Presence Sensing

I am new to Hubitat and I have hit a problem with Presence sensing. I have followed all the documentation steps, installed the IOS app, created the devices, setup the geofences and set the IOS "Location" to Always but can't get it to work. I have another Home Automation app on these two phones and that reports their presence back to the program flawlessly.

I've searched through the the posts and see a lot of comments on this subject and a few work arounds. Does this mean that Presence sensing using the app is no longer supported by Hubitat?

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I have an Android phone and it seems to work perfectly for me. My wife however, uses an iPhone and the geolocation with the Hubitat app is ALWAYS unreliable for her device. Most of the time, it seems to track her LEAVING pretty reliably, but its the RETURNING that is constantly messing up. If you have a similar situation, here's what I did:

1: Install the iphone location app on hubitat and set up a virtual device for the phone in question.
2: Make sure the phone in question has a DHCP reservation in your router or has a static IP by some other means.
3: Use that IP in the virtual device properties to locate the phone by wifi.
4: Create a rule that essentially goes:
- TRIGGER - virtual iphone is present
- ACTION - Set attribute "presence" of the Hubitat-created Phone App device to "present"
5: Continue using the Hubitat Phone App device as the primary means to indicate presence.

This works 99% of the time in my case. Hopefully it helps for you.

If your wifi network is pretty reliable at your entire home, you could create a similar rule for departures based off the iphone app departure. However, if wifi is off or something else is wrong this would likely produce false departures unless you use a pretty long timeout.


Solid concept. IP detection is one of the only ways I bother trying to detect presence (other is deadbolt codes), and as you say, so long as WiFi is being cool it works.

I even use IP "presence" for tracking family member activities as needed (TV on? It's IP shows up, etc.).


I use an iPhone and presence works very reliably for me using the community App "Combined Presence" - @joelwetzel

I setup three "devices" to track my presence and have them combined using Combined Presence.
I use..
1 x Hubitat App
1 x Locative App
1 x Home WiFi (iphone WiFi Presence Driver - @joelwetzel)

During initial setup, I built a dashboard to show the status of each of the above and the Combined Presence, at a glance. This was a huge benefit to me and I wish I could take credit for the idea but it was from another forum member.


I found the HE presence and location to be useless because it was so inaccurate. I could leave or return for hours and HE wouldn't have a clue that I left or returned hours before. To be fair, I had the same issue with SmartThings too. So for both platforms, I loaded webCoRE presence and it works perfectly. It's odd to me that the accuracy can be so much better by just changing software. But, it certainly does.


Many thanks for the replies and I agree with using other sensors to augment the geofence. However I have another Home Automation program running on Windows with an iPhone app and its geofence works every time.

Where is the response from the Hubitat guys, this is a built in feature so it should work!


The few times I attempted to use Hubitat's built-in geofencing feature (on the mobile app), I found it lacking. But I attributed that to vagaries of mobile devices generally, not so much to the software in question. If I need higher resolution or reliability, I'd turn to the one(s) "people are talking about all the time", like Life360 app and others.

Keep in mind, iPhones now create random mac addresses so trying to do a dhcp reservation is impossible with this situation as the mac address continues to change.
you would need to turn off the private wifi address option on the wifi of the iPhone and set a static ip in the iphone. but, this would remain unreliable as apple tends to change the default settings when the ios updates. so the next update would likely re-enable this.

i see that android also has this feature.

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You can disable this on a per-network basis in the iPhone network settings.


I was hoping something new on presence detection showed up at CES :-). I've not heard of any new announcements.

At any rate, presence detection remains the holy grail.

My solution came from a realization that my motion sensors needed to be highly sensitive, report frequently, timeout quickly, and not eat batteries.

The rest is solved by Hubitat's Zone Motion Controller app.

  1. Hubitat (of course)

  2. NYCE motion sensors (one per room)

  3. Zone motion controllers (one per room)

Adjust the timeout as needed.

As they say, I have not touched a light switch in years. In fact, the light switches are all covered, not that it stops visitors LOL.

PS: Another trick making this work is to add a trigger for when the Zone Motion Controller state CHANGES.

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It’s simpler and less likely to cause other issues if you set a DHCP reservation on your router, rather than a static IP on the iPhone itself.


Like others, I combine a couple tiers of sensors into virtual presence sensors:

  • My wife and I each have:
    • Car sensor reports when our car arrives/leaves
    • Phone app reports location; mine seems more consistent than hers, probably because I actually launch the Hubitat app occasionally.
    • Wi-Fi tests whether our phones are on the network. IP doesn't matter, since I can query for the presence of a MAC address.
  • @jwetzel1492's Combined Presence merges these three into an overall sensor for each of us
  • A virtual presence sensor + switch is a manually triggered "Babysitter Mode" which indicates the house is still occupied when we aren't home; the switch makes this an easy voice command to Google. It turns off if either parent returns home. (My mom's phone also triggers this sensor, another Combined Presence rule.)
  • A virtual presence sensor called "Anyone But Mike"; certain automations are enabled/disabled if an adult who isn't me is in the house.
  • A virtual presence sensor called "Anyone" indicates if the house is empty or not. I use this instead of the Away mode, so that the Hub Mode can always reflect light levels. Automations that actually care about presence instead of light look at this presence sensor.

What iphone location app?

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I use “locative” App with my iPhone and Combined Presence App in Hubitat and never have issues with presence.

Download the Hubitat app