Alternatives to using ST presence

Running Homebridge and using HomeKit location services is a much better for iPhone. I use it in combination with router client detection to trigger our presence via a RM rule in HE. Very reliable and very low battery drain since it’s iOS native.


OK, how do you do that?

Are you already running Homebridge on a Raspberry Pi or similar?

  • If yes, using Homekit for location should be fairly simple. I am sure @SmartHomePrimer can explain it.

  • If not, you might prefer to simply use Locative for iOS. It is a very lightweight application, does not use hardly any battery power, easily integrates with Hubitat via the Maker API, and runs 100% local on your phone - no cloud servers involved, except Hubitat's.

I can implement this on my unraid server using docker I believe. I have seen it I just didn't know what it was and why or how to use it. Some are saying that it slows HE down though. Has that been your experience?

I have played around with Homebridge a few times... In each case, I believe I experienced slowdowns of my hub, but I can't say for sure that Homebridge caused it. So, at this point I am not using it at all.

Give Locative a try. It only takes a few minutes to set it up. Just add an extra Virtual Presence sensor device, and expose it via the Maker API App. Then copy the cloud URL from the maker api (with your device specific text replacements) into the app on your phone. One for arrival and one for departure. That's it.

You can also create additional Geofences for places like Work, so that a different Virtual Presence Sensor could be triggered when you leave to cause your house to get ready for your arrival.

When adding the Maker API App do I have to choose Remote/Cloud Access? And is this where I expose my Virtual Presence Sensor?

Sorry just read your post again and you say copy the Cloud URL. Got it!

How do you set up one for arrival and one for departure in the Locative app?

I have put in the following URL with my device ID without the brackets and arrived for the command. I click Send Test-Request and nothing happens. Also how do I set a departed URL? Also do I have to setup a location first in Locative?[Device ID]/arrived?access_token=(redacted)

Thanks, I shouldn't have put the whole URL in my post.

btw: I believe I have the same setup using webCoRE Presence Sensor on iOS and with ST and then using the Hub Link to access a virtual presence sensor. I haven't noticed any difference in my battery drain since I put this in.

I also like the ability to set separate "arriving" and "leaving" ranges. I have my "arriving" range set at 50m so I can literally see my front door when my presence sensor sets me as present. I have my "leaving" range set at 500m so I can walk around the neighborhood without sending my alarms into epileptic fits.

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OK for the most part I figured this out but two questions: If I send a test, what is supposed to happen? I don't get any notifications on my phone. Also, so I would have to create different Virtual Presence Sensors for each different GPS Location and put that ID into each URL for arrival and departure for that specific location, right?

You should see the Virtual Presence Sensor change from "Present" to "Not Present" in Hubitat. Nothing will show up on your phone.

Based on what you showed above, I just want to make sure that you replaced [Device ID] with your actual device id of the virtual presence sensor, right?

You should have two URLs, one for arrived and one for departed, where I have replaced [Device ID] with xxx, which should be the numeric device id of your vistual presence sensor.


You can use Rule Machine to send you a Pushover Notification when someone arrives or departs. This will appear on your phone.

Yes, I did put in the device ID correctly. The URL looks good in the app and I do see the Present and Not present changing and it is logging in the Event Log. So I guess it is working. So the Notification Settings in the App don't work? I will experiment with RM sending notification to Pushover. This would solve having to keep ST alive as I also have different locations setup in ST and I have Core Pistons setup in each location to notify me of arrivals and departures.

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LOL - I never noticed that the app even mentioned having Notifications. I have never seen one pop up. The app is no longer supported, but the source code is available on GitHub. Maybe someone else will start maintaining it again? I am just hoping that it continues to work until Hubitat releases their own mobile iOS/Android App.

Yeah, even in Apple Settings there is also a setting in Notifications for this app but even when turned on nothing happens.

Just to add to this, in the App Store it says Locative is no longer supported by the dev (since May 2017). For me that would be a worry as at some time in the future Apple could pull the app and your left looking around for something else again at that time.

Personally I use HomeBridge. I’m finding no slow downs on the hub at all and the bonus is that as HomeKit is native iOS it will always work 100% of the time for location awareness. When in ST I tried a wide range of things (Life 360, WebCoRE presence, Nest Thermostat presence, ST presence etc) but nothing was ever reliable for monitoring my wife or I coming home - the apps would crash or fail to report someone home etc which has never happened with HomeKit/HomeBridge when on ST and now on HE.
Just as a side, I have HomeBridge installed on a Windows 10 machine (with ST HomeBridge stripped out now) that is always on serving Plex and numerous other bits at home. Very easy to install

I will definitely keep this in mind and I might look at installing on my unraid server with a docker just for a little project to do. :wink: I have setup Locative for now and I will test it out and see how it goes but I do share your concern of it not being around at some point.

Interestingly, I tried HomeBridge and while it is working great for exposing my devices via Siri and Home, the presence failed. I set up an automation that should've resulted in toggling a switch based on my presence but it never happened. I've used Locative a few times now and it's working great.

In case it matters, the only HomeKit Hub I have right now is an old iPad that's stuck on iOS 10 so maybe that's the root cause but I have no way to confirm it. Others do seem to have good experience with HomeBridge/HomeKit and presence so I'm hoping to try again one of these days when I have something other than an iPad to use as the hub.

Yeah that’s it. You can’t have them on different versions. It work right, or at all.

You need to be able to do HomeKit automations to make it work. An Apple TV 4th gen will do the job. That’s what I have. Doesn’t need to be the 4K version.

interesting; it works just fine for regular homekit control (in and out of the house) and iOS 10 on my iPad has the option to be a hub (which I've enabled). Automations are also available but I only tried presence and that didn't work... I couldn't find any useful documentation (that said an iPad was limited) but what you're saying makes perfect sense and was my assumption as well.

They don’t get specific anymore. Just tell you it has to be the latest. When I upgraded, my wife’s location services for HomeKit stopped working until I upgraded her phone too and then it started working again immediately.