Apple Homekit: How Smart Home works with components from 10 euros

Cupertino, October 4, 2021

Lamps, lights, switches, motion detectors, heating thermostats, bells, surveillance cameras, garden irrigation, weather stations - the list of product groups compatible with Homekit is as long as the list of manufacturers' names.

What is the home kit?

While planning this post, the question arose as to why you should use Homekit if you are already using Hue or Aqara. After all, you can use the Hue app to switch lights or set rules so that, for example, outdoor lighting turns on automatically between sunset and sunrise. Correct. Ikea Tradfri can do the same. But if you now install Hue outdoor lights on your doorstep for design or cost reasons, put Ledvance poles in the garden beds, replace the old bathroom bulbs with Ikea Tradfri smart bulbs and have a Eufy bell in your house, no You only need four apps, but you need to explain to your partner why you control the brightness in your bathroom with a different app than the one in your living room. Some components can also be mixed, but this quickly becomes unnecessarily complicated. Tradfri lights work in the Hue app; the Hue motion detector can also switch Ikea bulbs - but some things don't work either. Tradfri motion detectors (for 10 euros each) do not work in the Hue application, so they must be Hue motion detectors with 30 euros. Or hang Hue lamps in the Ikea app, then the cheap motion detector works, but there is no motion detector from Ikea for the outdoor area.

Homekit brings together compatible devices and transactions into a single system, regardless of manufacturer. It doesn't matter which components come from which manufacturer and how they are mixed: everything is available in the same attractive interface and is easy to use and configure, as is typical for Apple. Creating rules is as easy as you want them to be in a smart home. Do this for so many hours when someone comes, that if anything moves here, that. All in one interface, infallible and shockingly easy to use - via app or Siri also with voice. And unlike various alternative craft solutions, you don't have to deal with the technology behind it, or with security issues, port launches, or the like.

Who broadcasts radio?

In the early days of Homekit, the iPhone or iPad communicated directly via Bluetooth with sensors and actuators, such as adapter sockets and magnetic contacts for doors or windows. The range was low, the cost of the products was as high as the power consumption from batteries or button cells - the frustration among first-time buyers was appropriately high.

Meanwhile, Homekit does not care what radio standard the components are connected to, as long as the components can be accessed through the home network. Many products such as surveillance cameras or smart ringtones are attached directly to the WLAN, others use wireless standards such as Zigbee or Z-Wave and require a gateway. This is a device that is connected, on the one hand, to LAN or WLAN and, on the other hand, establishes communication with motion detectors, magnetic contacts on doors and windows or thermostats with radiators using a different radio standard. Battery-powered sensors usually work more with Zigbee or Z-Wave than with WLAN. Power consumption is significantly lower, so button cells can last for several years - which would not be possible with WLAN. In addition, features such as nets are included in this wireless standard specifically designed for smart homes, which increases reliability and autonomy.

What is needed

For everything to work this way, there should be a control center in the house. This can be an iOS 10 iPad (3rd generation or later), a 4th generation Apple TV, a 4K Apple TV or a Homepod speaker (test report) or its successor Homepod Mini. The control center maintains the connection to connected sensors and actuators, handles the processing of defined tasks and establishes the connection to the Internet.

Although Homekit devices can be controlled and viewed without an Internet connection, this is not particularly convenient. The iPhone used for control must be connected to the same WLAN, the automation does not work and access from the outside via the Internet is not possible. For a decent smart home solution, there is no way to surround a control center. An advantage is that the logic does not run in the cloud, but locally. Connected components also communicate locally with Homekit.

Choice of sensors, such as water level detectors, door and window contacts, motion detectors or wall knobs, and actuators such as heating controls, consumer adapter plugs, or floor or bulb lamps LED smart is due to their own preferences and wallet. Thanks to a wide range of support, Homekit can be implemented very cheaply. It is important that the components can also be connected to Homekit, for which the appropriate bridges may be required: An Ikea motion detector for 10 euros or an Aqara motion detector for 15 euros can neither be connected to the Hue bridge nor directly to the WLAN connection , separate gateways are required for each. Therefore, it is often logical to buy as many components as possible from the same source - except for WLAN and Bluetooth, this is always possible.


A smart home doesn't deserve that name if in the end it just means, "I can control my light through a smartphone app." A house is smart when you don't have to worry about background technology: it should be bright where you need light and everywhere it should be dark to save energy. In addition to intelligent lamps and lights - ie controllable - were included motion detectors, light switches and remote controls. In the following price comparison, we exemplified the full range from cheap to expensive.


A push message on the mobile phone when someone rings the doorbell, the garden shed door is open or a sensor under the washing machine reports moisture - such functions increase the comfort of the place. It makes you feel good when you can quickly check if everything is blocked from the winter holidays in the Canary Islands or the Dolomites or take a look in the garden using a surveillance camera. And anyone who has ever had water damage knows how good discreet control feels here too. Motion detectors actually belong to this area, which we listed above in the Light for Simplicity section.

Heating and air conditioning

If you heat smartly, not only do you always have a warm home, but you can also save costs. You can find more information in our Top-10 Smart Radiator Thermostats. The following price comparison lists Homekit-compatible sensors and actuators, as well as controls for air conditioning systems, fans, and air purifiers.


Opening the door and garage through the application, watering the lawn, if necessary, or adapters that can be used to control Christmas lights, basement dehumidifiers, additional heaters in the bathroom, early morning coffee maker, or additional heaters in the bathroom, makes life more enjoyable.

Connect other components

Anyone who already uses smart home components from different manufacturers and systems can also introduce them to the world of home kits. Open source software, such as ioBroker, which connects different worlds, helps here.

As a test, we connected first generation Xiaomi actuators without Homekit compatibility, Enocean sensors from Loxone and KNX sensors and actuators with Homekit. I converted the ioBroker that is already present in the installation for this purpose Yahka (another Homekit adapter) added. This is software that simulates a Homekit compatible gateway on the network. This is a bit difficult, as you have to create the connection between the Homekit functions and the control of the smart home components by yourself with a few obstacles. For example, when you connect a KNX blind adapter, you need to reverse the values ​​so that an open blind is displayed correctly as open in Homekit. In general, however, this is a beautiful evening or weekend project, at the end of which there is an exemplary view via smartphone and iPad.

Also for ioBroker alternatives like Node Red or Open Hab There are comparable Homekit plugins available that I haven't tried in the context of this article.

If you don't want to set up a complete open source solution, you can also use Homebridge in an easy way. The software runs on a NAS or Raspberry and "makes compatible components", such as smoke detectors and cameras from Nest, ringers and alarm systems from Ring, the Logitech Harmony universal remote control or the Amazon Echo speakers.

The use of such craft solutions makes Homekit much more powerful - but also more complex. Classic users should rather spend a few extra euros and buy certified components. However, if you have in-depth knowledge of IT and networking, you can easily connect your existing technology this way.


Homekit started at the beginning, but now it is an excellent solution with first class visualization and simple scene and automatic control. In addition, there is a high level of compatibility with cheap smart home components, the possible DIY factor, if you want, offline functionality without the need for a cloud, and the typical Apple display and functionality, attractive and simple.

Although the 4th generation Homepod and Apple TV are much more expensive as control centers than simple Alexa or Google Home speakers, there is a full-fledged home server that also handles the implementation of the specified automations when you are away. After the initial skepticism, in a few days we became true fans of the home kit.

Disclaimer: This article is generated from the feed and is not edited by our team.

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