We all know everything breaks, just how do I make a backup of my SmartThings Hub programming?

What prompted me to ask this question is my wife’s iPhone recently “Bricked”. We took it down to the nice people at the Apple store and they promptly handed her a free, brand new $1,600 iPhone. I plugged it into my Mac, and in one or two mouse clicks. I was able to FULLY restore her iPhone from a backup I made about two weeks prior. Zillions of emails, texts, apps, hundreds of passwords for various remote control functions were all successfully, and perfectly transported to the new iPhone.

I don’t see any way to make a backup of my SmartThings Hub programming. Obviously, they must provide a way to do this. I have just not found it yet.

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There are no methods to back up a hub.


Yup… just another (of way too many) broken promises from SmartThings.


VERY hard to believe. When, (NOT, if ) someone’s hardware fails, what’s the incentive to stay with SmartThings? Someone can simply start all over again with a different system. I have version 2, I think about buying version 3, but I would never voluntarily go through the programming again. My programming is not terribly complicated. But I read here on these forums that some people have put a great deal of effort into their routines. The thought of having to redo all of that is mind-boggling.

I LOVE SmartThings, but when it breaks, I’ll certainly be looking at other systems that have the ability to make backups. Considering that Samsung doesn’t provide a method of backing up, I’m surprised some entrepreneur hasn’t provided a third-party solution. This is all so sad to discover.

One never knows what services might be offered in the future once the migration to the new architecture is complete. There is always hope :slight_smile:


Unfortunately, much of smartthings is a closed black box and it is not possible for a third-party to provide meaningful backup for the event of a hub failure.

If you use a third party system to create your rules, that third party system may well offer a backup for those rules. But they can’t back up anything outside of their own app, it’s just not available to them.


That being said, with the addition of viewing Routines in the API Browser+ from @TAustin, you can easily cut/paste your Routines and Rules and save them in the event your hardware fails. There is also the option (painful as it may be) to screenshot your Routines and/or Smartlighting rules.

But I agree, it would be nice to be able to get a JSON dump of our entire ST environment.


The internals that we can see, such as Routines visible in Tod’s API browser, are chock full of UUIDs.

Any backup is going to have to deal with, I assume, the UUIDs being changed on a new hub. Unless the UUIDs aren’t actually unique.

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SmartThings has promised a migration tool for years. It never materialized. I moved from a V1 hub to a V2 hub to another V2 hub and finally to a V3 hub and had to manually migrate every device and automation. There are other solutions out there that provide the ability to load a backup to a new hub should you want to migrate to a newer hub or should your existing hub fail. I moved to that other solution last fall and never looked back.


But there is no “other solution”. What you are describing does not exist.

He is describing Hubitat and tbh if they had a useable app i would very much consider that route but for whatever reason they have never bothered with a useable app


There is, of course, a difference between a dump of the entire ST environment and a backup in the sense of something that can be restored. However a dump does at least give you a reminder of what you are aiming for. That’s probably something I ought to do today. I’ve got an encrypted dump online but I need to just add a plain version for download. I’ve not got a massive SmartThings installation so there is actually only about 1Mb of JSON.


I have exactly the same take. I have a Smartthings WiFi hub from 2018, and I’ve been very happy with it. With five years of use from that investment, I’d be quite willing to purchase a new hub for new features (e.g., Matter support and service as a Thread border router), but I’m very frustrated that an upgrade path doesn’t exist.

As jkp mentioned, I do hold out hope that Samsung will address this once the migration is complete, but if my current hub dies before there’s a means to backup / restore to a new hub, there’s no way I’d start over with Smarrthings, despite my overall very good experience with the platform.


He is describing a different brand of hub which allows backups and restores of its own brand of hubs.

There are actually quite a few of those, but none that I know of have the big cloud pieces in their architecture that SmartThings does. All are designed to run primarily locally after initial setup. All allow you to defer or deny updates if you choose.

The SmartThings architecture is very different. Because of the cloud piece individual customers are not allowed to defer or deny updates, because that might mean incompatibility with the cloud in a way that could not be fixed. :thinking:

Similarly, there’s no backup utility probably because of the corporate fear that someone might restore to a previous version that was no longer compatible with the cloud piece, leaving them with a broken system that could not be fixed remotely. A customer service nightmare. :scream:

They did at one point have a migration tool which could only be used by support, and only at the time of moving from one hub to another, but later withdrew it, because it didn’t always work, again, leaving some hubs inoperable with no way of fixing them remotely.

So, yes, there are some brands, including hubitat, Homeseer, and Ezlo Vera, which provide backup and restore capabilities for their own hubs. But while they do provide some cloud services, it isn’t woven into the architecture the way that smartthings is.

That’s why I am not optimistic of ever seeing a smartthings backup and restore utility until there’s a total redesign to remove the dependency on the cloud. It’s not impossible that that will happen in the future if matter turns out to be a big success, but it’s definitely not guaranteed. This isn’t just a matter of not having applied resources to it. It’s an issue of the fundamental architecture.



In addition to @JDRoberts post above, he also provided a very informative & graphic overview in this reply to my similar post/question about backups:

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@h0ckeysk8er So would the idea be to copy/paste those Routines into a text document to have for future reference (so that you could manually recreate the routines, using the text as a guide to recall what you had done previously) ?


I believe that’s all you can do with them. The problem with saving the text of the routines is that all references to other objects such as devices or scenes is going to be a long hex UUID. So you’d also need to create a list of UUIDs and note what they are.


In light of recent events, I think we can all agree that a backup and restore service is not just a nice to have, but an absolute must. Here’s hoping that some good comes out of this nightmare situation for those affected and ST is spurred on to take action. That might only happen if there is meaningful bad press however

I decided a while back to get into rules, which apart from certain function perks, allows me to save on disk the more complex routines. The learning curve isn’t that bad even for a non- programmer like me and what took maybe quite a lot of thinking is now safe, if something like what happened today occurs. A 80% of routines are easy for me to set up again, and anyway I like the friendly routine interface.
That, and an Excel copied from the excellent API Browser of my installed drivers with their corresponding devices is about all I can see I can do.
Don’t know if I can ask much more from a manufacturer who’s only sold me a hub (second hand in my case) Just a thought.


I desperately hope that as a consequence of the recent events urgent consideration will be given to updating the public version of the Rules API so that Routines are no longer needed for anything, and similarly that an action can be introduced that executes another Rule so Scenes can similarly be junked. I’ve been saying for a long time that Routines and Scenes are an unnecessary risk because of the way they are implemented. It is particularly unacceptable that Scenes are presented as a developer grade tool when they clearly aren’t at the moment. The specific events of the last twenty-four hours may not have been predictable, but the effect they had on Routines and Scenes certainly was and it seemed inevitable it would happen one way or another.