Getting Started with HomeKit | More

Cupertino, November 11, 2021

Source: Christopher Close / iMore

There are so many things to consider when it comes to smart home technology that just getting started can be a daunting task. However, if you’re all-in with Apple equipment for your everyday tech needs and are comfortable with iPhone, iPad and Mac devices, then you can be pretty sure that HomeKit is the best ecosystem for your home.

The Apple system makes it easy to add devices and control them through the Home app and Siri voice commands. However, what are the things you need to do first when starting with HomeKit? Read on and we'll help you figure it out.

What do you want to achieve with HomeKit?

So many areas of your home can be made smarter, but deciding what you want to achieve with HomeKit will be the first step in your journey to the smart home.

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Do you want to set up a HomeKit security system or upgrade to smart lights? Do you want to be able to open the garage door when you get home or have a smart thermostat to turn on the heating when your house drops below a certain temperature?

All of these things are possible with HomeKit, but you need to answer some of these questions to dictate the devices you should equip your home with in the beginning.

You also need to think about which areas of your home you want HomeKit devices in and whether you want to be able to control your smart home devices while you are away from home.

Area your house

Ipad Mini 6 Review Home Hub

Source: Adam Oram / iMore

You can divide your house into different rooms in the Home app, and it's a good idea to do this before adding a lot of accessories, as the app's interface soon becomes cluttered with icons, if not. In addition, devices often have similar names when they are first added to the app, which means you can get more lights on. Light bulb, which makes it incredibly difficult to manage on the line.

If you know what types of devices you want to set up, think about the rooms where each device, sensor, or hub will live. You'll want to make sure you have a suitable room in the Home app. These can be added or removed at any time, but solving this step in advance can make it much easier to organize accessories in the Home app.

At this point, it's probably worth adding family members to your home, so you're not the only one responsible for smart home technology.

Get the right HomeKit hubs

When you first start searching in HomeKit, you'll probably come across the term "hub" and it's used for a few different things.

First, some devices require an additional hub (or bridge, as they are technically known) to work with HomeKit. Philips Hue, for example, produces some of the most popular smart lighting devices, but they can't be controlled via Home or Siri unless you have Philips Hue Bridge set up - this is Philips' central device. Similarly, affordable Aqara HomeKit sensors are perfect for spreading in your home, but they all communicate with your Apple devices through a hub, such as the Aqara M2.

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Source: Adam Oram / iMore

Be sure to read the description of any product carefully to see if a particular hub is needed. For example, if you plan to buy a single device from a brand and have to spend a considerable additional amount on the hub, it might make sense to choose an alternative option that does not require a hub. Conversely, if you plan to buy multiple devices from the same brand, getting the right hub will be money well spent.

Over time, the requirement for stand-alone bridge devices is becoming less common. Hopefully it will disappear completely for new devices once the Matter standard is widely adopted, but you will need to be aware of hubs and bridges by then.

The other way you'll see the word hub used is in terms of HomeKit hubs. One or more of these are required to control your HomeKit devices when you are away from your home network. Fortunately, you can quickly turn your Apple TV, iPad, or HomePod into a HomeKit hub, which means it's no extra purchase if you're already invested in Apple equipment.

Add your devices

Homekit code locations

Source: Christopher Close / iMore

Once you've figured out where HomeKit technology will be used in your home, you've organized your Home app in advance, and figured out what devices and hubs you'll need to buy, it's finally time to take the plunge. .

Adding devices to the HomeKit is fairly straightforward. Most manufacturers will include a QR code tag with each device that you can scan using the camera function in the Home app. The app then guides you through the rest of the pairing process, including naming your device and assigning it to a room in your home. It's a good idea to start with your hub device if your product needs one.

For some devices, you may need to use the manufacturer's application to set up your device for the first time before it becomes controllable in the Home application. Be sure to read carefully any documentation that comes with the product. Regardless, it's usually helpful to have the manufacturer's application for firmware updates and the like. Yes, you will need to update your light bulbs from time to time if you start to turn the smart home.

No matter how you add your HomeKit compatible devices, you'll see their controls in the Home app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and you can also control them with your voice using Siri. Their current state will also be synchronized between the Home application and the manufacturer's application.

Set your favorite HomeKit devices

iPhone with the application Home on the screen, supported by a tree

Source: iMore

It may sound stupid (who has a favorite light bulb, really?), But setting preferences in the Home app can be useful. Admittedly, some of the devices you add to HomeKit will be more important than others and will require regular interaction. Others are more "set it and forget it" devices.

When you declare your devices to be preferred, the Home app may have the most used accessories at hand, and they will also appear in the Control Center on your Apple devices. You will even have quick access to these accessories through the Apple Watch.

Create some automation

The iOS Home Automation Creation screen is displayed on an iPhone

Source: Christopher Close / iMore

One of the best things about having HomeKit devices is the ability to set up some routines and automations. Then you get the impression that you live in The Jetsons as things happen without having to press a button or bar a command.

There are a multitude of ways to automate your devices with triggers such as time of day, your location, a sensor that is triggered, or the status of an accessory, all of which are capable of moving other devices. We have a complete guide to creating HomeKit automations. However, some simple examples include turning the lights on or off at sunrise or sunset, or turning off the thermostat when you are away from home. These are entirely optional, of course, but they can eliminate much of the manual work of home management and improve your experience.

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