Canary thinks my school-attending daughter is still at home!


#1

My daughters have started back to school this past week. The school that they attend is three blocks from our home. My older daughter has an iPhone, and we have the Canary app installed on her phone so that it can detect when she comes and goes and change the mode accordingly. She keeps the phone in her backpack in her locker (on silent mode) while she is at school. We have our address and physical location properly identified in the Canary app. And the Geofence is set to the “Small” size.

Unfortunately, the problem is that Canary still thinks my older daughter is at home and never switches to “Away” mode after I drop my girls off at school. I can only assume that even though the size of the Geofence is set to “Small”, her school only being 3 blocks away is still too close, and Canary considers her home. Is there any way to set the Geofence size even smaller?

When I look at the radius of the “Small” Geofence size, it shows my daughter’s school outside of the highlighted area. It should not be picking up my daughter’s phone. However, it is! Also, even the “Small” Geofence size is still too big for our purposes. It encompasses an area the size of about one block in all directions around our house. There is no reason it needs to be that big. We like to go for multiple walks around our neighborhood. Even with the “Small” Geofence size, it will still think we’re at home and never switch to away mode while we’re on walks, and would never alert us to any unusual activity at home while we’re out walking.


#2

Hi @RobbW,

Thanks for sharing this with us, and I am very sorry to hear that even the “small” radius is giving you trouble.

We are somewhat limited with geofence size to how accurately the location services on your phone can be expected to detect you on a consistent basis. If we make the geofence too small, you might experience problems with the phone detecting you as away when you’re home simply because location services can’t pinpoint you that precisely at all times. Because of this we can have issues with situations like yours where a Canary user spends a lot of time at a location very close to home.

One thing you can try is adjusting the position of your geofence so it’s slightly further from your daughter’s school while still covering your home. While we can’t guarantee that this will work 100% of the time, it should be an improvement for your particular use case. You can do this by going to your geofence settings and manually dragging the pin under “Edit position”.

Hope that helps!


#3

Thanks for the response, @angie.

I can’t seem to figure out why Canary keeps thinking my daughter’s phone is still at home when she is actually at school a couple blocks away. I tried your suggestion of adjusting the position of the geofence so that the very edge of the “bubble” of the geofence still includes my house, but is even farther away from my daughter’s school. That did not work. It still shows her at home, and thus, my Canary system is still in “home”. Canary shows my wife and myself away. My wife works 35+ miles away from home in Downtown Chicago, and I work 15+ miles from home.

To test whether the geofence is properly based on location, I tried a test. I edited the position of our “Home” and moved the geofence bubble on top of my workplace, which is 15 miles from home. The Canary app now shows that I am at “Home”. However, it also still shows that my daughter is home. I also move the geofence bubble on top of my wife’s workplace 35 miles away. The Canary app now shows me away from home, and my wife at home. It also still shows my daughter at home.

I just don’t get it. Oddly enough, Canary seems to accurately track when my daughter is leaving home and arriving back home over the weekend. I am reviewing the Timeline, and it is showing my daughter leaving and coming back home several times over this past weekend. And the mode properly changes from Home to Away and back again accordingly. However, this morning, now that she is back at school again, Canary is once again showing my daughter as home.

Is it possible that certain settings on an iPhone cause the Canary to not accurately track a member’s location? I know that my daughter’s school does not like students to have phones in school. So, if they bring them into school, students must leave their phones in their lockers and put them into silent mode. I know that my daughter puts her iPhone SE into silent mode using the little sliding switch on the side of the phone. Also, she goes into settings and puts her phone into “Do Not Disturb” mode so that she does not receive any notifications during the school day. Would these settings affect Canary’s ability to properly detect her location?

Also, is it necessary for the Canary app to be open and running in the background on the phone in order for the Canary system to be able to detect your location? Or does that only affect its ability to send you motion/activity notifications?


#4

Just a quick follow up now that the morning fog has lifted, and I’m thinking clearer about things. I know there was one day last week or the week before when my daughter had accidentally forgotten her phone at home. So, that would explain why Canary still showed her at home that day. Also, last Monday or Tuesday, I checked my daughter’s phone right before I drove her to school to drop her off. I noticed her phone was turned off. I asked her why it was off, and she told me it was because she would get in trouble for having her phone on while at school. Knowing that an iPhone always reports its last know location, I realized that her iPhone would be reporting her location as at home even when she was at school since she was at home when she turned her phone off. I told her to go ahead and keep her phone on, but to just put it in silent mode and keep it in “Do Not Disturb” mode while she is at school. Her phone stays in her backpack in her locker while at school anyway. So, it shouldn’t get her into trouble if it is left on but in silent and “Do Not Disturb” modes.


#5

Hi @RobbW,

That would definitely explain some of the issues you’ve been having. While having the phone set to “Do Not Disturb” or silenced isn’t a problem, the phone does need to be on with cellular data, Wi-Fi, and location services enabled in order for the app to detect your daughter’s departures and arrivals. I hope that since she’s started leaving it turned on while in class you’re seeing better performance.


#6

Nope. Just got done checking my Canary app, and it shows her at home. Therefore, Canary is still in “Home” mode. So, I’m not receiving any activity alerts! Ugh! There HAS to be an answer to this. I can’t figure out why this won’t work with her phone.

The part that is really confusing me is that Canary will not update the mode based on my daughter’s location regardless of where I set my home’s position in the geofence setting. It always thinks she is home. Just now, I changed my address and my geofence position to an address in Oakland, California (I really live in the Chicago suburbs). Canary still shows my daughter as home!

If I set the geofence position to my work location, which is 15 miles from my home, Canary will now show me as home, and also my daughter. If I set the geofence position to my wife’s work in Downtown Chicago, it shows her as home, me as away, and my daughter as home. No matter where I set the geofence position and our home address, Canary always shows my daughter as home.

Even if my daughter had turned off her phone, and therefore Canary was using her last known position, it should still say that my daughter is “Away” if I change the geofence position all the way to the far West Coast!


#7

Okay, here’s what I’m going to try tonight. I don’t know why I didn’t think to do this sooner. When I get home from work, I will completely delete the Canary app and all its data from my daughter’s iPhone and then reinstall it. I had some other issue with the Canary app on my iPhone a couple weeks ago, and one of the beta testers suggested I delete and reinstall it. That cleared up my problem immediately. I’m hoping it will do the same for my daughter’s phone. I will report back tomorrow morning after dropping my daughter off at school.


#8

Hi @RobbW,

If you haven’t read them already, these articles on our Help Center offer a lot of specific advice for troubleshooting geofencing issues:

Why won’t Canary detect when I am Home or Away?
How can I troubleshoot location settings? (iOS)

If you’re still not able to get it working, I’d recommend opening a ticket with our support team so they can help you investigate further into what might be going on.


#9

Okay, @angie. I believe I finally figured it out. After a prolonged troubleshooting session with me and my daughter, I stumbled across the fact that she had signed into the Canary app on her phone using my login credentials rather than her own. Once I had her log out and then back in again using her own account, everything started working as it should. Sorry for all the confusion. And thanks for your help!

Robb


#10

That’s great, I’m glad you were able to sort it out!