Stay Connected to Family Without Sharing Your Account

A customer writes in to ask about how he can stay connected to his kids without giving them access to the family’s SmartThings account.

“I’d like to have the ST hub detect when my children arrive home. They both have iPhones. I really do not want them to have the ST App at the risk of changing the setup. How would you approach this situation?” – Tony

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Setting up a “Geo-fence” allows you to get a push notification when people’s smartphones enter and leave a set area.

Good question. The easiest way to stay connected to family members who have smartphones is to share your account with them*. Why? Well… just like sharing pictures or anything on your smartphone, it’s easy and free.

However, if you’re worried that they’ll go in and do things like turn lights on or off, etc., another option is to not share your account with them and instead to give them SmartSense Presence sensors.

SmartSense Presence sensors work much in the same way as a smartphone in that they can send you a push notification whenever they come in and out of a certain range. However, the difference between using a smartphone as a presence detector vs. using a SmartSense Presence sensor is that, with the former, you can create a Geo-fence circle around a location and that will trigger notifications when a phone comes in and out of this range; and with the latter, it will only send you notifications when the Presence sensors come in and out of range of the SmartThings Hub. That is, a Geo-fence can detect presence within a larger area than a Presence sensor.

Hope that that helps. And final tip: If you have two children and need two Presence sensors, you should get this solution–it’ll save you some money vs. buying two individual Presence sensors.

To learn more about how to know when family members, pets, and cars come and go, check out this Spotlight post.


* – To share your account, simply tap on the Menu icon on the top-left of the Dashboard, then select “My Account,” “Manage Users,” and “Add User.” The person will receive a notification from you, and once they accept, voilà, they’re in.

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