Using phone as location just stopped for 2 devices

So, my wife and I have android phones, running latest ST app.
Having gotten a new phone, I set it up and got “Placeholder” as a device type. I worked with support since I had no way to know if it was working since there was no event log for it.
THey actually fixed that, so I can now see an event log for it!
My wife’s phone had sopped working, so I re-created hers, and sure enough it was also a “Placeholder”. But it was working.
Then I noticed they both just stopped working. Mine for the last 4 days, my wife’s for the last 7 days. No events what so ever (we leave the house at least once a day).

Anyone else experienced this??

Yes, I have had nothing but problems with my android phone and presence on the new app. And I have a Samsung phone! You would think it would work reliably. No issues at all on my wife’s Iphone.

Presence on my phone and the Smarthings app would work, then suddenly not work, then I would remove and add the device again, redo the automations, only for the problem to return. I ended up just using a virtual presence sensor, and then using another app to toggle that based on presence. I used the home assistant app (i’m running Smartthings and Home Assistant together) but you could use an Alexa routine, IFTTT, or any other app to reliably trigger the virtual presence sensor.

This workaround is a pain, but is reliable. I would be interested in ideas on how to fix this permanently to just rely on presence from the Smartthings app.

I have a virtual presence sensor DTH here if you want to try that instead:

Ya, that’s terrible. Isn’t there already an out-of-the-box virtual presence device?
How were you using Home Assistant to trigger the virtual presence device exactly?

I believe there is, but the out of the box one direct as far as i know doesn’t have the switch capability. The custom one i posted combines the presence sensor with an on/off switch, which makes it visible to use it with third party apps and other integrations. “On” is present, “off” is away. So, you can do an Alexa routine that turns the virtual presence sensor “on” when you arrive home, or “off” when you leave. That presence is then determined by the Alexa app on your phone. I think Some also use life360 for this i believe. Then on the smarthings side, you tie the presence sensor to automations or webcore.

It was complicated. First, you have to install Home Assistant on a raspberry pi or other computer in Docker. Then you have to setup an SSL connection, or pay Home-assistant $5 a month to use their cloud. Then there is a Smartthings integration to Home-assistant that links them together
Once linked, the virtual sensor from the DTH i posted above shows up in Home Assistant. Then download the home assistant app on both phones, and do automations in home assistant to turn the switch on and off based on phone presence from the home assistant app.

mine stopped working on 3 phones last tuesday. turning location off and on and readding it to the automation did nothing. Still not working

If you use WebCoRE, you can use their presence function. My wife and I have iPhone 11 Pro/ProMax’s and they have been working well for us.

I feel that at least some of these presence issues stem directly from a
Android itself. When my presence mails, I open Google maps briefly and it refreshes the phones location which in turn Smartthings picks up the location and automation then fires. I’ve replicated this several times

I think you’re right about a potential Android issue @troy_owens. I’ve noticed it being especially flaky whenever there was a smartthings android app update. I’m not an expert on Android but I think there are multiple ways to get location to an app, and if i had to take a guess, something is going wrong there.

However, my Home-assistant app that also runs on my android phone, never has these issues. The home assistant app also has many more location settings including background location vs single accurate location . I have all those enabled. Maybe the Smartthings app just uses background location only and that could be a contributing problem?

So, while it could be an Android issue somehow, I really don’t know for sure. However, Smartthings really needs to find a way to workaround whatever potential Android issue there is to get presence working reliably. With the change to the new app, presence for me has been the biggest problem. Presence always just worked on the classic app, and fine in the home assistant , IFTTT, and Alexa apps, which all also run on Android. With this new Smartthings app, there has been nothing but trouble with presence to the point i just gave up on relying on it.


im already using webcore and its still broken. webcore gets its location info from smartthings anyway, so that wouldnt change anything

I’m not sure that WebCoRE gets the location from SmartThings. When I was using both the ST location and the WebCoRE location, they produced different results at times with WebCoRE being more consistently correct. Regardless, if it makes no difference in your circumstances, it’s likely something to do with your phone. Good luck.

webcore isnt its own app that has location permissions so theres no way for it to get your location otherwise and yes youre probably right, 3 phones simultaneously stopped working so it must be the phones /s

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Where have I been? I had no idea there was a webcore mobile app.

The webCoRE mobile apps send location updates to URL endpoints in the webCoRE SmartApp. That calls the processEvents() command method in the webCoRE presence sensor device handler.

It would be great if ST did make location information available but no such luck yet. The old DTH integration only receives presence and occupancy status as input and if the new integration has more information it isn’t yet exposing it.

I found mobile presence to be rather unreliable on the Classic app on Android and that it was better, but not to the point of being usable, on the new app when I first switched over (though only enabling presence in one app was critical). However the switch to a new integration over the Summer has made it rock solid for Presence and Occupancy in the home location, and for Presence in Linked Places.

I’ve found Android location handling to have improved greatly over the last year or so, whether that be down to different hardware or Android updates. Google maps locations used to drift all over the place. Switching from the northern suburbs of Helsinki to south London in an instant was a particularly regular occurrence, and if you were on a train it would have you jumping around all over the south-east of England. I always suspected it was using mobile hotspots without realising it and using last known fixes for them.