Why doesn't SmartThings react to my change in location?

Ok, so I am new to SmartThings, but have an IT background and have done a bit of programing in a former life. I have created a simple automation on my V3 hub to set the Home Monitor to Away if my phone leaves the house (i.e. not at home). My phone location does appear to be tracked by SmartThings (i.e. the new location is registered accurately in the Find my device screen), but SmartThings does not change from Home mode to Away mode, It just appears to ignore the new location, which is why I guess my automation fails.
I have read lots of issues about presence in general on this site, but nothing tells me why this should not work.
My automation simply says: If Phone Away from Home, Then change the SmartThings Home Monitor mode to Away. But it doesn’t??
Has anyone any ideas please?

One, find this phone isnt exactly ghe same as smartthings itself, so verify that location access is on for the SmartThings app all the time (not just when the app is running) and that inside SmartThings itself (hamburger menu, settings - gear icon, top right inside settings panel) location access for this phone is turned on.

Also, can you post a screenshot of the actual automation please?


First, just to make sure we’re talking about the same thing…

A SmartThings account has two different variables called “mode”: location.mode and security.mode. Changing one does not affect the other unless you set up a specific automation to do so. Either can be changed with an automation.

Location mode has the default values of Home, Away, and Night. You can add additional custom values if you want to, and many people do, things like “movie night“ or “guest“ or “baby sleeping.” The location mode is used as a filter in automations. More on that later.

Also, weirdly, the current UI doesn’t have any standard method of displaying what location mode you are in or whether your phone is Within the Geoboundary or not even though you can use both of these in automations. A lot of people create dummy tiles just to display this information. It used to be part of the standard UI, but it just isn’t anymore. :disappointed_relieved:

Security mode has three values of Disarmed, Armed Stay, and Armed Away. You cannot add any more values. The security mode is used to determine when you will get alerts from SmartThings home monitor. You can also use it as a filter in automations.

So I’m a little confused by your post. You can’t set the security mode, the one used by smartthings home monitor (STHM) to home and away. Those are values for the location mode. And the values for the location mode are not used by STHM. :thinking:

So as @nathancu said, a screenshot of the automations would be helpful. It’s very common for people new to smartthings to set one variable but then be looking for changes to the other one.

The following FAQ is old and some things have changed since it was written, but it should help clear up any confusion between the two variables. It used to be even more confusing because both of them had values of “home“ and a variation of “away“ but eventually the values for the security mode were renamed to be “disarmed“ instead of “home,“ which did help a little. Anyway the example use cases may help. (The topic title is a clickable link.)

As @nathancu and @JDRoberts have said, your post raises a couple of issues regarding exactly how you are doing things.

Firstly, SmartThings Find is really a front end to the Samsung Find My Mobile service. That works like Google Find My Device and currently doesn’t have any further integration, it is just hosted by the app.

When it comes to detecting your presence in Automations etc, you need to tell the mobile app itself to check your location (which it does using the phone’s built in location services). You turn that on in the app settings as @nathancu described. It appears as your Member Location in Automation conditions.

The Location Mode is something that you have to set yourself if you want to use it. So you might write Automations that set it to Home, Away or Night (the default values - you can add, delete or edit them) based on your Member Location or time of day. Entirely up to you. You decide what the modes mean to you.

The Location Mode is an attribute of your SmartThings Location - you could almost consider it a global variable. Another one is the Security Mode. However access to read and change that is more restricted. The SmartThings Home Monitor app has access to it and uses it for its status. It is often considered the STHM status because of it. However is is still available regardless of whether STHM is installed or not.


Thank you to all contributors. Perhaps I am mixing up my words, and I do understand the difference between location modes and security modes. All I want to do is set the security mode to Armed when my phone says I am away from the house, and Disarmed when my phone says that I am at home. I have attached a screen shot of my Automation. A simple automation to ensure I only get trigger messages when I am away from home in case I forget to switch the mode to Armed.
I have double checked and all my location settings are correct on both my phone and SmartThings.

I have a tile on ActionTiles that shows my phone as ‘Present’, but does not appear to change when I leave the house and (say) drive to the next town. My phone shows the new location OK, but ‘Present’ is not changed.
Quick question: Is it important that the SmartThings app is running, or is location tracking a background task? I tend to close apps down after I have used them, but do I need to leave SmartThings on when I am away? I will try this today and see what happens.

Many thanks all.

Presence absolutely runs in the background, thats why you need to set location to be allowed for SmartThings always - not just when the app is open.


Thanks Nathan,
I have sorted it out now and everything is working as I thought it should. Felt a bit silly when I discovered that a battery saver app was putting my apps to sleep :frowning: This stopped SmartThings working in the background and explained why my Automations only worked worked if the app was in focus. I unblocked it and everything sprang to life - then got rid of the battery saver !! It’s obvious when you think about it, but with hindsight everything is …

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