What causes phone presence sensors to stop working?

I have my phone and my wife’s phone (both Android) set up as presence sensors for ST. Everything has been working great for about 3 weeks, but yesterday my phone stopped updating (showed away all the time) while my wife’s phone continued working fine. I finally deleted and re-added my phone this afternoon and it immediately started working again. The phone knew it’s location but ST wasn’t updating. What causes this?

Lots of possibilities, although there was a systemwide outage this morning for a little while and that may have been what you ran into.



If you don’t think that was it, here’s the troubleshooting FAQ:

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This exact scenario happened to me yesterday too.

Dead phone batteries.

(Sorry man, I had to!)

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I went through the FAQ yesterday, set up the location reminder and everything and it was all working fine on the phone side. I also have Location set to high accuracy, which uses wifi, network, and GPS for location. There had to have been something in ST that broke the updates, because the phone knew where it was but somehow it stopped updating ST. After deleting and re-adding last night it’s been working fine again, I was just curious what happens behind the scenes that could cause ST to stop recognizing state changes for phone presence sensors, and if there’s anything I can do differently to prevent this happening in the future.

To be honest, lots of things break behind the scenes on the smart things platform and we never know the details. People just guess based on what’s being reported in the forums. Sometimes we get more details, but not always.

Just as an example, in the last week there was one day when routines could not be initiated from Smartapps. Smart apps which had worked for more than a year just stopped working. Until they started working again. In that case they knowledged a platform problem and fix for it, but we never got the details.

In a different example from the same week there was a day when pushing the button on minimote couldn’t change the mode. Again, something that might’ve been working for a year or more. Again a problem was acknowledged and a fix was deployed, but no details.

And there was a third problem in the same week with smart apps, but I don’t know all the details on that one.

At first I thought these were all related but some of the people affected by them said they were different.

Anyway, the point is that these kind of platform problems occur, they get reported to support, then they go away, and we never know exactly what happened.

Thanks for the info. If I have trouble with this again I will probably set up a secondary presence system using IFTTT triggers for phones connecting and disconnecting from our home wifi network, or maybe using IFTTT location.

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Depending on the manufacturer of the phone, they kill background processes. Usually just bringing ST to the foreground restarts it. The Samsung Galaxy used to be pretty aggressive about this.

My backup is when I key in my code to unlock my door, it sends a disarm message, it takes a second or 2 to register. In the last month or so I only had once where presence didn’t disarm. Triggered the alarm for half a second before the disarm message was received and shut it down.

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Sorry to hijack your thread but I have a question on the phone presence sensor. I am the primary administrator on the ST account so I added my wife and kid’s phones as additional users, under Manage Users. Once they installed the app, I can see their device present or away under My Home -> Things. My question is how come I don’t see my phone show up as one of the “Things”. Do I need to add myself as another user for it to recognize?

Did you add your phone as a sensor? From the app, go to Marketplace, Things tab, Coming and Going, Mobile Phone, Connect Now.

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Tried it and it works perfectly. Thanks.

I’m having the exact same issue as the OP. My wife’s Nexus 5x stops updating its location with ST about once a month and must be removed and re-added. It’s a HUGE pain since you have to pull the mobile presence sensor out of each smart app, then remove the device, then re-add it, then re-add it to each Smart App. It’s probably a 15min exercise every time. Kind of stupid.

My wife’s Nexus 5x is nearly flawless on the reporting. Whenever it stops reporting just a simple restart of Smartthings App fixes it.

When it stops working is the ST process running in the background? My wife had a habit of killing ST app all the time, which used to kill the process. She now uses it every few days.

Has presence been incredibly unreliable for the last few days for anyone else? My phone has apparently come and gone without me about 20-30 times in 3 days.

I’m really getting sick of this.

Same here. Time to turn off all of my routines that use presence, yet again.

No issues here. Other than the one problem from my OP it has been rock solid.