The inevitable doubt about the application is being posed when the Aqara portal and many of the baby apps are widely available, largely because the company now has an official presence on amazon.com. When it comes to the Aqara hub, while it is compatible with HomeKit and even comes with a good HomeKit code, you still have to connect what’s called “baby apps” to My Home or Aqara Home app, namely the switches and sensors that operate with the Aqara hub, and from there they’re exposed to HomeKit.
So why do you ask for two applications? Well, before Aqara really enters as a brand, its parent company, World Unified, made smart Xiaomi home brand apps, namely mi or miji. So many of the sensors and even the hubs of Mi and Aqara look or behave very similarly. At that time, Aqara did not have its own application, and while they were beginning to make their own brand versions of the products they made (and continue to make) for Mijia, they still needed their own Xiaomi application if they were to be able to make kids ‘ hubs and apps.
Eventually, Aqara created “Aqara Home”Application to concentrate on the Aqara hub’s output and apparently offers the hub a little more functionality that Mi Home didn’t allow, at least not initially. This use has persisted over the last few years and for most people who just want to use the Aqara hub and Aqar or Mi Zigbee-based devices with HomeKit, it is definitely recommended to use.
But if that is the case, then why do you first ask the question? Okay, it also depends on whether you want to delve deeper into the Xiaomi side of things and get more smart Xiaomi home-related products as well as going via HomeBridge to add them to the HomeKit world.
Let’s start with several basics: The Aqara Hub can operate with a variety of switches and sensors, but everything has to be Zigbee-based, which requires the following devices if you are using any of these:
Switches | buttons
- Aqara mini wireless switch
- Wall switch Aqara (single rocker)
- Wall switch Aqara (double tilt)
- Wall switch Aqara (triple swing)
- Aqara wireless remote control (with one swing)
- Aqara wireless switch (double tilt)
- Wireless switch Mi – REVISION
- Aqara / Opple wireless switch (2, 4 and 6 buttons) – REVISION
Smart Plugs | plugs
- Aqara / Opple MX960 ceiling light
- Aqara / Opple MX650 ceiling light
- Aqara / Opple MX480 ceiling light
- Aqara LED bulb (white adjustable) – REVISION
- Aqara Curtain Controller – REVISION
- Read B1 Controller – REVISION
- Read Roller Shade Controller
- Read S2 Lock Lock *
- Read S2 Pro Lock Lock Door *Through the Aqara application or the Mi Home application, all these devices can be connected to the hub, though the Aqara application does not mention My devices. Just apparatuses from Aqara. I’m not sure why, but if you have one Sensor Mi Motion and you want to connect it to the Aqara hub via the Aqara app, you can pick the equivalent device (such as the Aqara motion sensor in this example) or manually add the device by pressing the Aqara hub button three times, then reset or pair the device as usual to add the device to the hub, even if it’s not specified.
ADDITIONAL DEVICES – HOME
So far, pretty good. Where it can get more complicated is to use an Aqara platform designed for an area other than the one you wish to use. You need to choose one Server Region with the Mi Home app. By practice, it then limits which interface can be added and which apps can be added, so if the Mi Home application region is set to US, for example, the Aqara button will be identified, but you can only add it to the US edition of the Aqara platform. If the application is set to Mainland China then the Chinese version of the hub can only be applied.
There are workarounds that some type of you can apply to other areas, but the restrictions still in place make it less attractive to go down that route. Like I mentioned earlier, this also refers to devices that can be connected to the Aqara hub, so if you have the American hub and the American server, you will see the USA Aqara plug identified but you will not see if you have the Chinese hub and the Chinese server. This list of devices in the Mi Home framework also refers to items which do not even need an Aqara hub to function and use Wifi or Bluetooth as communication and link tool.
An example of such styles would be My air purifier product collection, which is different from what you would see if you were linked to the server in China. Generally speaking, the number of devices is smaller everywhere compared to what you get when connected to the China server; US server lists eight cameras, because you will have access to thirty different rooms when connected to the China server!
Thankfully, many of the Zigbee sensors and switches compatible with the Aqara platform tend to be out of the area, meaning that if you purchased a Read Temperature Sensor from a Chinese online store, it can still be connected seamlessly to your US hub on the US server, although Aqara wired switches are an exception simply because the Chinese models are not physically fit for American houses in terms of size This is the case with potential Aqara switches in the USA, which for the same reason you don’t see listed on the Chinese server.
