Skip to main content

HomeKit

Your home at your command.

See All Stories

What is HomeKit / Apple Home?

Along with several other new APIs for developers, Apple announced HomeKit in June 2014, which allows all home automation accessories/devices to work together in harmony with iOS. The API allows home automation developers to centralize all home automation without needing separate apps to access each device’s specific features. These devices include locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs, switches, and more.

HomeKit allows for secure pairing with devices and the ability to control individual devices. It also makes it possible to group several home automation devices into scenes that allow for easier control of any automation device in specific situations. One of the coolest features available with HomeKit is the ability to control any home automation accessory with Siri based on certain commands or scenes previously configured with these devices.

In 2016, Apple introduced a new Home app that came with a modern look, relatively easy-to-use controls, and access to accessories and scenes from anywhere on iOS 10. Apple’s new built-in Home app arrived on the iPhone’s Home screen, plus you can access a ton of functions from the Lock screen or anywhere on iOS from the new Control Center once you have a HomeKit accessory set up.

In 2018, Apple released the HomePod. It was a way to interact with your connected home devices through Siri using a standalone device.

In 2020, Apple announced that tvOS 14 would gain access to the Home app. iOS 14 is also bringing improvement to the Home app UI.

#gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

HomeKit Secure Video

With iOS 13, Apple announced HomeKit Secure Video.

Footage from home security cameras contains your most personal and sensitive data. With HomeKit Secure Video, activity detected by supported cameras is privately analyzed by your home hub using on‑device intelligence to determine if people, pets, or cars are present. When important activity is detected, you and anyone you share your Home app with will receive a rich notification that lets you view the clip right from the Lock Screen. Recorded video is available to view for ten days from the Home app. It’s securely stored for free in supported iCloud accounts and doesn’t count against your storage limit.

While the rollout has been slow, Logitech, Arlo, Netatmo, and Eufy are among the early standouts. With recent privacy issues with Ring, HomeKit Secure Video is likely to continue to grow in popularity. One key benefit with Secure Video is that it works with your existing iCloud storage (200GB and up plan), so you don’t have an extra monthly fee for storage.

HomeKit Router

HomeKit Router was also announced with iOS 13, but it wasn’t released until early 2020. The idea behind the feature is you can give granular control to smart home enabled devices to control where on the internet they can reach.

eero was the first company to roll out support in for HomeKit Router.

With Apple HomeKit, eero gives you even more protection of your HomeKit accessories and an easy way to manage what they are allowed to communicate with in your home and through the internet.

There are three levels of security Apple offers for accessories paired with HomeKit routers:

  • Restrict to Home: Most secure. Your accessory can interact only with HomeKit through your Apple devices. The accessory won’t connect to the Internet or any local devices, so any third-party services, like firmware updates, might be blocked.
  • Automatic: Default security. Your accessory can communicate with HomeKit and connections recommended by its manufacturer.
  • No Restriction: Least secure. This setting bypasses the secure router and allows your accessory to interact with any device in your network or Internet-based service.

How Do You Use HomeKit?

Homekit app

HomeKit devices can be controlled from iPad, iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and HomePod. A 4th generation Apple TV (or newer) is an essential Apple smart home device as it acts as a bridge over iCloud to allow access to your devices when away from home.

9to5Mac’s Bradley Chambers does a regular column about the “Apple Home” lifestyle in his HomeKit Weekly column.

Popular Reviews

Philips Hue Matter support delayed, but slicker performance promised

Philips Hue Matter support | Living room scene

Late last year, Philips Hue Matter support was said to be coming “by March 2023.” With just a few days left before that deadline, the company has now said that the release date has been put back to an unspecified time.

