Adding an IR Device to the Apple Home App

Cupertino, September 2, 2023

We've all been there. After automating all the lights in your home, upgrading your thermostat and implementing smart plugs throughout the house, there's always that one device that needs to stay outside because it relies on an old-fashioned infrared remote control. MUO VIDEO OF THE DAY SCROLL TO CONTINUE CONTENT If that appeals to you, you'll be pleased to know that recent hardware and software releases finally allow you to add your IR device to the Apple Home app without having to buy a Homebridge need to use or Home Assistant server. Whether it's an electric fireplace, air conditioner or fan, we'll show you how.

What You'll Need

Image Credit: SwitchBot

Since older IR devices don't have direct Home app integration, adding them to your smart home requires more than just a pairing code scan. While the process isn't too complicated, you'll need an extra piece of hardware and a third-party app to make the magic happen. To get started, you'll need a Home app-compatible hub, bridge, or gateway with IR capabilities. Available options include the SwitchBot Hub 2, the Aqara M2 Smart Hub, the Aqara Camera Hub G3, and the Nature Remo Nano. This guide covers the steps for the SwitchBot Hub 2 and the Aqara Camera Hub G3, which is similar to the M2 Smart Hub. Unfortunately, the Nature Remo Nano is exclusive to the Japanese market, so we cannot offer steps for that specific hub.

Next, you need to download and set up the hub you want through its vendor app, and then add it to the Home app. In some cases (like with the SwitchBot Hub 2) you'll need to enable Matter connectivity before adding it to Apple Home.

Finally, you need to make sure all your devices are up to date. This means downloading and installing the latest software version for iOS on your iPhone and Apple Home Hub and applying any firmware updates for your IR hub.

Adding an IR device to Apple Home with the SwitchBot Hub 2

Before adding your IR devices through the SwitchBot Hub 2, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, SwitchBot's IR/Home app implementation doesn't work with learning features. You must choose your IR device from a list of suppliers and model templates. Second, the SwitchBot Hub 2 connects to the Apple Home app via Matter. If you haven't already done so, you'll need to add your Matter smart home service to Apple HomeKit before continuing. Finally, adding your IR device is two parts: adding your IR device to the SwitchBot app and exposing it to Matter/Apple Home.

  1. To add your IR device to SwitchBot:
    1. Launch the SwitchBot app.
    2. Tap on your SwitchBot Hub.
    3. Tap Add remote control.
    4. Tap a device type.
    5. Tap Select manually.
    6. Choose the supplier for your device with one tap.
    7. Tap Got it if the app finds multiple templates.
    8. Tap a button to test IR compatibility or swipe to switch to another template.
    9. Once you've found a match, tap Save.
    10. Enter a name using the iOS keyboard and assign your device to a room.
    11. Tap Save to complete the installation process.
  2. With your IR device in the SwitchBot app, you can now make it visible to the Apple Home app via Matter:
    1. Launch the SwitchBot app.
    2. Tap your SwitchBot Hub 2.
    3. Tap the Settings button at the top of your screen.
    4. Tap Issue Settings (Beta).
    5. Tap Add next to Secondary devices.
    6. Tap your IR device to add it to Matter and Apple Home.

Once complete, your IR device will appear as a tile in the Home app, as will all of your HomeKit and Matter accessories. Just tap it to enable or disable your IR action or add it to Scenes, Automations or Groups from the Home app.

Adding an IR device to Apple Home with the Aqara Camera Hub G3

Adding an IR device from an Aqara Camera Hub G3 to Apple Home consists of three main parts: adding the device, creating a scene and making the scene available to Apple Home . Devices added through Aqara appear just like scenes you create in the Apple Home app.

  1. To add your IR device:
    1. Launch the Aqara Home app on your iOS device.
    2. Tap Accessories on the navigation bar.
    3. Tap your Camera Hub G3.
    4. Tap the More... button in the top right corner of your screen.
    5. Tap Function setting.
    6. Tap Infrared remote control.
    7. Tap Add Remote.
    8. Select a device type or customize with a tap.
    9. Tap the vendor for your device (skip if you previously chose Customize).
    10. Follow the prompts by tapping the desired buttons to test the compatibility of your IR device.
    11. Enter a name for your device using the iOS keyboard and choose a location near your home.
    12. Tap Next.
    13. Customize the look of your device and then tap Done to complete the setup process.
  2. Now that your IR device has been added, it's now time to create a scene in the Aqara Home app:
    1. Launch the Aqara Home app.
    2. Tap Scene in the bottom navigation bar.
    3. Tap the + button at the top of your screen.
    4. Under the Add action section, tap Add.
    5. Tap your IR device.
    6. Tap the Remote Control button.
    7. Select a function (power, temperature, etc.) for your IR device.
    8. Tap Save.
    9. Customize your scene by entering a name and choosing an icon.
    10. Tap OK to complete your scene.
  3. The final puzzle piece is making your Aqara scene available for the Apple Home app.
    1. Launch the Aqara Home app.
    2. Tap Scene in the bottom navigation bar.
    3. Tap the scene with your IR device.
    4. Tap the More... button in the top right corner.
    5. Tap Add to Apple Home.
    6. Tap on your Aqara Camera Hub G3.
    7. Tap Done.

After a few moments, your Aqara scene will now be available in the Apple Home app. Due to limitations with IR devices, this method will only show your scene in the Scenes area on the Home tab in the Apple Home app. Simply tap it to enable or disable the action on your IR device.

Make your old devices smart with the Apple Home app

Now, with just a tap in the Home app or a shout to Siri, you can finally bring your older IR devices to life without fumbling with a remote. It's a quick and easy process that makes more devices smarter.

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