Presences Reporting state Miles from Reality

Ok, so there has been a lot of talk about Presences failing such as reporting Home state when we are actually miles away from home. For instance, yesterday ST reported I arrived Home but I was 30 miles away. Ten minutes later I was Away but shortly afterwards arrived Home. NOT!!! These error repeated several times throughout the day.

For those who experienced this problem, most, if not all, assume these problems are ST related. Lately, I am convinced it has nothing to do with ST at all and suspect the problem lies with latest Android FW. My reasoning being, Life360 app reports home and away the exact same times as my ST presences sensors.

I would like to survey the membership and hear from those having the same problem what mobile you aree using. What are your presence sensors?

In my case, I am using Samsung S6 running Android 6.0.1
My presence sensors are this mobile as well as Life360 (Connect)

Samsung Galaxy S5 Verizon running Android v6.01 with the June security patch. Personally, I think my version still has the memory leak.

Anyway, my phone has been pretty much Rock rock solid for the last couple years. I also run life 360 as a backup and have it “baked” into most of my rules with the ST phone presence.

Lately, I have noticed that Smartthings is wrong and Life 360 is accurate. Last night at 1:30 am my breezeway light came on. It’s because I had left and come back. Life 360 never reported this “trip”. I then left again. I couldn’t get myself home by opening the app or maps so I removed myself from all the apps and reinstalled my phone. I then preceded to watch myself leave 2 more times while life 360 did not record these additional trips. I think there is something wonky with the latest Verizon June updates and ST. All permissions are good and I use high accuracy with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth always enabled. I just switched the few instances where I was relying only on ST to rely on Life 360.

Personally, I think most presence issues are related to hardware/android/ST combination as each user is different. We are all sitting in houses, some with metal roofs or multi stories, relying on a Geofence that can’t see a single GPS satellite. Personally, I am amazed it works as well as it does. I really don’t think ST is to blame, I think we are pushing the technology at its edge. We could use our Wi-Fi to say we are home but if that reboots or stops then the house thinks you left, alarms get triggered, etc. I personally have more Wi-Fi issues then Geofence issues but that’s my ISP’s router issue and a whole other issue. At least with 2 of us here, if one of us “leaves” the other is home so no real harm done. I know, others have more issues with the Geofence.

With that said, I am probably all wrong and am waiting for someone who actually understands this stuff to correct me. :wink:


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I had issues for the past two days. My phone location was working, meaning I could set reminders to pop up when I got home and they worked correctly. SmartThings showed me away for 2 full days even though I was coming and going. Finally deleted and re-added my phone as a presence sensor and it started working again. Motorola Droid Turbo 2, Android 6.0

It could be either or both of the issues. That is, it could be the way your phone detects your presence, in which case it would impact anything using your phone as a presence indicator, including life 360 and IFTTT presence. It could be something specific to SmartThings. Or it could be a combination of these.

For example, if you move and take your router with you, it will typically take your phone service provider couple of weeks before it knows that your home address has changed. Nothing to do with SmartThings. So for a couple of weeks, everything that you do that uses Geopresence based on your home router will be off.

Some people live in an apartment (this is typically a big city problem) which is exactly equidistant from three different cell towers. This can completely throw off your presence. And there isn’t really anything you can do about it. Then once you get to the office, where you are closer to one cell tower than the others, everything will work fine again.

These issues all have to do with how do your presence is calculated by phones. It’s not all GPS, because as was already noted, GPS can’t find you inside a building.

Instead, there is a Geopresence algorithm (it varies slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer) which takes into account the last cell tower that your phone connected to and uses a database with those street addresses as one input into your location calculation.

If there’s only one cell tower near where you are, no problem. Your location will be identified pretty cleanly.

But if there are multiple cell towers, your phone may connect to first one and then to another and that can cause your location to look like you moved by a mile or more even when you didn’t.