It’s the latest delay to hit the industry-wide Matter standard, which was itself pushed back from a planned 2020 launch to late 2022 …

Expand Expanding Close
Eve HomeKit

Eve announces Matter firmware upgrades are coming on April 17 for a more reliable HomeKit experience

Eve has been at the forefront of the Matter upgrades for its products, and today, it has announced the release of its latest line of out-of-the-box Matter-enabled devices. Customers can now purchase the Eve Energy smart plug for North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom, while the Eve Motion and Eve Door & Window sensors will be available on April 17. Existing users of the latest HomeKit and Thread-enabled models of Eve Energy, Eve Motion, and Eve Door & Window can also upgrade their devices to Matter for free via the Eve app for iPhone and iPad starting April 17.

Expand Expanding Close

HomeKit Weekly: Aqara brings HomeKit Secure Video to a battery-powered doorbell for the first time

Aqara Video Doorbell G4

Smart doorbells have become a popular option for homeowners who want to keep an eye on their front door while also triggering some HomeKit automation as well. Battery-powered doorbells are easy to install and offer a range of features that make them an excellent alternative to traditional wired doorbells. In this week’s HomeKit Weekly, we’ll look at the benefits of battery-powered doorbells and review the Aqara G4 video doorbell, a wireless smart doorbell that offers a range of features and benefits for folks looking for an easy-to-install HomeKit doorbell.

Expand Expanding Close

HomeKit Weekly: This one HomeKit item might save you thousands of dollars

FIBARO water leak sensor

I’ve always been paranoid about water damage in my home. We have hardwood floors throughout our home. If you’re a homeowner, you know the cost of repairing them if you have water damage. A slow drip from a leaky sink can turn into thousands of dollars in repair costs. Thankfully, with a HomeKit-enabled flood sensor from FIBARO, you can easily know when there’s water where there shouldn’t be before it turns into a major issue. Read on to learn why the FIBARO water leak sensor is the ideal option to use under all of your sinks.

Expand Expanding Close

HomeKit Weekly: Does Home Key support make the Level Lock+ the best smart lock?

Level Lock+

I’ve tried a number of smart locks over the years. I’ve typically always landed on the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock as my go-to recommendation because it was easy to install, didn’t require you to use a new key, and also let the outside deadbolt remain the same to fit in with the exterior of your home. I recently installed the Level Lock+ with Home Key support – keep reading to learn if it’s the best smart lock on the market.

Expand Expanding Close

Review: How to solve the biggest problem with Philips Hue smart bulbs

Philips Hue bulbs are one of the easiest ways to give your existing light fixtures smart home capabilities, including through Apple’s HomeKit platform. The problem with Philips Hue switches is that whenever a wall light switch is flipped off, the smart lights become unresponsive. The Lutron Aurora dimmer is a simple yet ingenious way to solve this problem.

Expand Expanding Close

HomeKit Weekly: XOME Homebridge adds 3000+ compatible accessories to HomeKit

XOME

Homebridge is an open-source platform that allows you to control and automate your home using Apple’s HomeKit technology, even if the devices don’t support it natively. While it can be run on countless devices for free, there are times when you want a plug-and-play solution that’s low-powered and can be tucked out of the way. This problem is exactly what the IONEXX XOME Homebridge for HomeKit aims to solve.

Expand Expanding Close

HomeKit Weekly: A review of the HomeKit-compatible SmartWings shades

SmartWings HomeKit Shade

One of the hardest things to balance when it comes to technology in the home is striking the happy medium between stylish and functional. Shades are a perfect example of that. Every technology person wants the latest bells and whistles, while someone who cares about design wants something that looks like it contains no technology. I recently installed a couple of the HomeKit-compatible SmartWings shades, and it’s quickly become one of my favorite smart home products. In this week’s HomeKit Weekly, we will be taking a closer look at the SmartWing HomeKit shade, diving into its features, benefits, and why they are designer-approved.