ADDITIONAL DEVICES – AQARA HOME
The Aqara program is about the same in many respects as regards regions and servers. Set up an account, and then connect to your chosen server. Like the Mi Home application, the list of devices to which you may apply modifications is based on the server you are looking for. The main difference with Aqara Home is that you can sign out of the Mi Home program which is not possible. You are successful in what is called “HomeKit mode” once you are disconnected.
This then shows each Aqara unit which is compatible with the Aqara center, regardless of the region it is built for, so you will see the Aqara smart jacks for both I. China and the United States all described together. Great, you can connect Aqara’s Chinese, EU or US hub to the app and it will still function, irrespective of the Mi Home requirement. An example of this is the recently launched Aqara / Opple wireless switches; these are only intended for use in China, but I could easily add them from the Aqara app to my Aqara hub while in HomeKit mode, but once these devices are connected, you can log in again and it will work.
This is a major obstacle overcome by Aqara, which is still in place with Mi Home, and is the main reason why I would suggest using the Aqara functionality through the Mi Home app. That said, then you’re just limited to devices that operate with the Aqara center.
So why use MI HOME?
If you only intend to stick to devices that operate with HomeKit via the Aqara hub, then there are very few reasons for using the Mi Home app, and you can use the Aqara app without issuing it. There are two reasons why you would want to use the Mi Home app; one of them depends on whether you want to use Xiaomi Smart Home devices in conjunction with HomeKit devices to diversify your smart home collection. I imagine there are many of you out there who wouldn’t like the thought of being part of an exclusive HomeKit system and I appreciate that.
But nowadays there is no huge option when it comes to HomeKit, when it comes to other types of devices. Air Purifiers, for example, is a very small area with respect to compatible devices. There are currently two; Brid air purifier, which I think is not yet officially compatible with HomeKit and the Coway Clean Air Tower air purifier, which I assume could be discontinued at that time and was only available in China. There is a new air purifier for Vocolinc but this is not yet an excellent collection.
When you equate this to what is offered on the China list in Mi Home, there are thirteen different models but, of course, some are older and probably discontinued, even though they are still accepted. Because they’re only part of the Mi Home system, these devices won’t be exposed to HomeKit any time soon unless you start using HomeBridge. However, Mi Home is compatible with Siri Shortcuts* and as such, through Siri, you can create scenes or automation in the Mi Home application and monitor these (and other devices), along with other possibilities through the Home app’s Shortcuts.
* Aqara Home is also compatible with shortcuts from Siri
The advantages of using the Mi Home app, however, do not stop; while HomeKit is exposed to Aqara and Mi sensors and switches, they are accessible and programmable or can be read in the Mi Home app. What advantages may you ask? Essentially, these devices can serve as a bridge between the worlds of “HomeKit” and “My Home.” For eg, you may have a few Mi / Philips smart lamps that only work with Mi Home, along with a HomeKit Light Vocolinc compatible strip.
You can monitor both the Mi Home and HomeKit devices simultaneously with an Aqara wireless tilt switch, so you can activate both the light band and the Mi / Philips bulb with a single push of the Aqara button, despite being in different systems. Another example might be that you simply use the Aqara temperature and humidity sensor to give you a guide on in-room measurements, but since it can work in the Mi Home app, if it gets too hot you can also configure it to turn on a Mi Smart Ventilator.
This, of course, involves setting up automations in the Mi Home application and not just the Home application, so if you just want to keep it in the Home application, it might not be for you, but you do have to do the automation. Once, keep doing your job then, and it’s not a big deal.
A final benefit of using the Mi Home app is that some Yeelight products, such as the Light Strip Plus, the2-color bulb and the customizable white bulbs, achieved compatibility with HomeKit last summer. These didn’t come with a code because these weren’t compatible with HomeKit when they first went on sale, and the only way to install them is via the Mi Home or Yeelight apps. These actually can not be added to HomeKit directly so you need one of those programs. You can’t add such Yeelight items because the Aqara software does not support any computer but its own, along with sensors and identical Mi buttons.
So as you can see, they both have their advantages. This is mainly what you want from your smart home and whether you want to extend into areas that are better protected by Mi Home (in terms of hardware choices) than the Aqara app or HomeKit program in general. If not, then Aqara eliminates existing regional blocks in the Mi Home framework and allows you to add the devices it supports, without worrying, for example, about not being able to use your Chinese hub in the EU.