Smartphone as presence only

Is there a way to accomplish this at the moment? Add a users smartphone as presence without access to all Things?

No not yet, if you want to do presence with out full access you have to buy a key fob.

It’s sketchy, but you can do it, just not natively within the ST app itself.

I believe you can set up SharpTools and Tasker, and authorize the installation to have access only to a simulated precense device. People wouldn’t be able to change this and use additional functionality, because they would need to re-authorize SharpTools with your credentials if they want access to any other devices.

Anyway… You might be able to set it up so that when you’re in a geofence, you set the simulated presence device to “present” then set it back to “absent” when it leaves. You could get decent resolution and battery usage if you tie it with AutoLocation for Tasker.

This is what I’m using for presence myself, only that I have the SharpTools installation permissioned for a bunch of devices.

I don’t see a reason why this wouldn’t work, but I would check with @joshua_lyon just in case.


Thanks. I actually have the simulated presence on my phone but I didn’t feel like messing with the other members of the household’s phones if I can do it a simpler way with the native app.

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That’s the bad thing about the approach. You would have to do more than just getting them to install the ST app, you have a whole host of things to do.

I wish ST did offer a permissions system though, so you could create sub-accounts for people and allow them to control and/or view only a few devices.

Nudging my way in here with the usual comment: SmartTiles lets you generate 5 distinct browser based dashboards, each with a unique set of Tiles (view and/or control) and a unique URL which you can distribute to specific people. No support for things like Virtual Presence or configuration of SmartApps, etc., but not bad option for the basics… no?

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I think it’s a start, but of course then I’m going to complain about how it’s something that the community came up with rather than something that was baked into the platform… :smile:

But that complaint gets no respect on the Community forum. If you want a platform where every feature you want is “baked in” then… (a) you’ve got several closed platform choices where no outside cooks are allowed, and (b) none of them are comparable “as a whole” (price / devices supported / …).

If a you want are two or three specific features, “baked into a product”, then you may find such a product. That is not SmartThings’s business model… or not at the moment, and given the choice, there’s a substantial number of people here who prefer openness vs. locked-down enough to abandon SmartThings if their strategy shifts.

Maybe I’m dense, but I don’t see any reason why that feature – or any one of several other improvements – would warrant ST to have a more locked down structure, or why it would require such.

When I was doing PERL development for MisterHouse this type of thing – having roles and multiple users – was part of the core functionality of the application, and this was open source stuff maybe 15 years ago. A company that doesn’t see the potential requirement of having role assignment for individual users when it comes to home automation is just short-sighted.

Don’t get me wrong, it is extremely good that ST has adopted the openness model that they have, and that the community has been able to improve upon the platform in some ways by adding functionality to it, but IMO that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have actually considered some of that functionality themselves and implemented it.

Having multiple dashboards with SmartTiles and all that jazz is nice, but it’s a workaround any way you look at it. I should be able to grab a cheap tablet and install the app, log in with my son’s account and he has access to the lights in his room and that’s it, and not to open the garage door or disarm the alarm system.

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Correct … this is a feature that SmartThings has intended to offer from the very inception of the Platform over 3 years ago.

You’re not “dense” … neither is SmartThings. They know what the fundamental built-in features of their product should be.

They are just very, very, very, … slow at getting to what many people could reasonably conclude are fundamental features that should be “baked-in”.

Yet their priorities and resourcing their priorities is completely outside our control. What is in our control, is some portion of the API that lets us build some desirable functionality while we are waiting … endlessly … for SmartThings to getting around to it.

I use life 360 to accomplish this, and it is very reliable as long as you do not loose the cell phone or leave it unpowered.


I think that we’re all sort of in the same boat that the original iPhone owners were.

The product was great - compared to the other offerings - but it was terribly handicapped and lacked some very basic features that a lot of people wanted for a very long time. It took at least 2-3 iterations before you had multitasking, MMS, basic copy & paste, 3G, etc. But people lived with it because quite frankly it was “good enough” and the alternatives were pretty awful.

I think personally I’m in the same boat with ST right now. It offers a “good enough” amount of features and I’m willing to overlook the obvious shortcomings, but only because the alternatives are not that great. I don’t think it would take too big of a disruptor to get me to pick up my stuff and move.

But maybe that’s just me. :slight_smile:


I would have to look at the life 360 thing, I keep reading about this but I never really looked into it. Maybe this is a good time to investigate and see what I can do with it in my situation.

Life360 worked for a lot of people, and probably still does, when the other options for geolocation didn’t work as well.

I never used it, but I believe you basically have to get people to install the app as well as create an account in ST so that you can start “managing” their devices as presence sensors.