SmartThings Support

Known mobile presence issues and FAQ

To be as accurate, reliable, and predictable as possible, many of your SmartThings devices depend on your mobile presence status. Your mobile presence device might automatically trigger an automation to turn off your lights when you leave home and exit your geofence. Or you might receive a push notification when your teenager arrives home from school.

Unfortunately, we know that mobile presence doesn’t always perform as expected and may cause Automations to fail to trigger. SmartThings users have approached us with related questions about mobile presence and its performance, so we’d like to take a minute to explore some of the framework behind mobile presence and location monitoring in general.


What do mobile presence problems look like?

If you leave home in the morning, drive 30 minutes to your office, and the SmartThings app says you are “present” at home, this is likely a mobile presence error. Or maybe several minutes after you have arrived home, you’re still considered “not present” and your Location mistakenly stays in “Away” Mode. Constant fluctuations between “present” and “not present” (even when you haven’t moved an inch) are also characteristic of mobile presence issues.


Why isn’t mobile presence 100% accurate?

Mobile presence is affected by many variables: Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, physical surroundings, and atmospheric conditions. Things like the mobile device's native capabilities, location services, battery life, and battery/data allocation also influence mobile presence. In short: a lot of variables outside of the SmartThings mobile app’s control.


What can I do to improve mobile presence performance?

There are some steps you can take on your smartphone or cellular-connected tablet to allow the SmartThings app optimal permissions and to ensure the best Wi-Fi connection and battery usage: things that are integral to mobile presence performance. However, it should be noted that these are not surefire solutions. You can find troubleshooting steps here.


My device knows where I am—why doesn’t SmartThings?

It’s very possible for you to open your phone or tablet’s native maps service and see your location perfectly pinpointed on the map, and yet, mobile presence may report incorrectly at that same moment. Why is this? The device itself has certain innate permissions and capabilities that the SmartThings app (and most other location-reliant apps) simply does not. For example, your phone’s native maps application may employ active geo-tracking, whereas the app utilizes background region monitoring. SmartThings is careful to follow established best practices, and we will continue to stay on the cutting edge of location technologies.

We're constantly striving to better the SmartThings customer experience, and improving mobile presence is a big part of that.