Expand Expanding Close

iOS 16.4 reintroduces new HomeKit architecture that was pulled due to multiple issues

iOS 16.4 reintroduces new HomeKit architecture that was pulled due to multiple issues

When iOS 16 was announced, Apple mentioned that it would introduce a new architecture for the Home app to enhance the experience of using HomeKit accessories. The feature was officially released with iOS 16.2, but Apple quickly pulled it from the system after multiple reports that the new architecture was causing compatibility issues with smart home accessories. Now this architecture is back with iOS 16.4.

Expand Expanding Close

HomeKit Weekly: Why the Google Nest doorbell might be the best HomeKit doorbell available

Google Nest Doorbell

As I was building my new house, I found myself struggling with the decision of which doorbell to go with. I have always been a fan of the privacy and security offered by HomeKit Secure Video, but I was also looking for a doorbell with 24/7 recording. I found myself torn between my love for the privacy of HomeKit and the need for 24/7 recording. After much research, I ended up on Google’s Nest Doorbell. It offered the 24/7 recording feature I was looking for, but I was hesitant about the lack of end-to-end encryption. But ultimately, I decided to go with the Nest doorbell because it’s not a camera inside my home, and the benefits of the 24/7 recording feature outweighed the concern about the encryption.

Expand Expanding Close

Does Homebridge even Matter any more? [Video]

Keeping a unified smart home – where any smart phone or home assistant can be used to control any smart home device you have – can be a bit of challenge. Previously, many iPhone users have used Homebridge to connect otherwise unsupported devices to Apple’s Home app. But the Matter standard could make that unnecessary, as Matter compatible devices will be compatible with Amazon, Google, and Apple’s smart home ecosystems. That begs the question: Will Matter make Homebridge obsolete?

Expand Expanding Close

HomeKit Weekly: VOCOlinc smart LED floor lamp offers a modern way to light up a bedroom or office

VOCOlinc Smart LED floor lamp

VOCOlinc, a highly underrated HomeKit manufacturer, released a new addition to its portfolio in 2022 that I am excited to review: a smart LED floor lamp. This lamp is not just any ordinary floor lamp, it comes with HomeKit integration, making it a powerful tool for enhancing your smart home setup. In this post, I’ll take a closer look at the design and features of the VOCOlinc Smart LED Floor Lamp, how to add it to HomeKit, and potential use cases.

Expand Expanding Close

HomeKit Weekly: Kasa EP40A sports double outdoor outlets with long-range Wi-Fi connectivity

Kasa EP40A

TP-Link is one of those brands that when you run across one of their product lines, you know you can count on it. I’ve used their switches in my home for as long as I can remember, and it’s as rock solid as you’d imagine. They’ve quietly been building out the Kasa product line, and in my experience, they’ve followed the same dependability as the networking hardware. The brand-new Kasa EP40A brings robust HomeKit control to outdoor outlets, giving you more control over how you use your outdoor lights and appliances than ever before.

Expand Expanding Close

HomeKit Weekly: Wemo Smart Plug with Thread might be the best value for smart outlet adaptors

Wemo Smart Plug With Thread

Smart outlet adaptors, like the Wemo Smart Plug with Thread, are a great smart home device for newcomers looking to bing some basic home automation to into their lives. Wemo is Belkin’s smart home brand, and they’re actually the very first smart home product I bought nearly ten years ago. Version 4 builds upon previous versions, but brings a HomeKit only focus to the device. Smart outlet adaptors are great devices to have in every room in your home, and here’s three reasons why:

Expand Expanding Close

HomeKit Weekly: The current state of HomeKit door locks

HomeKit Door Lock

Are you tired of fumbling with keys every time you want to enter your home? Do you worry about the security of traditional locks, especially when you’re away from home? If so, it might be time to consider a HomeKit door lock. HomeKit door locks are smart locks that can be controlled and monitored through your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch. With HomeKit, you can unlock your door with the tap of a button, or even just by using your voice. You can also set up automation rules to unlock your door at certain times of day, or when certain events occur, such as your arrival home.

Expand Expanding Close