A smart home is supposed to be easy to use, but if you have to control every device separately, it’s not easy at all. Apple’s HomeKit is one of the easier-to-use home automation systems. By using some of these Apple HomeKit tips, you’ll quickly discover just how powerful this system is and enjoy your smart home even more.
From complex automations based on custom rules to a fully connected home for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, HomeKit gives you full control over your smart home. All you have to do is know how to set it all up.
Share Control with Other Users
Usually, you’ll want more than one person to be able to adjust and control the devices in your home. The Home app (in iOS) allows you to add users and even control permissions for those users.
You will need a home hub device, such as HomePod or Apple TV. This is so there’s always a central hub in place for your smart home devices to connect to. Otherwise, other users must be in your home and on the same Wi-Fi network to access devices.
The process to share control with other users is simple:
- Open the Home app.
- Select the home you want to share control with under “Home Settings.”
- Tap Invite under People.
- Enter the person’s Apple ID and tap Send.
All that’s left is for the other person to open their Home app and accept your invitation.
Zones are one of the more useful Apple HomeKit tips. Instead of trying to control devices individually, create zones that include all devices in a single room or multiple rooms.
You could group by upstairs and downstairs or just your living room. It’s a three-part process to create and manage your zones. You do everything from within the Home app.
First, you have to create individual rooms:
- Tap the Rooms tab within the Home app.
- Choose “Room Settings.”
- Tap “Add Room.”
- Select a name to give your room and tap Save.
Once you have a room set up, it’s time to assign your smart accessories to it:
- Long-press any accessory/device in your Home app.
- Tap Settings and choose Room.
- Select the room you want to assign the device to.
Finally, it’s time to create a zone:
- Tap the Rooms tab and go to “Room Settings.”
- Tap a room you’d like to add to a zone.
- Tap Zone. You’ll be prompted to select an existing zone or create a new one.
- Tap Done.
Now, you can adjust entire zones at one time or skip zones and just adjust individual rooms, which is still much easier than individual devices. Simply say the name of your room or zone when giving commands.
Create Automation Workflows
Wouldn’t it be nice to come home and your smart home adjusts to your preferences? HomeKit automations make this incredibly easy to do. You can create an automation based on three criteria – time, location, or action. Automations will either adjust specific accessories or start a scene. Scenes are groups of accessories that run all at once, such as lights coming on when you come home.
If you want to automate scenes, you’ll first have to set up a scene:
- In the Home app, tap the “+” sign and choose “Add Scene.”
- Choose a suggested scene name or create one of your own.
- Tap “Add Accessories” and choose the accessories you want.
- Choose Done.
- Press and hold any accessory to adjust the settings based on your scene.
- When finished, tap Done.
Once you have scenes in place, you’re ready to create automations:
- Tap the Automation tab in the Home app.
- Choose “A Time of Day Occurs” (for time-based), “When People Arrive” or “People Leave” (for location), or “An Accessory Is Controlled” (for action).
- Select the accessories and/or scenes to run.
- Press and hold any accessory to change its settings.
- Tap Done.
You can actually combine automation types, such as a location, with a time-based automation. You’ll need to enable your location settings on your iPhone for location-based automations to work. With location, automations work even as you move from room to room.
Use iPad as a Home Hub
Ideally, Apple would love for you to buy a HomePod or Apple TV to serve as your home hub. However, using an iPad instead is one of the more commonly overlooked Apple HomeKit tips. All you have to do is ensure your iPad stays at home and connected to your Wi-Fi network. This is a great option if you’re planning to upgrade your iPad or never take it with you.
If you do take your iPad out of network range, your HomeKit settings won’t work again until the iPad is back. Open your iCloud settings and ensure Home is on. Open Settings and tap Home. Turn on Use this iPad as a Home Hub, and you’re done.
Control Your Home via Apple TV
You may already know you can use your Apple TV as your hub to control your HomeKit-connected devices. However, if you have many Bluetooth devices, adding additional Apple TVs to your home will allow you to connect all those Bluetooth smart-home devices to your network so you can control them the same way as your Wi-Fi connected devices.
With so many settings available in the Home app, there’s very little you can’t accomplish. Start with these Apple HomeKit tips and see just what you can do.
Image Credit: Fastily via Wikimedia Commons