Setting up Shortcut Groups in the Old Mobile App (Not Used After Sept. 2015)


I will leave this post up for a few more weeks to give everyone time to transition over to the new mobile app. But pretty much everything below this line will no longer apply once you do you have the new mobile app version.

Instead, see the “How to Group Lights” article in the community-created wiki.

:sunglasses: :bulb:

One of the most powerful features in the SmartThings mobile app is the use of Shortcut Groups. There are literally dozens of built in features for scheduling groups, from “turn off after X minutes” to “turn on when someone arrives home.”

But this feature is pretty hard to find until you’ve set up your first shortcut group! So here are the instructions.

Adding Your First Lights Group

  1. open the app, and go to the Dashboard. You’ll always see a “Things” tile. The other tiles appear depending on how you’ve set up your network.

If you’re just starting, you will not see the “Lights & Switches” tile which is often referenced in the forums. That’s where the great scheduler stuff is. So how do you get it to appear?

If you just click on THINGS, you’ll see the individual lights you’ve added, but no way to group them. :disappointed:

Instead on the main dashboard screen (the image above) click on the plus sign. This will open “smart setup.”

  1. now you will see the first Smart Setup screen, for Things.

Although it will list “Light bulbs” and “Switches,” this still isn’t where you set up Groups!

Instead, swipe right at the top of the screen until you see the Smart Setup screen for “Actions”

Then choose “Lighting.”

  1. Now you will see some scheduler options. Scroll down until you see “Add shortcuts.” This is where you will define a group.

Choose “add shortcuts” to open the “Lights and Switches” create a group screen.

3a) Choose “Add a new light switch.” (This really means “add a new lightswitch group.”)

3b) then give the shortcut a name. Note that you can have a “group” of only one light if you want.

My group in the example is called “Porch Lights.”

  1. after you name it, tap NEXT at the top right and you will see the group details set up page.

4a) Choose “Choose devices,” then select the lights you want to add to this group. I am adding two lights, Porch Light and Dimmer J.

4b) change the icon if you like.

Now the detail setup page will list all the devices you’ve added to this group and show you the group icon you selected.

I added two devices: “Dimmer J” and “Porch Light.”

Click NEXT at the top of the page to get to the “Customize and Control”" page for your new group.

  1. now you see the “Customize and Control” smart setup screen for your group, including a whole set of scheduler actions you could use for this group!

Just as an example, I will set up Porch Lights to turn on at sunset.

  1. When you finish, you will be taken to a Tips screen. Make sure you tap DONE at the top right to save your schedule.

Then tap DONE on the top of the Configure screen to save the Group you just created.

  1. From now on as long as you have at least one shortcut group, the “Lights and Switches” tile will appear on your Dashboard.

  1. and if you tap on “Lights and Switches,” you will see the shortcuts for the groups you’ve added. These just let you toggle the group on or off quickly.

Making Changes to an Existing Group/Shortcut

  1. from the Dashboard, Choose “Lights and Switches.”

Although there is no gear on each icon, there is a gear at the top right of the screen.

Tap on that, and you will see a list of your shortcuts.

  1. You can now add a new group/shortcut if you want. Choose the “Add New Light/Switch” tile.

Note that this really means “Add a Whole New Group.”

If you want to add an additional light to an existing group, follow step 11) below.

  1. Or you can change one of your existing groups. Tap on the group you want to change, and you will open its “Customize and Control” screen. This works just like 5) and 6) above for the first group you added.

At the bottom of the Customize and Control screen below the scheduling options are the options to Edit the group’s name or add/remove devices from the group.

  1. to delete a group altogether, use Uninstall at the very bottom of its Customize and Control screen from step 11).

Just be aware that if you delete your last group, you will also lose the “Lights and Switches” tile from the Dashboard, and you’ll have to go through the steps from 1) above to add your next group.

Starting from the Individual Device’s Tile on the Things Page

  1. caution: once a device is added to a shortcut group, that group will appear as a “smart app” on that individual device’s preferences screen. If you uninstall from there, results can be unpredictable for any devices remaining in the shortcut group.

If you just want to see which groups use this device, you can tap the individual device’s gear on the Dashboard THINGS page, then open its Smart Apps list to see all the group shortcuts that include it.

13a) tap the tiny gear icon on the device’s tile on the Dashboard Things page.

13b) tap the Smart Apps tile to see the list of shortcut groups and other smartapps that use this device. (“Centralite” is the device type the lamp I named “Dimmer J” is using.)

But if you want to make changes for the group, it’s better to do it from the gear on the Lights and Switches page with the procedure starting from 9) above.


Nice tutorial. Admittedly, there are a few things that are not very intuitive with ST. But there are a few hidden gems worth finding.

Thanks for this great tutorial.
Is it possible to select these groups from the SmartApp?
Currently I can only find a way to set actions on a per device rather than on group.

Encase you are confused about what I’m referring to when building an app; the following code is used to choose which devices you wish to control; I cant find how to select the group you’ve just created

    section("Turn these light on") {
        input "switch1", "capability.switch", title: "Turn on...", required: true, multiple: true

My understanding is that Hello Home Actions are available to a smartapp, but Shortcut Groups are not.

@slagle or one of the other expert coders can correct me if that’s wrong. :sunglasses:

Yep :smile:… For now.