Still don't get the point in modes

I’ve setup new routines that perform what I need but what’s the point of putting them under a mode. You can define a mode so what is the point.
Can someone elaborate ?

What do you mean by this part of your question?

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You don’t have to use modes if you have everything working The way you want without them. :sunglasses:

Modes are most useful, I think, when you want to have a single device act in two different ways.

For example, at sunset we put our house into “night” mode. At that point, if you walk past the motion detector in the bedroom, it will turn on the overhead light. During the day, walking past the motion detector will not turn on the light. And when I go to sleep, I change The mode to “asleep.” At that point, walking past the motion detector does not turn on the overhead ceiling light–But it will turn on a soft night light on the wall.

So here we have the same room, and the people doing the same thing, but different results depending on the mode that is set.

The following topic gives some other examples of how people use modes. But again, if you don’t need them you don’t have to use them.


This is a the perfect example of why modes are useful as I do this exact same thing, additionally those popping to the fridge for a midnight snack/drink won’t have the corridor/kitchen lights turn on to 100% but instead will limit themselves to 10% so as to not blind them/wake anyone else up.


I have two young kids who do not yet have mobile phones.

When my wife and I leave the house, it goes into “away.” Us leaving (our phones leaving) triggers motion alerts, light timers, and ensures any other light is turned off. If my wife and I leave while a babysitter is present, we would get a lot of alerts and the babysitter would probably not understand what was happening with the lights.

That “home” --> “away” automation will will not occur if I set the house to ‘babysitter’ mode first. Instead, I will only get alerts if our master bedroom is opened and all other lights will function normally.


That’s another excellent point and along a similar theme, someone made a great suggestion to have a ‘maintenance mode’ in which no SmartApps can run. I use that if I’m wanting to work on something and disable things like motion sensors from triggering for example.

Admittedly a more limited use case but just another example of how modes can be useful.

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Can’t we accomplish this through Smart Lighting app? I have a smart lighting app setup called " bedtime" so after 11pm if someone moves and triggers the motion sensor the lights in hallway come on at 10%.

I meant to say that you can’t define the mode. Can we define a mode and set parameters other than in a Routine?
If I set the house to night, what do that tell Smartthings ?

If it’s always based on a set time, you don’t need modes.

In my example of “night” versus “asleep” asleep happens when I go to bed. That varies from day today. If I go to sleep at 9 PM, I set the house to sleep mode then. If the next night I don’t go to sleep until 1 AM, then that’s when asleep mode gets set. So the mode is independent of the time.

Mode just gives you something that you can set based on factors that are not captured in a routine. Again, guests present would be a good example. The guests don’t have to have presence sensors. It’s just an indicator you’re setting so that specific rules in your house will be fired or not fired.

Smartthings calls this a “behavioral filter.”

It’s a way of telling your account which rules you want to fire without having to identify a specific set of parameters which are captured in routines.

Again, if you don’t need it, you don’t need it. :sunglasses:

Each Location can have as many Modes defined as you want, but only 1 can be active at a time.

Each SmartApp Developer decides whether or not to include Mode as a criteria in their SmartApp. If they do then it is often just an execution filter (ie, this SmartApp will only run in Modes “Home” or “Night”, but not “Vacation”).

Gotcha. I’m just trying to get an understanding of the differences. Thanks.

@tgauchat gives another very good example: “vacation.”

Typically there’s nothing you could capture in terms of routine parameters that would indicate that you’re away on vacation rather than just away at work or shopping. But you might want your house to behave differently. :wink:

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Here is a link for a fairly complex set up based on modes and routines.

The last suggestion I received to help stabilize everything was to remove modes from my routines. Has this helped anyone else?

It’s helped me. I’ve had almost no problem at all since then… but, each user is unique and there doesn’t seem to be any ryhme or reason why things do and do not work.

The best way modes was ever explained to me is that you basically get as many smart homes as you have modes. That is, you can have your house respond in very complex or simple ways, have lots of different things going on and have great depth to how you control actions…in each mode. So, basically, each mode gives you a clean slate to run the house how you want…then you just choose which house you want, based on which mode you have run! Works in my head at least :smile:


This was helpful for modes. Can someone explains routines to me now please?

It is with no small amount of irony that I use routines to change the modes of my house.

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That’s kind of their primary use, and the main way ST expects mode changes to happen.

@mrjoedave think of Routines as home automation macros for common events. When you go to bed, you want all lights off, alarm armed, doors locked, and mode changed to night. You could accomplish all of that via automations in Smart Lighting and other one off SmartApps, or a routine can do it all and you’ll know where to go to adjust how it works.

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Your post jogged my memory (and another sip of coffee) on my daily interaction with SmartThings.

Routines are what can be setup as "widgets’ in iOS. In the evening, I will have a routine that turns off everything, and then turns on the master bedroom fan.

My next interaction is “Good Morning” routine that will turn on some lights, and to my wife’s great joy, it will turn off the fan before she gets out of bed.

I can do that with the Apple Watch or just from the notification screen of the iPhone. Very quick/easy.