SimpliSafe has been on my radar for a while. I’ve heard their ads on the radio pitched by Dave Ramsey, a personal finance personality. The company is known for inexpensive monitoring starting at $15 per month with no contract. You pay up front for the system, which can be purchased through the SimpliSafe website or retailers like Amazon.com.
Installing the system was ridiculously easy. However, as a Mac user I experienced many problems and ultimately had to fall back and setup the system manually, which worked but was frustrating.
The system includes an adhesive to place components around your house. The instruction manual provided a few tips for placement. Peel off the backing and slap the sensor up on the wall, simple as that. I had a few sensors I relocated because I didn’t like their placement and had no problems. Mounting screws are also included which I saved but have not used as I didn’t want to put more holes in my wall until I was sure the system worked for me.
Although I’ve only been using the system for a few months, I haven’t had any trouble with sensors becoming falling off. If it becomes a problem, I’ll use the included screws for more stability. The removable adhesive makes SimpliSafe ideal for people living in apartments or rentals as they can move the system with them.
Unfortunately, setup was anything but simple. I inserted the keychain remote (which is also a USB drive) in my Mac and ran into nothing but trouble. First, I had to install Adobe Flash (the Chrome workaround trick wouldn’t work). Then, I found the out-of-date setup tool would only work with Firefox, which I didn’t have installed. Finally, after repeated crashes and problems, a call to customer service confirmed that their setup utility isn’t compatible with Sierra. Here’s the response from customer support:
“Thanks for letting us know about the issue. We have found that since the introduction of MacOS X 10.9 (Mavericks), the SimpliSafe app in your Keychain Remote may have trouble launching the Easy Setup Wizard consistently. Our engineers have created a workaround that may be able to help. Please download the following disc image file: http://SimpliSafe.com/files/easysetup/SimpliSafe-easysetup.dmg”
It’s obvious Mac Support isn’t a priority. Notably, the above workaround doesn’t work with Sierra, which by now has been out almost a year. Of course, no mention of this before you buy the product. I finally resorted to manually configuring the components of my system using the keypad. Since I only had a few components, this wasn’t too bad, but still felt woefully antiquated.
Once I was ready to connect my system to monitoring, SimpliSafe uses a cellular connection via either T-mobile or Verizon to contact their monitoring system. Except…I couldn’t. I relocated my base station to a few different places in my home but could establish a reliable connection.
I learned that SimpliSafe base stations ship by default with T-Mobile SIMs. Unfortunately, T-Mobile has bad coverage in my area. After another call to customer support, they shipped out a new circuit board for my base station with a Verizon chip. The swap-out was easy but still delayed me a few more days.
By this time I was pretty frustrated with SimpliSafe and about ready to pack up the system and send it back. Once the new Verizon card was installed, my system came online and started working as advertised. While I imagine most users probably won’t run into the problems I did, they were frustrating nonetheless.