How to use Homebridge to get the most out of your HomeKit

Cupertino, December 7, 2021
Checking the Google Nest thermostat shows the temperature on the wall 3

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

As fully integrated as HomeKit can be for iPhone and iPad owners who are building a smart home, there is a recurring issue: compatibility with the wider world of accessories available to Amazon Alexa and Google Home users. Here's how to use Homebridge to better maximize your Apple platform.

Read more: The best HomeKit accessories for your smart home

What is Homebridge and how does HomeKit improve?

ring room

In essence, Homebridge is free open-source software that emulates the HomeKit API. Install the server software on a device that is always on (and always connected), such as a PC, Mac, or Raspberry Pi, and then plugins for the types of accessories that you are trying to install. In Apple Home, Homebridge is treated as just another bridge or hub.

The result is that accessories previously limited to Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or even Samsung SmartThings can be controlled through Apple Home and Siri. These include Ring rooms, Nest thermostats and Kasa smart sockets, complete with context-sensitive controls. You can search to see if anyone has created a plugin for your accessories.

How to install Homebridge

A Raspberry Pi on a keyboard

Homebridge's main platforms are Windows 10, macOS, Raspberry Pi OS, Linux and Docker. While the exact instructions will vary, the always on / off component is always essential. If you install Homebridge on a computer, for example, but turn off your device every night, you'll lose access to connected accessories during that window.

Homebridge Wiki provides similar detailed instructions for other platforms. We won't go into all of them here, but with Windows 10, the overall process looks like this:

Install LTS version by Node.js. There are 32-bit and 64-bit versions, but you'll probably want 64-bit on a computer. Install the Homebridge and Homebridge UI using the following administrator Node.js command prompt: npm install -g –unsafe-perm homebridge homebridge-config-ui-x
Set up Homebridge as a command prompt service hb-service installation

How to use Homebridge

Homebridge web interface

Fortunately, the Homebridge community has created a local web interface that you can access at http: // localhost: 8581 once the server is installed. The default username and password are both "admin", but you can too should change them.

The tabs in the web interface allow you to check server status and configuration details, but one of the first places you'll want to visit is Plugins tab. This allows you to install, update, and remove plugins for your accessories without which Homebridge is redundant.

The Fila Stare It's important not only to show if Homebridge is working properly, but also to generate HomeKit codes to associate with the Apple Home application. The user interface spits out both QR codes and numeric codes, the latter as an alternative.

Here's how to add Homebridge to your Apple Home app:

Display the Status tab in the Homebridge user interface. HomeKit codes should be displayed in the upper left. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Apple Home app and tap plus icon top right. Touch Add an accessory. Aim the camera of your iPhone or iPad at the QR code, and the option to associate a generic bridge (see above) should appear automatically. If not, tap the text More options from the Add Accessory screen, followed by My accessory is not displayed here. You will receive an option to enter the numeric configuration code.

Be warned that the installation process may become more complicated depending on the plugins you choose to install. Some may require the git utility, for example, or the installation of windows-build-tools to compile native code. Usually, you should receive (or be able to find) instructions if a plugin requires specific steps on your part.

The last thing to know as a beginner is that there are three cores hb-service commands in Node.js: start, Stop, and restart. Forcing startup or restart can sometimes cause problems if Homebridge does not work properly.

That should be the hard part, though. Once Homebridge is running smoothly, you can treat connected accessories like anything else in HomeKit. This includes direct control through Siri or Apple Home, as well as scheduled automation related to accessories and conditions.

Read more: How to reset Apple HomeKit

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