Geofencing ... So Is OwnTracks the solution now?

HomeKit presence is a solid solution for Apple peeps, but this OwnTracks effort here seems to be the new leader for folks who can't or don't want to use HK.


Google presence is working great for me. I have been testing its reliability in the background for when I need to use it, as my Life360 still works for now.

1 Like

For iOS users Apple Home, Geofency, OwnTracks, Locative all work essentially the same, triggering within a few feet of one another. OwnTracks is by far the most complex app to set up. As it has lots of options. If all one wants to do is to track entering/leaving locations it would be my last option on iOS. If one is an Apple household Geofency has a nice Mac app.

I have been pretty happy with GeoFency. Its' been very reliable.


I gave up on the built in solution long ago.. It just was not reliable enough to count on. I switched to SmartThings Arrival Sensors for the family members and use a keypad next to the front door for guests.

I have decided to try BLE Beacons on Home Assistant though. Just waiting for my little BLE keychain devices to arrive from AliExpress so I can test it all out. The SmartThings arrival sensors currently work great, but I am annoyed that I have to swap new batteries every several months.

1 Like

+1 on this. I use a combo of Homekit, wifi and Alexa as the backup. Homekit is the most reliable of the 3. See this post for more details:

1 Like

Does Apples Homekit presence solution support guests? Would I be able to use that for my parents and other guests who use Apple phones?

Without needing to consider this myself, my gut reaction would not be introduce any areas of ambiguity or "needing to check" for your guests.

1 Like

I agree. This is not the best solution.

It really only matters when my wife and I aren't home, so "guests" usually means my parents, my wife's parents, or the housekeeper. So for now, we treat it like an alarm system. If their door code is entered on the front door (which they have to do to get inside anyway), they're marked as "here" and security rules are disarmed. When they leave, they have to hit "arm" on the keypad next to the door. Obviously if they forget to do this, it becomes hard for me to know what's going on..

Honestly, this is why I'm looking into the BLE Beacons.. they should last much longer than the Arrival sensors and they are less than $10 on AliExpress. If I get this working reliably, I can ditch the SmartThings sensors for us and give one to the grandparents and housekeeper.


I'm pretty sure the answer is no. HomeKit presence only works for individuals in your Apple Home.

Does that work even if your kids turn off their wifi all the time and stay on cellular. Genuine question, as it is the reason I don't use wifi for presence detection in my house.

Correct, no need for WiFi. Use Apple Configurator to lock down kids' phones, including ability to force WiFi on.


Cool. But nah on the locking down the devices. They have legitimate reason for turning off Wi-Fi.

Absolutely loving the new Owntracks's easy/quick to set up, completely reliable and works for me w/out Wi-Fi on all the time on my Android.

He has also provided a build of the Android app that removes the need to restart the Android app after each phone reboot by setting the location monitoring to run as a background sevice, so it restarts on phone reboot w/out any intervention.

The developer has been incredibly responsive and active. There are the normal growing pains of a brand new integration (mostly on the iOS side as the dev doesn't have an iPhone in hand) but based on his activities to date I've no doubt the iOS stuff will get sorted and it will "just work."

My favorite new integration, by far. For Android it's the simplest/best I've seen for HE. Once the iOS app issues are sorted I think it will be a must try for iOS users as well.


It could I guess.
As you can see in the linked post, I have a virtual switch I use for this called guests.
So if someone is here (e.g. Grandma, or a babysitter, etc.), I can prevent my 'away' automations from kicking in and do unique things if I want to.


Oh wow, never new this existed. Haven't given my kids phones yet, but so good to know this exists for when I do have to

I've done the same w/virtual switches...have one for Christmas lighting stuff that only runs when my "Christmas" switch is on (turned on automatically on Nov 31, and off again first week of Jan). Also use a "Vacation" switch w/a presence rule that only allows the rule to run when I'm away and the Vacation switch is on, the rule automates some lighting and changes my blinds timings to make it look like we're home when we're not.


I really need to figure out how to set that up. I've been using geofency. Works great for me, but can never get it to be correct for my wife.

Yeah, just me & my wife here... HK hasn't been perfect by a long shot, but it's been on par with L360 at least. So it's working good enough for us.

There's probably some kind of optimization tweak I'm missing out on, but I'm trying to avoid having my wife need to do anything out of the ordinary on her phone (e.g. "make sure you keep XYZ app open" or "don't ever mess with this one thing here", etc etc). That would be a fail :wink:

So what we have going now is good enough.

1 Like

Compared Life360 to Google Home Presence just for curiousity, working well for me...