Phone as Presence Sensor w/o Access to SmartThings App

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.


A question for those who use this method:
Did you have to add your SmartThings account to your family’s Google home app? I did, otherwise the virtual button associated with the presence of that person, was not seen in the second house of the member in question.

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Good question. I see I rather glossed over that important detail.

I maintain a separate Google+Samsung account for admin purposes for each physical site I have. In SmartThings that account owns all of the Locations at that site. In Google it is a member of all the Homes at that site and is the account that has Google Assistant linked to SmartThings.

I think there is a limit of five Homes per account. I have one for admin purposes to hide stuff that the other users don’t need to have access to, one for the shared Home, and fortunately I can manage with the three individual Homes.

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Way back in the day I just had my SmartThings account and that’s what I linked each one of my family’s Google accounts to. Then all the sudden Google routines started to go haywire and not work for anybody but me, so I had each family member set up a smart things account which fixed it.

That was before Google Home had presence sensing. Since everybody has a smartthings account now, I just started by having each person link it to their account which also makes it linked to their personal “presence” home.

@farlicimo and @Diegocampy
Thanks for the info and screen shot. I don’t to have that option for some reason so will have to find an alternative.

If you go to create a routine, do you see home and away options? I think I remember that’s actually what originally set it up and maybe until you try that the menu is hidden? Kind of a long shot, but seems weird the menu isn’t there. Oh wait, are you on Android or iOS? I’m using Android.

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That did it. I had to create a nest wifi and can now use presence sensing! Thank you

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How’s this working out for you, a few months into it?

Can you speak to the potential battery consumption issue someone mentioned?

Also, when I contacted Life360 last week about their integration with SmartThings, with Groovy sunsetting, the response from Jennifer V. (Life360) was:

“Unfortunately, Life360 does not support these integrations and currently, there are no plans to bring back this feature.”

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It’s working fine. I don’t think there’s any battery hit to speak of, but I don’t really test it. My phone is plugged in a lot of the time. When the notifications come in, a switch is set which triggers a rule in SharpTools. I’m also still using the Life360 integration with SmartThings for now as well as it still works. I’m gonna have to switch to using my phone presence in SmartThings when Life360 no longer works because Life360 doesn’t send a notice to me when I come home.