So the location calculation starts with GPS, but that can only work when you’re outdoors, and it’s expensive in terms of battery life to use it continuously. So they throw in cell tower location and use the database look up. But that can get thrown off by the fact that your phone might connect to different cell towers when you yourself haven’t physically moved . So then they throw in connection to your own home router, which can help with precision a lot, but gets thrown off completely if you physically move the router to a new building. At least for a while.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of trying different services until you find the one whose Geopresence algorithm happens to fit the place where you spend most of your time.

Also, it should be noted that just having different features turned on or off on your phone, and how you allow cellular data to be used, and also affect the Geopresence calculation. This is sometimes the reason why one person’s phone works fine for Geopresence and another person in the same household finds that it doesn’t work for them.

More discussion here:


Great explanation JD. I knew someone more intelligent than I would be able to explain it better. Mine just started after this last android update so I will eventually go in and play with the settings if it persists. I live near a military training base. Who knows, maybe some top secret government activity is to blame or even the weather. Lol.

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I’m convinced this actually has to do with Samsung’s aggressive task-killing which the S6 is basically notorious for. Read up in /r/Android. Samsung devices still to this day cannot hold as many apps in memory as a stock Android device, even when given more RAM.


Running a stock Nexus 5x, and two onePlus Ones with Cyanogenmod, and my presence has been rock solid. Both these devices are on the purer side of android.

The Galaxy s6 had notorious RAM management killing all shorts of background processes.

Most of Android geolocation does not use GPS, its mostly cell tower and wifi networks based.


I’m using an iPhone 5s as a my presence sensor. As is my wife. I’ve had no issues with my presence since I’ve started using SmartThings in November. Of 2015

Yes, mine setup (Mobile and Life360connect as Presences sensors) has also been rock solid for at least 1 year or maybe two. But, like yourself, problems started lately. One major difference is that my setup have never set me as being “Away” when actually I am at home. Only problem I have had is ST (and Life360 App) reporting that I am at home when in fact I am miles away.

When I look at the History log within the Life360 app I see some strange happenings. One location point being 40 miles from home followed by another location a few minutes later, 2-3 BLOCKS from my home. The latter falls just inside my geofence circle. A few minutes later, the next location is 40+ miles from home.

Similar phones and sensors but opposite problems. At least 360 hasn’t bombed on me yet. Fingers crossed. I wonder why your bouncing around the state.

What are your Android Location Setting??

Is the location it’s bouncing to near anything meaningful to you? Like your place of work or a friend’s house or anything?

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High accuracy, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi always on. Everything is always on.

If there are settings to suppress doze in marshmallow for ST I would like to know about them.

I can live with the battery life as am almost always near an outlet.


Intermittent days of Life360 showing GF arriving home while still at work on S7 phone. Same with child with Galaxy Lite phone leaving school and then returning within seconds.

I don’t use the ST presence due to prior issues.

Settings > battery > battery optimization (top right menu) > all apps > remove battery optimization for ST.

Because of how Google polls location through Google Play Services and apps poll through that, I doubt this will have a noticeable effect on location services, but regardless that is the pathway to achieve what you asked for!

Thank you. I’m still looking for things in Marshmallow. This is something I had not located yet.


When it happens, it bounces from my actual location to or near my home. Precisely, within my geocicle I set in Life360 and/or ST app.

I am suspicious that this problem may occur when I lose the Cell network. The problem has occurred more than once in one particular place about 25 miles from home. The same place I often lose my cell network. I develope a Tasker profile to log when I lose cell as well as and app to log time/date when my sensors report me home. If the two match I will know for sure. Until then… its all speculation it seems

Yes, if you lose your cell network, geopresence will typically use your last known location.

Life360 has been great for me, but then again, I’m one of the loners using Windows 10 Mobile. Now that Life360 has announced that they are removing support from Windows, I’m going to be up a creek since the Smartthings app has been basically worthless with regard to presence (my wife has been ‘home’ for about the past 1-2 months on her windows phone which isn’t running life360…)