Comparing 5 methods to detect presence (again)

Slow morning - so I compared 5 methods of determining my presence for the last three "present" and "not present" events.

Here are the methods:

Apple iPhone: uses the Home app to determine my location and flips a Hubitat virtual switch on or off depending on whether my phone is at home or not.

OwnTracks: uses the OwnTracks app on my phone to determine presence via a preset geofence of approximately 220 yards.

Google WiFi: uses the IFTTT Google WiFi and Hubitat integrations to flip a virtual switch on or off depending on whether my phone is connected to Google WiFi or not.

Life 360: uses the Life360 app @bptworld's Life360 integration for Hubitat. The size of the geofence is approximately 220 yards.

Samsung Presence: uses a zigbee SmartThings Presence Sensor v4 in my car. I use this just to raise/lower the garage door. The Hubitat driver is configured for a 2 minute time-out to indicate not present.

Bottom-line, they all work. The iPhone-HomeKit-HomeBridge method works a little better to determine when I've left the house. OwnTracks works a little better to determine when I've re-entered the 220 yard geofence.

I should follow through on what I said the last time and get rid of the IFTTT - Google WiFi setup. But ......


You could add geoFency as well... @brianwilson write a very nice integration. I have both Life360 and GeoFency running. I find sometimes the Life360 app stops reporting. It's the app, not the HE integration.


Kowalski: "So we have at least one minute to enter, gab the valuables and leave, between his actual leaving and the last of his 5 different presence detection systems set the security system..."


I surprised to see that much of a delay with life360. I have my geofence setup for 162m (not the easiest to set the darn little slider on an iPhone) and the worst case I have had is I get the notification that I have arrived as I pull in the driveway.

So why not compare the hubitat app presance?

I don't use the app. And as of today, I am down to just three methods of presence detection (Apple Home, OwnTracks, SmartThings Presence Sensor). So no more IFTTT integration, and I removed LIfe360 from my phone.

Those three methods are all I need, and they perform sufficiently robustly.


I'm only use HE, last few updates been rock solid (touching 🪵) just curious on how it compares

It wasn’t that bad when the first launched it. Then they updated it, and well, that’s my story.

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I like the SmartThings because it's not dependent on the cloud.

I have been casually testing 4 methods, but just decided to document.

  • 3:28:17 = Baseline (motion detected in front of the garage)
  • 3:28:51 = iPhone Presence (WiFi) ... +34 seconds
  • 3:31:14 = Hubitat Presence ... +1 minute, 57 seconds
  • 3:31:16 = Life360 ... +1 minute, 59 seconds
  • Never = webCoRE (this only updates when I open the app on my phone)

On my phone (Moto G Power 2021), I have done everything I can think of to enable location permissions and disable battery savers. Unless I am missing something (suggestions?), all indications are that this phone is simply not a good tool for arrival detection. Something like the SmartThings fob may be my only viable option.

Have you also been looking at reliability? I've noticed the life360 app just sometimes stops reporting.

I have, but not recently. In general, reliability has been very high on iOS, and was more spotty on Android. Since posting this, the only phone based methods I now use are the built-in geofencing in the Apple Home app and OwnTracks. They have both been completely reliable and in concurrence with each other.

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Slight Tangent - Lowes is showing "low stock" of the SmartThings Arrival Sensor for $21.28 (on-line orders only). I purchased two yesterday for a few cents less. Guessing that they have some left because they confusingly call them "Personal Alarm".

The only success I've had for presence sensing is by combining two different types of detection.

I have multiple iPhones and have been running this method for over a year now with no issues at all.

I have life350 for geofencing. This is pretty self explanatory.

But for lan presence I created a docker that runs a arping command against my phone's. Arping works way better than ping as it still detects the phone even when it goes into deep sleep. Unlike the ping command. And it picks up the phone within a few seconds of leaving/joining the network. I have the docker update the virtual device when the state changes.

Everything else I tried gave me problems. This gave me success all the time as long as the phone is not dead.

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I do pretty well using the Combined Presence app. It combines my Hubitat presence with my phone connecting to my WiFi using iPhone WiFi Presence Sensor. (It works for Android, too, since it just pings an IP address on the network to see if it's there.) I only added the WiFi component when the Hubitat detection was flaky in earlier versions. It seems to be pretty quick since an update a couple months ago, so I actually changed the rules I use so it relies more heavily on the Hubitat presence again. My wife and I are both detected this way.

I don't need it to be too instantaneous, but having my outside lights on, the garage door open and the door unlock when I pull in is kinda nice.

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Life360 + an rm rule to force refresh every 5 minutes has worked perfectly for me for the past couple years.

That said, I do keep my circle set to a pretty big radius, as I consider myself home anytime I'm anywhere in my neighborhood.

$112 on


Samsung SmartThings Arrival Sensor


Wow. I'm glad I bought a few.

Is there any alternative that also doesn't depend on the web?

the various ping-your-iphone methods don't...

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