So what's the most reliable way to sense presence

I'm running a C8 hub on and previously had a C5. Not having issues with any automations but I'm still struggling to find a reliable solution to presence sensing. Specifically arrivals.

There are no issues with the system sensing when I leave and going into 'away' mode but it rarely seems to know when I'm home so it can switch back to normal modes.

For instance; yesterday I had to run out to get some gas for a pressure washer. It knew that I left and put the system in 'away' mode but when I got back, I was connected to WiFi and well within the geofence for over an hour. When I eventually opened the door to come inside I got the 'door open' notification as if I was still away. Sure enough I had to go to the Hubitat App and go into / out of the Geofence section before it recognized that I was home and set itself back to a normal mode.

I have Geofence enabled in the Hubitat App. It's set to send presence only while in motion, validate location on network change is enabled. For a while I also had Show Status Bar Location Indicator enabled but that didn't help either.

I also had an iOS automation set up to open the Hubitat app when I arrived home and disconnected from CarPlay to see if that would help but nah.

Sometimes it does sense that I'm arriving but 90% of the time it does not. I used to use Life360 but even with that it was inconsistent.

So I'm curious what is the most recent and reliable method of having the system know when I'm home (geofence) and setting itself to a normal mode.

You could search for this question to see how others have answered it over the years.

Short version is ..

Any presence strategy based on your mobile device can't do any better than your phone/carrier ability to report presence. That's the primary limiting factor, and no application can overcome that.

Some prefer to combine multiple strategies (phone app/wi-fi/etc.) into one for better results.

Life 360 used to be the app of choice for many, but no longer due to new restrictions.

OwnTracks seems to be the hot topic right now. See [RELEASE] OwnTracks for Hubitat Presence Detection - :gear: Custom Apps and Drivers - Hubitat.


If you already have HomeKit integrated, presence detection thru that is a reliable solution -- that's what I moved us to after L360 imploded.

HK is still laggy once in a while (with arrivals in particular), but pretty darn solid overall - certainly not any worse than L360 was.

If you search the community here, the setup instructions have been discussed numerous times.


Agree. A virtual switch that HomeKit can update works the second best for me. But at my mountain house where the cell signal is bad, it can be laggy. For this I have found the most reliable to be using the location of my car via the TeslaMate MQTT integration. Of course, unless youโ€™re looking to buy a $60k device to get this to work, would try your luck with HomeKit (or the Android equivalent)

We use Geofency on our iPhones. Rock solid reliability. Inexpensive.

Personally, I use Apple Home/Homekit with a virtual switch and [UPDATED] iPhone WiFi Presence Sensor all combined into one presence sensor via [RELEASE] Combined Presence. I find the redundancy helps and works well for my wife and I.

I like the SmartThings Arrival Sensor. :slight_smile:

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OwnTracks is the defacto standard for me. THe implementor is insanely aggressive on making it bulletproof.
SmartThings fobs a my second, rock solid, inputs. Too bad there isn't a "second" run of these beauties.


I like the fact that a phone isn't required with ST.

My Departure/Arrival detection is simply based on multiple Motion Sensors (aready used for lighting on/off control), beds occupancy detection and front door open/close status reporting.

True, and I use it for the cleaning service. But the ST presence fob can't be used to turn on driveway lights and get the heat or A/C running when you are within two miles from home like the other solutions can.


I use owntrack on Android, but found it unreliable on my family's phone and had to ask them to start it again every couple of days... so I added the hubitat app and a IP based verification that all goes in Combined Presence app that have been more reliable with all these option!!

Are you using the new version from @lpakula ?
There are almost no issues for any Android/iPhones and so feature packed compard to anything else.
The guy never stops to breath.

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If you use my integration OwnTracks for Hubitat Presence Detection I trigger Android to request a location update once it starts to stale ("bandaid" for the current 2.4.12 PlayStore version). In that version, it seems if you don't move enough over a period of time, that the app errors out and stops sending locations (hence the reset you are talking about). My "bandaid" addresses that.

The OwnTracks team is currently testing 2.5.0 in beta which has a ton of fixes that will make that problem go away once it stabilizes and becomes a public release. I wouldn't recommend the beta for a stable version right now (has some issues), but that should fix the outstanding complaints with OwnTracks.


Hi, thank you for that app, it's really great, I do use yours, but I must be missing something cause all 4 of our phones need us to go back in the app to firce a update even if we all have the notification!

If you enable "remote configuration" on those phones, and then select all of those to get sync'd in the maintenance section, that should reset them to optimal settings.

With the current Play Store version, you do need to open the OwnTracks app on the phone after it restarts, otherwise the app cannot run. My forked version in my project, as well as the upcoming 2.5 version allows it to properly run in the background, so that would no longer be necessary.

Just wanted to pop-in and thank everyone for the suggestions. It's been a few days but so far using HK integration for presence has been awesome.

In case someone else is looking for some steps, here's roughly what I did

  1. In Hubitat I created a generic virtual switch

  2. In Hubitat I added the switch to HomeKit Integration App

  3. In iOS Home App I made sure the newly created switch was added to home page.

  4. In iOS Home App I turned the switch on / off and then made sure the virtual switch in HE was synced to the Home App status

  5. In iOS Home App I created two automations:

    • When I arrive home, turn the switch ON
    • When I leave home, turn the switch OFF
  6. In Hubitat I changed the virtual switch driver to "Virtual Presence With Switch"

  7. In Hubitat I refreshed the switch on the HomeKit Integration App

  8. In Hubitat > Mode Manager I set the virtual switch as the trigger for Away and Returning From Away based on presence

  9. I was home so I made sure to go back into the iOS Home App and turned the switch ON.

Now when I leave home, iOS Home App turns the switch OFF, which triggers HE to go into Away mode. When I arrive home, iOS Home App turns the switch ON which put HE back into 'home' mode.