SmartThings Community

Reliable Presence SmartApp


(Brian) #1

I am sure this exists somewhere, but I couldn’t find it.

I based this off of Everyone’s Presence SmartApp (or something like that), but this is different. That one is about group presence. This one is about making a single person’s presence more reliable.

I noticed that if presence fails, it usually sticks on or off. For instance, a fob battery dies. Or the app stops reporting for a spell. Well, if you add a second, or third or “n” presence sensor to the mix, the combination of them is MUCH more reliable if you look at events only. Meaning that if any presence device arrives, THAT is an event you can trust, set the virtual sensor to present. Same for departure. If any device leaves, set the virtual presence to departed. Sounds simple, and works well.


  1. Create a simulated presence sensor.
  2. Install this SmartApp:
  3. Choose the simulated sensor, and the presence sensors you want as inputs
  4. Point your routines and apps to the new more reliable simulated presence sensor and voila.

I’ve tested this for a couple of days, and it works well, even when someone’s phone presence is “sticky”. For instance, I have one of my family’s presence based on a fob in a backpack, and Life360. It is much less likely that both will fail at the same time. On mine I have the ST app, and Life360. Yes my phone is a single point of failure, but the apps are no longer single failure points. I don’t use a fob for myself yet. :smile:

Con: You might not notice a particular presence sensor is not working until all sensors fail because that’s sort of the point, but you might also never have a failure because the one “self fixes” as the wifi/phone solutions tend to do in my experience (or you finally get around to replacing the battery…).

Hope this is useful to someone.

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Giving it a try on the little lady’s iPhone, which has been randomly sporadic some of the time :joy:


Brian, this has been working flawlessly! We’ve had zero issues with presence since setting this up, thank you!


Well I had my first problem, and this is one I had with the standard iPhone presence device. She was on her phone this morning when she left, and neither the standard nor this special presence registered her as away. Ugh.

(Brian) #5

Are you using two devices as inputs per the instructions?

What is your second device/app?


I created a single Simulated Presence Sensor, installed the SmartApp and used her iPhone 6 as the input sensor. Now I see you say “… and the presence sensors”. I was a little confused while configuring the SmartApp.

Here’s my settings:



(Brian) #7

Two or more real sensors is what makes it more reliable.

Still working awesome, and has fixed a couple of issues for me.

(Herb Parsons) #8

Sorry for the noob question, but I really am just that. So, I installed this, and created a “group sensor” for myself (phone and 360). Do I need to install another instance of the app to have a second group sensor for my wife?

(Brian) #9

Yes. Ask away, lots of helpful people here, we do our best.

(Herb Parsons) #10

I installed this, and created a “group sensor” for myself (phone and 360). Do I need to install another instance of the app to have a second group sensor for my wife?

(David) #11

I have been using iOS devices for presence. They usually lock/unlock/close/open doors upon arrival and departure. I had two situations last night that i am trying to avoid.

  1. Wife arrived and was in the grange then in the back door before her presence was triggered. At that point the garage door opened again and the back door unlocked again. I had to manually close the door again.
  2. We left to go out to dinner and 3 block away we got the “Welcome Home” message that I have pushed on arrival. The garage door and back door were also unlocked.
    To me the root cause is our iOS presence.

@bridaus - Does your app resolve these situations?

(Rudi Prunzel) #12

Hi @Herb_Parsons. Yes you do need to install another instance of the app to control a second group of sensors.

(Brian) #13


Problem 1: Maybe. Problem is delayed presence. Could be fixed if you add an additional more reactive fob OR open your geofence up some more. Don’t need this app to do either of those things, but using the app with two MIGHT help because one would trigger sooner than the other (whichever wins) therefore opening garage door when it was already open which is not a problem.

Problem 2: Probably can’t solve this one: Something inspired this message. That something would fool the app because it thought you arrived home when you hadn’t.

My suggestion: Try out Life360 or a fob or both. Both have been more reliable than the ST app for me.

(David) #14

Do you have the ST fob? or a different one? I am thinking I might need a zigbee repeater in the garage if I go the Fob route…

(Brian) #15

ST fob. I find repeaters easy to do because they are great excuses to automate something else.

I have found the fobs to be very reactive, and have never failed for me except when I don’t replace the battery (the app helps with that).

They work great in backpacks, purses, and car door pockets.

(Rudi Prunzel) #16

Thanks @bridaus for this great app. Since I’ve started using this app I’m having consistent results on presence and now my ST Routines and SmartApps run as planned.

I’m currently using from 3 to 5 presence sensors to have reliable presence, depending on the device:

  • ST Mobile Presence (ST App runs on Android, IOS and Windows Phone)
  • Life360 presence (Life360 App runs on Android, IOS and Windows Phone)
  • ST Arrival sensor in some cases (Physical sensor)
  • IFTTT App (runs on Android and IOS) - recipe using Android location that triggers a Simulated Presence/Switch sensor when I leave or arrive at home
  • Netatmo Welcome camera IFTTT integration - recipe when a specific person arrives home triggers a Simulated Presence/Switch sensor

Hope this information helps if somebody is trying to use other presence sensors to get reliable presence on ST.

(David) #17

Thanks - I’ll add IFTTT and a ST fob to my setup.

I will also widen my geofence.

(David) #18

@bridaus -
How will the Simulated (combined) presence work if I separate the fob and the phone (go for a walk and leave the fob in the car)?

Phone will indicate away (since you’d have to pry it from my cold hands) and fob will indicate present - which will the simulated sensor listen to? Thanks!

(James) #19

It would be the last state the Virtual Presence Sensor was set to. It wouldn’t change because both haven’t left.

(David) #20

Thanks! That is my preference!