though it is possible it thinks the other users are already Away for that Home (though they are Home in their custom Home). Indeed it even changes to Away when no user has gone anywhere.

As for the speaker thing …

It appeared in Presence Sensing for some users on some phones a few weeks back.

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I’m interested in this multi-case thing for multi users, but I didn’t understand how you handle it and how this one you use it on SmartThings.

I also have this new function, I understood that if someone says “ok google” to a speaker then he understands that someone is actually at home, did I understand correctly? :thinking: It seems a bit stupid to me though… If you use the location of phones, why use this method too? :thinking:

Google has long used Nest devices (none of which I have) in determining presence so I guess this just adds to the mix. It does allow for not everyone having a phone. I do find Google unreliable at determining arrival - it can take an hour or so sometimes, if it works at all - so I welcome it, if it does what it seems to suggest.

Google do have a rather different approach than SmartThings. Google Home tries to determine if the Home is occupied or not, regardless of whether it is supposed to be. SmartThings is more about whether specific devices are present in a Location or not and it is left to the users to decide if that means anything using automations.

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We have 4 people in our house and each has an Android phone and a Google account. Each family member sets up a Home in the Google Home app, turns on phone based presence sensing in the GH app, (you can have multiple) and links it to SmartThings. Then in ST I have a virtual switch for each person. In the GH app for each individual home they tie the built in Home/Away routine to turning that virtual switch in and off. I then have a few routines in ST looking for various combos of those switches being on and off and executing different things, like setting the STHM setting or locking doors and stuff.


Just to belatedly follow this up …

As ever with Google Home, this doesn’t really work quite as well as it should. The Google Home Speaker will consider any overheard ‘OK Google’ as a command for the purposes of presence sensing, when common sense suggests it ought to only do it for voiced matched users and for commands it handles itself.


How did you enable presence sensing in GH? I don’t seem to have that option under settings. Phone location is set to always allow but I don’t have the option for setting location based routines. Google Home app is up to date.

Go into settings of the home (not that app) and the should be a menu called presence sensing. In there you should be able to enable phone based sensing and which phones.