Removal of phone presence sensor!? How can I make the system recognise when one of us is at home

Hi everyone,

I can scarcely believe it, but it seems ST have removed the one, single feature I actually use our system for - to detect through the Android Presence “sensor” that one of the family is at home, and switch to Home/Away based on this. As it does so, it turns on a mains outlet switch which acts as the trigger for IFTT to turn on/off my Honeywell connected heating system.

Now it seems that the Classic app doesn’t report my phone as being present properly any more (worked fine till about a week ago) so I tried the new app. Having installed it and faffed through having to set my browser to default to Chrome to allow me to log in (sigh, that’s been reported for years), I now find that the new app… doesn’t include this single feature I use!!

Aside from being completely incredulous that they would remove such a useful feature, I’m now stuck.

Can anyone suggest how I can achieve this most simple of desired automations? Basically I just want it such that if my wife or I are within a geofenced area (around 2 miles of our house), or even just connected to the WiFi the hub is on, then it turns on a mains switch. If both of us have left, it turns it off.

All suggestions very much appreciated…


I’m using the Classic app and device presence with my Android is still working. I have found that ST’s Android presence sensor works, but lags sometimes. For an arrival sensor, this wasn’t satisfactory to me.

I added redundancy with IFTTT. I have found that IFTTT’s geofencing works perfectly sensing my arrival as expected. Use the geolocation function instead of the connecting to your router function, as an Android does not always immediately connect to the router when in range.

In my case, it’s just me for the presence sensor. Since there are two of you, you may need to get creative to reflect both yours and your wife’s presence. I think I’d probably do something with individual virtual switches, turning them on to indicate your presence.

Use the Classic App and enjoy the features that should be present in the New App.

Hi Bryan,
Thanks, I did consider this, but I can’t think how to create a suitable rule for “If ONE of us comes home, do this; if BOTH of us leave, do that”.
I’ve now managed to create an automation routine based around smart lighting, but using my outlet switch as a pretend lamp, and it looks like it might do what I need it to do. Need a few days to test it though!

@rontalley - thanks for the predictable non-useful answer. As I explained carefully, the Classic App has stopped updating the presence sensor information in the background, I think since the last Android security update?


Sorry, I didn’t read thoroughly. My phone dropped off after the last update.

Remove the phone and add it back in the Classic App. Be sure to take screenshots of the apps that are tied to it by going to the Apps Tab in the device tile. Then update those apps with the new device.

As far as rules, try using webCoRE. It is simple to use and offers way more options than SmartLight.

Hope that helps.

So I was thinking that you would create virtual switches, one for each person whose presence you need to track. You’d then design IFTTT applets, one each of you, that would turn those virtual switches on or off based upon whether or not you were home.

The next part I would do in webCore, but there may be an app equivalent in ST. At least this will give the logic:

Any one of the virtual switches turns on
Do something

BTW, if you do it in webCore, you can directly address actions on your Honeywell Thermostat, presuming that you have it hooked to ST. Also, if everyone using IFTTT can see the thermostat directly, you may not even need the virtual switches, although they’d come in handy for monitoring presence to do other things in ST.

Hi Ron,
Thanks, apologies for the slightly grumpy initial reply. It does recognise that the phone is present, but only when I go into the app itself. It’s as though it fails to run in the background, which it always used to do fine. I’ve checked in the Android battery saver settings and ST Classic is set as an exception.

Ron/Bryan, many thanks for the webCore suggestion. I did play around with writing some scripting stuff about 3 years ago but never really got into it after I got fed up with the clunky way of handling devices etc.

I don’t have my Honeywell system directly connected into SmartThings because historically there was no way to do it; hence using IFTTT which has proven remarkably reliable. I might see if I can make this work.

For now though, I’m going to see if my “smart lighting” rule, + IFTTT, gets me back to where I need to be.