Smartthings / Life360 Connect stopped working (11 Jan 2023)

I have switched from Life360 to using the SmartThings app for presence sensing.

We don’t get out much, so today was the first opportunity to test it.

My phone (Pixel 5) worked fine, showing me not present when I was indeed not present.

Spouse’s phone (Samsung Galaxy S21+) on the other hand, failed - it never registered her as not present for the 2+ hours we were 10 miles away.

Both phones are configured the same with respect to SmartThings, which is:

  • Location access - all the time
  • Battery - unrestricted (meaning the app won’t get put to sleep)
  • Pause app activity if unused - off (meaning the app won’t lose its permissions if she doesn’t use it)

My account is the owner of the hub. Her account has been invited, she can see the correct hub in the app, and has enabled “Get your location from this phone”. Both phones are running version 1.7.94.21. Life360 correctly identified we were both not present (FWIW).

What am I missing? Or does Samsung have some feature that cripples their own product when run on their own phone?

I’m having the same issue moving away from the Life360 smart app except my 2 Galaxy phones have worked fine, and the 2 LG phones keep falling out. I have tried everything I can including turning off battery saver, excluding the SmartThings app and Location Services from any battery saver functions, and pinning the SmartThings app on the Recent Apps tab. No matter what the SmartThings Presence will work once or twice on the LG phones, then will inexplicably fail. Getting really frustrated :angry: because there are so many important Routines that are dependent upon some combination of who is or isn’t present. If you get a solution… please share.

After 3 departures, my wife’s phone has only failed to register not present one time (the first time). Time will tell whether the trend continues.

I’ve been using Life360 for a few years, it was flawless and also had icons that showed who was home, away and battery level. It was great and finally I was able to have routines working for all family members as the original Smartthings presence system was unusable.

After the folks at Smartthings killed off Life360 along with all of my other customizations I went back to using Smartthings presence system, I set it up more than a few times and it worked for only a few days then reminded me why I didn’t use it before.

Some key points:

  1. It’s unreliable and therefore unusable

  2. Why!!! There are still no icons to speak of to see who is home and who is not (unless someone wants to share how to do this). This is so incredibly frustrating. It would be like having motion sensors but you have no way to see their status, no icon, no history. You just have to leave your house and come back to test it over and over. Huge fail

  3. Using Life360 enabled devices that did not have to have smartthings accounts or the app on their phone where they would then be able to have access to the house smartthings setup and controls, not everyone needs this kind of access, kids and the like are perfect examples.

  4. I was so spoiled with how great Life360 worked every time for every person that I’m once again so very frustrated with Smartthings.

Since none of this seems any different from years ago I don’t see it changing anytime soon

You would think a decent presence system would be important to develop and maintain but sadly it’s still junk.

Sadly, my system of over 160 devices has capabilities now that barely resembles what it was 5+ years ago… everything people worked hard to code is now defunct and I don’t see those folks all happy to redesign again for a platform that de-platformed their work.

It’s a not so smart home now. Thanks Samsung!

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You can create virtual presence sensors and use routines to toggle them on and off based on user location. This provides a nice visual as to who is home etc. You an even use those virtual sensors to automate home and away functions. That said, the Smarthings built in location detection is proving so unreliable vs life360, I don’t see the point. The virtual sensors will almost certainly be displaying incorrect information anyway. I am using a Samsung s22 ultra, and frequently location status is misreported by the smartthings app. I am now trying to use bixby routines to manually trigger home and away states.

Presence has been challenging from the beginning with ST: again, not sure why.

IF you can find a presence method from another app/device that is reliable for you and you can get that information over to SmartThings, then you can use a virtual presence sensor to visually represent each person in the SmartThings app. That will be enough for some people, not everyone. :disappointed_relieved:

Since the IFTTT integration is broken right now, that leaves out some options, but there are still some choices if you want to try any.

  1. the Alexa app. This has become surprisingly popular. If you put the Alexa app on your phone, it has its own presence option that can trigger its own routines. (Alexa routines, not SmartThings routines.) and then you use that Alexa routine to turn on a virtual presence sensor in smartthings. It’s quite straightforward, easy to set up, free, if you have a prime account (I don’t remember if it works if you don’t have a prime account or not.) Integration with smartthings is good. Works on both iOS and android. So it might be worth looking into.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=G2PYLKJN3XVZ55EQ

Since it turned out that Life360 was selling user location data, (Google it if you want details, there have been a lot of news stories about it), your privacy should actually be a little better with this option than it was with Life360.

  1. if you have an android phone, you should be able to get presence via Tasker to sharptools to Smartthings. That using two third party apps and setup is more complicated than the Alexa app, but there are people using this method who like it.

  2. if you have an iPhone and HomeKit presence works well for you, you can get an inexpensive meross smart plug and use it as a proxy, since it is visible to both systems at the same time. You use HomeKit presence to turn the plug on with a HomeKit routine and then have that plug coming on trigger a smartthings routine. This is very easy to set up and the only cost is a $10-$15 smart plug per person. I use this method myself, and it works very well for me. Here’s an FAQ on that:

You can use any brand of smart plug which is visible to both platforms at the same time.

  1. detect your phone connecting to your Wi-Fi and use that to turn on your virtual presence sensor. This is not a native feature in smartthings, but there are people using it. There are several options. Again, the combination of Tasker and sharptools will work for those with android phones. You could use HomeKit to turn on a smart plug like option three. Or @taustin has a code that can do this in smartthings, but you will have to set up a separate device as a 24/7 server and it’s technically somewhat complicated.

