Hubitat: A total nightmare in home automation

I've been trying to get one simple home automation thing set up. Detect when Im away, send notifications if I am, detect when Im home.

Thats it.

I have 3 degrees in computer science and programming and even I cannot figure this ■■■■ out.

Id imagine the vast majority of people who purchase these things need that one basic function to perform pretty much anything in home automation.

Not via the hubitat app, it sucks.
Not via Life360, its not compatible with my phone.
Not OwnTracks, after 2 weeks of trial and error still couldn't get that to work.

Again im looking for something SIMPLE. If its a 14 page long forum post I have to read, I dont have the time for it.

Ive been trying for a month now to figure out how to get this done on your platform and after 4 weeks of searching, installing various apps, fumbling around with various configurations, reading guide after guide after guide after guide after guide, driving in circles around my town testing this dumb ■■■■ out, ive finally had it.

I set this up in 15 minutes in SmartThings.
If theres not one simple guide for setting this up then Im afraid Im going to have to return this before my warranty runs out.

Any suggestions before I return this literal piece of garbage and purchase something easier to configure from one of your competitors?

I've used OwnTracks for about 5 months on a Google Pixel (original), and for 1 year on an iPhone SE (2nd gen). It has worked with 100% accuracy.

Thanks to its accuracy, I get automations to run when I'm reach home, reach work, and other specific destinations (Costco, grocery store).

To be fair, I have OwnTracks connect to my own MQTT server. And my phone is constantly connected via a VPN (wireguard) to my home network.

I have zero degrees in computer science and programming.

Also, FWIW, Life360 and Locative also work fine on my iPhone SE.


Seems like you got a couple of answers already in your previous thread on this topic. To repeat them, I’d say the majority of people use a combination of Life360 and WiFi based presence, with 3rd most common being the hubitat app itself. I personally use life360 and WiFi based presence.


Yup. I am using life360 free account for over a year.


I use homebridge and Apples OEM Geofence.... 100%!

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It sounds like you have two questions, how to get presence information into Hubitat and how to get a notification when it becomes not present. It also sounds like most (all?) of your problems revolve around this first issue. Unfortunately, that is indeed, a bit tricky for many people. The app seems historically unreliable for presence detection for many people, though there are some improvements lately that might help. To make it better, I've combined mine with one other method, as it appears was also suggested above, because at least one of them normally sends presence events as I expect. (Part of the problem here seems to be that Android and iOS are both making it more difficult for users to choose to allow apps access to presence all the time, which you need to do to make this reliable.)

I have iOS, and in my case I'm combining it with a device I have exposed to HomeKit via HomeBridge. There may be similar options for Android. On either platform, if you have an Alexa device, they are also capable of turning switches on/off with presence, and I've heard some people do that, too. I've also seen the solutions mentioned above elsewhere: OwnTracks, Life360, Locative, and likely others I can't remember. You'll then need some way to "combine" these into a single sensor you can use for your actual automations. There are some communtiy apps geared towards this purpose, but with only two devices a rule isn't that hard to write, either.

Once you get that working, the notification part is pretty easy. Basic Rule would be a good place to start: just choose for a presence sensor becoming not present and to send a notification (which itself is also something you'll have to set up, but the Hubitat mobile app is one option for this, too--a more reliable one than presence, I should note).


This reminds me that Google home introduced presence detection with their app too. So you could do something similar to what Bert suggested with google home as well.


It doesn't, it's been the most reliable part for me by a mile on all my devices (android). It still uses geo so I also combine it with the WiFi presence sensor driver and "combined presence" app.

You need to reserve your phone's IP on your router to use it but once that's sorted and set up you will have a notification device as well as a reliable presence sensor.

I also have life 360 but I use that for another trigger to show I'm arriving into the town.


You seem like an ideal candidate for returning your device. You're right. This thing that so many others have working well is just terrible. Must be the device. You should move on and never look back. Good idea. Today.


It is easy for many to dismiss your gripes about the difficulties with setting up presence detection, and I should admit I probably counted myself in that category upon reading a very scathing OP, even though I have an equally frustrating record with presence detection. I think the thing that can put people offside can be that this is a, mostly, very welcoming and supportive Community who are more than happy to help those seeking assistance in a constructive way. Most of us have our grievances about aspects of the platform, some are impacted by them more than others. There is nothing wrong with airing these frustrations, but to choose to shift to another platform due to one feature not working for you, may be seen by some as short-selling HE.

I know by now the length of this post may seem a little self-indulgent and overblown, so I will get to the point... I would strongly urge you to explore other aspects of the HE to see if the positives, for your situation and setup, out-weigh any negative first impressions you have experienced.



I use Smartthings presence / arrival sensors. They worked well with ST after building a solid zigbee mesh and still work well after migrating to HE. Like several others i also use Apple’s geofence w/ homebridge. I combine the ST key fob presence w/ Apple’s geofence presence and a lock code from my lock into a single presence device and as long as my home has power it nails my presence 100% of the time.


The issue is some Android and iPhones now change their Mac addresses dynamically for security so you have to turn off that feature in order for the reserved ip to work.


Some threads from when I first got frustrated with this also talked about the Hubitat app and the gps not staying active, not sure if this has already been covered... I remember at the time those that turned off the battery optimisation and used apps like Android Auto had some success.

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I see from your other thread on this topic that your using an Android 6 phone. I'm SHOCKED that the battery in that phone even still holds a charge! Typical cell phone batteries only last 3 to 4 years (most only 2 years).

For what it's worth, here is my suggestions:

  • Get a modern phone! Android 6 is not even supported by Google anymore. So why would you expect it to be here?
  • Use the Life360 free version (no, it's not just for mom's tracking their kids - as you wrote in your other post)
  • Setup one of the Ping apps available. There are several and when combined with Life360, gives a rock solid way to detect presence.
  • All else fails, use your 3 degrees and programming skills to make your own app to do exactly what you want it to do!

Good Luck


Because you have a background in programming you may want to try the app webCoRE. I have a programing background too and have difficulty using most of the automations contained in Hubitat. Not that their apps are bad, they're just different from the structure I've been trained in making it difficult wrapping my head around their way of doing things

I use webCoRE exclusively for 100% of my automations. One app for everything with a structure that I can deal with. I haven't run into a case yet where webCoRE couldn't do what I want. Good Luck

I had issues with presence as well when I came to HE. In ST I only used the app and it worked pretty well. For some reason HE could never duplicate that success.

I like others use a combination of things for presence. I use the Alexa app, which is actually my main presence device, it works about 99% of the time. It will still have an occasional miss. I also use wifi presence, the HE app and a home activity presence detector app I made in RM. With this combination of presence sensors I get 99.9% accuracy. On that rare occasion it doesn't work I get a notification that something is amiss.

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