Skip to content

HomeKit makes cheap buttons and Ikea motion sensors much more powerful

HomeKit makes cheap buttons and Ikea motion sensors much more powerful

HomeKit makes cheap buttons and Ikea motion sensors much more powerful

The new $ 9.99 / $ 7.99 / 6 GBP Trådfri shortcut buttons and $ 14.99 / $ 12.95 / 12 GBP existing Trådfri motion sensors have recently gained HomeKit support to the delight of many Apple device owners. . Importantly, the addition is cumulative for the most part, allowing Ikea devices to work with the best features of Ikea Home Smart, while applying the best Apple applications.

I have tested both Ikea Home Smart devices in the last few days and while the setup is predictably buggy, when they are up and running it is glorious, especially for the price.

Motion sensors designed to work with HomeKit are not cheap. Depending on this round, the price ranges from $ 21 to $ 57 immoral. The popular Philips Hue motion sensor, for example, is more capable, but costs $ 40, or almost three times more than the Ikea sensor, and both require hub devices to communicate with the HomeKit. The Hue Bridge costs $ 59.99, while the Ikea Gateway costs $ 29.99, although they are often reduced in packages with compatible lights and switches. You also need an Apple home hub, which can be a HomePod, Apple TV or iPad.

There is no other product like Ikea Shortcuts in the HomeKit world, so it’s hard to compare prices. Some people will reuse the four buttons of a $ 24.99 Hue dimmer switch to perform HomeKit automation, but it’s not the same, and the Aqara buttons are hard to find. Ikea has designed its shortcut buttons to operate a single scene and that’s it.

Ikea shortcut button

Ikea shortcuts are meant to be scattered around the house as dedicated controllers for individual devices or groups of devices. Place one next to the bed to turn off all the lights, for example, without having to shout at a smart assistant or launch an app. Put another in the kitchen to play your favorite Spotify playlist on your Sonos speaker.

The magnetic buttons include a metal mounting bracket that can be screwed into a wall or attached to the double strip that is in the box for a less permanent option. They also come with six stickers: three printed with icons representing night, lights and morning and three semi-finished products to illustrate you.


Ikea demonstrates a shortcut button that starts a scene to The Verge in 2019.
Photo by Thomas Ricker / The Verge

The shortcut button can be assigned operations in both Ikea Home Smart and Apple Home applications with cumulative results. It’s a bit confusing (and potentially conflicting), but the combination of the Ikea and Apple worlds makes the Shortcut Buttons much more powerful.

I defined a “Goodnight” shortcut button in the Apple Home app that I placed on a shelf above my bed. An ordinary press turns off seven smart lights (a mix of Ikea and Hue) and four Sonos speakers. A long press turns on a decorative filament night light in the bedroom with a brightness of 10%. To get these results, you had to assign a “scene” to the shortcut button in the Ikea Home Smart app and also assign “actions” in the Apple Home app.

When you use the shortcut buttons only with the Ikea Home Smart application, you are limited to a single scene assigned to a single button press. But Ikea’s deeper Sonos integration exposes all my Sonos speakers to the shortcut button, not just the newer AirPlay 2 speakers recognized by HomeKit. HomeKit enhances Ikea Home Smart by detecting both a short press and a long press of the shortcut buttons. Apple also gives you the option to write shortcuts if / then / otherwise (confused, I know) that can be assigned to short and long presses instead, giving you four possible control options from a single shortcut button. (Here’s a useful thread that explains the steps taken by u / armadawars in the HomeKit subreddit.)

Good night ikea

Ikea scene assignment for the “Good night” button.

good night homekit

Apple action tasks for the “Good night” button.

So far, I’ve kept things simple. I have a scene called “Top music off” in the Home Smart app that I assigned to the “Good night” shortcut button mentioned above. This allows me to turn off any Sonos speakers that might be playing in or around my bedroom. In the Apple Home app, we also assigned a mix of seven Philips Hue and Ikea lights to turn off with a single press of the “Good night” shortcut button. I then set a long press to turn on the Ikea filament bulb.

I have a second shortcut button in the living room currently set up to control my TV and mood lighting in the Apple Home app. A short press turns on my LG OLED 2020 TV and two lights in a predefined color and brightness. A long press stops everything. And just because I can, I also assigned a scene to the button in the Ikea Home Smart app that starts playing a Christmas playlist in the Sonos kitchen whenever it’s pressed. He’s stupid and my family hates him, but he makes me so damn happy.

Ikea motion sensor

I would have gone crazy setting up the Ikea Trådfri motion sensor in HomeKit if I hadn’t read this tip on Reddit first.

Despite the fact that Trådfri Gateway was updated to firmware 1.13.21 and saw both motion sensors existing in the Apple Home application and sensors triggering Ikea light when motion was detected, none detected motion according to HomeKit. To fix this, I first had to remove the motion sensor from the Gateway (four clicks on the pairing button), delete the old cameras that house the sensors in the Ikea Home Smart app, and then add the sensor again (two clicks next to the Gateway) where he was assigned a new default room. Only then did I see motion activity detected in the Apple Home app, allowing me to control HomeKit devices with the sensor.

IMG BDEF43E41AF5 1

The pantry sensor has been paired with the Ikea bulb.

IMG 6300

Apple Home camera light and sensor.

As with the shortcut buttons, the automations related to the Ikea motion sensor in both Ikea and Apple Home applications are cumulative. In my pantry, I paired an Ikea bulb directly to an Ikea motion sensor (press the link button on the motion sensor by holding it next to the Ikea bulb for about 10 seconds) and then set up an automation in the Apple Home app to I turned on a strip of Hue lights above my kitchen cabinet, but only at night. The Ikea pantry lamp turns off automatically after three minutes.

IMG 6299

Letting Ikea control the light, not the HomeKit.

IMG 6301

The movement of the pantry begins a side event in the kitchen.

The three-minute reset built into the Ikea motion sensor can cause conflicts with HomeKit automations. The Apple Home app allows you to assign automation to both movement and lack of movement. It can also take a secondary action after a certain period of time. For example, in the Apple Home app, I can tell the Ikea motion sensor to turn on a Hue light bulb in the pantry instead and then turn it off after a minute. However, I can’t be stopped again for another two minutes because of the three-minute sleep time, letting me rummage in the pantry in the dark.

Other motion sensors have much shorter reset periods, even at 20 seconds, which makes them more suitable for lighting control. Others include temperature sensors, which open the door for even more creative automation. The Ikea motion sensor is basic compared to a bespoke price.

Ikea motion sensors and shortcut buttons are so cheap and useful that they are easy to recommend, especially for homes with a mix of Ikea and Apple products already. While motion sensors are available almost everywhere, the new shortcut buttons have begun to unfold and still cannot be found in the US. Both HomeKit devices make the smart home accessible to everyone, with no applications or voice commands, limited only by the smart devices you have, your ability to write HomeKit shortcuts, and your patience with smart home technology.