  2. The downside of using any phone based system is that if you turn your phone off, the system will think that your away. That’s an issue for some people, not others.

There is no commercially available replacement for the original smart things Zigbee presence fob, which was supposed to address that aspect, but turned out to be unreliable for a lot of people. If you do want to use a physical device other than a phone, there aren’t a lot available right now, but you could use a ibeacon. I used this before I switched to the HomeKit option with the smart plug proxy.

The problem is that you need some way of receiving a webhook in order to integrate this to smartthings. The easiest way used to be Ifttt, but since it’s broken right now, that makes things more complicated.

I’m going to go ahead and link to the FAQ for the method I use, but you won’t be able to follow those instructions until the Ifttt Integration is working again, unless you find your own method of receiving webhooks.

iBeacons+iOS+SmartThings (UK) presence [updated in 2023]

——
So I think those are the most popular methods right now for people who find that the native smartthings Geopresence doesn’t work for them. :thinking:

I don’t know if any of those will fit your situation, but some might be worth a look.

And I can confirm that the Alexa solution works well for multiple household members as long as each member has a SEPARATE SmartThings account. While you can link separate Alexa accounts to the same ST account, one will always be the active and the other will timeout.

So here is my setup:

  • Separate Alexa accounts (but in the same household) on each phone (one Android and one iPhone)
  • Separate ST accounts on each phone (but members of the same location)
  • ST Virtual presence sensors for each member using vEdge Creator from @TAustin
  • An arrival and departure Alexa routine for each individual on their respective phones that turns the virtual presence sensor on/off for that individual
  • ST Routines that react to the state of the virtual presence sensor for one or more individuals

While there are several moving parts here, I don’t think it’s anymore complicated than it was with Life360. ST also seems to receive the state change very quickly from Alexa making for a snappy SmartHome experience (I like my doors unlocked when I get home :slight_smile: ) And by using a virtual presence sensor, it will be very easy to change out the underlying detection mechanism should Life360 come back or ST presence becomes more reliable, etc, etc.

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So I have my s23 set up to use ST as a presence sensor, and it’s actually working pretty well.

My issue is with my wife’s s22. She has her own Samsung account, and correctly sees all our devices in the ST app on her phone. I have “Get Your Location From This Phone” also configured on her s22 (selected to same address I have configured on my s23).

Presence on her phone seems to work for like the first day, but then quits working. If I go into her phone and reset “Get Your Location From This Phone” to a different location and then back to same location as on my phone, it works again… for a day.

Any suggestions?

Consider the approach detailed by @h0ckeysk8er in the post immediately above yours?

I was hoping to not involve a “third party” to the mix. But I certainly could give that try.

…but before I do, can you refresh my memory: Is there any specific reason to use a separate account for her ST app? (I don’t recall why I did that… if I have to or not.) Could I simply uninstall ST from her phone, reinstall ST on her phone, use the same ST login credentials on her ST app that I use on mine??

You could if you don’t need to use the Alexa or IFTTT integrations since they ST supports a 1:1 relationship with them.

The other problem with using a single account is that there is just a single member with multiple presence devices. It can be tricky to write Routines because of the inflexibility of ST app interface.

Not sure I follow… Could you share an example?

I don’t have it set up that way right now, but from what I remember you only get the option of “All Phones and Tablets” or “Any Phones or Tablets” are at/away from a location. So, you can’t really write Routines where you have “If Person 1 is home but Person 2 is away from home”.

You should be able to proxy presence with a virtual switch and do it that way. It would take several routines, though.

If person A is away, turn on virtual switch A.
If person B is away, turn on virtual switch B.

If virtual switch A is on and person B is home…

Etc.

You could also use a physical device as a proxy, like one socket of a power strip, if you don’t want to use virtual devices.

So doable, just clunky. :man_shrugging:t2:

You’re saying this is doable with 2 phones running the ST app with the same credentials? Just want to make sure I understand correctly.

…and if so, do you have any other advice against moving from using separate ST app login credentials, to using the same on both?

Same user ID on two phones? No, I don’t think that works. But admin user on one phone and guest user on the other should. :thinking:

I probably misheard the original question. My bad.

Yes, that’s how I used to have it set up when I initially started with ST. Two phones logged in as the same ST user. As I said, you will have one member (the account owner) with multiple presence sensors representing each phone that is sharing location. And as I said, it’s cumbersome and tricky managing Routines with the built-in Member Location triggers using that model.

As @JDRoberts suggested, it’s more manageable if you use virtual presence sensors in Routines since you can include multiple presence sensors as the triggers or preconditions in a Routine (see below). If you are going to use ST location to track you, you then need to have Routines that change the virtual presence sensors based on the specific sensor listed for the member in the Member location triggers; i.e. “If Member Dave Dave’s phone presence sensor is present, set virtual Dave presence sensor to present” and “If Member Dave Wife’s phone presence sensor is present, set virtual Wife presence sensor to present”. And of course you need the opposite for when you’re not present.

The plus side of using virtual presence sensors in your Routines is that you can change the underlying tracking mechanism and only have to touch the 4 Routines that set the virtual presence sensor state.

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I will just throw in here that, if you have the Alexa app on your phones already, you get a lot more flexibility using Alexa to sense presence.

SmartThings has one geolocation place and radius.

You can create multiple Alexa routines on each phone that each trigger at a different geolocation boundary. Alexa can trigger a SmartThings Scene or change the state on one or more devices.

cool. Thanks yall!

Is there a [vEdge] for virtual presence recommended to use?

EDIT: I see vEdge Creator v2.8…

That’s the one I prefer.