Presence Device on WiFi only Android devices using Life360

I’m not sure if I have a very unique use case, but I wanted to share with the community how I got a presence device in my SmartThings list of devices that’s not a cellular phone or tablet.

So my use case is, I want my garage door opener to open whenever 1 of my vehicles arrives home. I first thought about buying a presence device and putting it in my car, but those only work once in range. I want the garage door to be open before I pull in the driveway.

One thing I do have already, is an old 2013 Nexus 7 Wifi tablet in my car. I essentially replaced the Head unit in my car with the tablet, and I primarily use it for streaming music and Google Maps / Waze. I attempted to add it as a presence device by installing the SmartThings app from the app store, but it gave me an error saying it wasn’t a supported device to be a presence device. I’m assuming this is because it is a Wifi only device, and doesn’t have a constant internet connection. It does have an internet connection when I’m in the car though, as I turn on my hotspot every time I get in.

That is a requirement for these Wifi devices, they will only work if they are connected to the wifi. Otherwise it has no way to update it’s location to SmartThings.

In order to get it added as a Presence Device, I had to install Life360 on the tablet. The app store gives basically the same error, saying the device isn’t compatible. So go on over to apkmirron, and download the apk install file from there for Life360. Create an account, and set a “Place” at your home location.

From the SmartThings app go to the add device screen. Select Manually add, then Sensors -> Presence Sensors -> Life360 Connect. Put in your Login credentials and select your place for your home.

There you have it, a working presence device for something that doesn’t have a cellular connection.

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Nice idea, and most certainly something for me to file under “possibilities to employ one day”.

However, why would you not just install Life360 on your cell phone & do the same thing? I’m assuming that, like the majority (if not all) of us, you have your cell phone with you when you leave in the car & arrive back… Your cell will also (in theory) be more accurate in the presence determination because it can use the cell + wi-fi to cross-reference (assisted) location.

[I suppose your idea has one added benefit - it does give you the flexibility to leave your phone at home when taking the car…]


I have my phone registered as a presence device with the ST app, but I have multiple cars. Only one of them gets to park in the garage, and I don’t want the garage to open everyone I come home. This way the tablet in my car is directly tired to the car.

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I’m testing this for the next week, based on this post.

UPDATE: no go. I don’t have a hotspot, my wifi only device is truly wifi-only. It does not pick up my home wifi soon enough to trigger.

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