Getting Started with Apple Home: Transform Your Home into a Smart Hub

Cupertino, August 15, 2023

Receive the T3 newsletter! All the best features, news, tips, and great offers to help you live a better life through technology. Thank you for joining T3. You will receive a verification email shortly. There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again. By submitting your information, you agree to the terms and conditions and privacy policy and you are 16 years of age or older. Whether you have a smart security camera or like listening to music with the best smart speakers, it's quickly becoming the norm to have an entire ecosystem or a scattering of smart devices in your home. And sure, 300 million smart homes can't all be wrong...?! While creating your own smart home makes communicating with family, organizing your calendar, and automating your heating much easier, deciding which digital assistant is right for you can be tricky. But if you are an iOS user, the simple answer to your conundrum is to start a smart home with Apple Home. In our 'how to start a smart home' series, T3 looked at how to set up your smart home using popular smart home platforms, and now it's Apple's turn. Below is a full guide to Apple Home, including what it is, what devices work with it, and how to start your smart home with Apple Home. What is Apple Home? Apple Home or HomeKit is Apple's smart home platform and protocol built into Apple devices. Introduced on iPhones and iPads in 2014 with iOS 8, Apple Home has since expanded to other Apple and compatible devices. The Home app is available on iOS devices and users can use the app or Siri voice commands to interact with their smart home products. Simply put, Apple Home allows users to configure and control smart home products using Apple devices. The app keeps all your gadgets in one place, and you can design rooms, automations, and actions to keep your house running smoothly while you're at home or on the road. If you already own an Apple or iOS product, Apple Home is the obvious choice when it comes to choosing your smart home platform or ecosystem. But if you're an Android user, the Apple Home app and configurations won't work on Android devices, so choose Alexa or Google Assistant instead of Apple Home. Which devices are Apple Home compatible? (Image credit: Omar Rodriguez / Unsplash) Similar to Google Assistant (see how to start a smart home with Google Assistant for more), there are two types of Apple Home devices. The first type of Apple Home devices are Apple's own products, including HomePod speakers, Apple TV 4K, iPhones, Apple watches, iPads, MacBooks and so on. To get the most out of Apple Home, investing in a HomePod, iPad, or Apple TV is the safest option, but I'll get to that later in the guide. The second type of Apple Home devices are compatible products manufactured by another company, but can be controlled by Apple Home. To determine if a product is compatible with Apple, look for the "Works with HomeKit" branding. Examples of compatible devices include Philips Hue lighting, Eve, Arlo and Netatmo cameras, Tado and Ecobee smart thermostats, Eero routers, and Nanoleaf. Apple can also support LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio TVs and the AirPlay streaming standard. Unlike Alexa (see how to start a smart home with Alexa for all the info), Apple doesn't make many of their own smart home products. Aside from its range of smart speakers, Apple doesn't manufacture its own cameras, smart plugs or video doorbells, so if you're looking to expand your smart home, you'll need to choose compatible devices. home with Apple Home If Apple Home is the platform for you, here's a step-by-step guide to getting your smart home started with Apple devices and the Home app. center. This is the best way to use HomeKit and its app because you get the best features and the whole scheduling and automation process is much smoother. I would recommend the Apple HomePod or the Apple HomePod Mini to use as a hub. The main differences between the two are sound quality and size, so you can choose whichever device you think best suits your home. Since these are speakers and not a screen, it's worth bearing in mind that HomePods don't have a screen, so you'll need to use Siri commands or the Home app on your phone or tablet if you want to see a screen. You can also use your Apple TV or an iPad. Set your product as a hub For HomePods and Apple TVs, these devices automatically become home hubs once you add them to your Home app. If you're using a HomePod or your Apple TV, all you need to do is sign in to iCloud with the Apple ID you used to set up the Home app. iPads also have a similar process, which again requires you to make sure you're signed into iCloud with your Apple ID in the settings. Check that Home is enabled under Apps with iCloud and enable Use this iPad as a Home Hub. From here you can get started on any device. (Image credit: Apple) Adding compatible devices to the Home app Once you've set up your hub and Home app, you can start adding compatible devices. I always recommend looking at smart cameras and doorbells first to improve your home security. But since Apple Home can be used to create rooms, I recommend diving into smart bulbs from Philips Hue, Nanoleaf or Lifx. Tap Add accessory to add devices to the Home app. Here you will be asked to scan a code on your device. You can also download the corresponding smart light app, such as the Philips Hue app and select Set up with Apple Home. The two will sync, and you can use Apple Home to control your Philips Hue lights (you'll need a Philips Hue Bridge for this though). Once your accessory has appeared in the Home app, you can adjust your lights, heating, cameras, and set schedules in every room of your house. Set up rooms, automations, and scenes Once you have multiple devices in the Apple Home app, you can start creating and scheduling your smart home in Rooms, Automations, and Scenes. Rooms let you group devices based on the room they're in, so you can simply tap your bedroom and control your lights and speakers in the room. Automation is where you can customize how you want your devices to respond to certain scenarios at specific times or locations. For example, you can set the Home app to dim your lights when it's 9 p.m., or have the heating turn off when you leave the house. A smart feature of the Home app is Scenes. While automation happens automatically, you need to trigger scenes through the app or with your voice. For example, if you want to dim your lights, turn off the speaker, and set the alarm for the morning, you can create a scene called "Nighttime," and the Home app will do it for you. To create a scene, press the plus symbol in the app and select Add scene. Add accessories to choose the devices you want to include in the scene, and most importantly, you need to name your scene. That's all you need to know before setting up a smart home with Apple Home! Check out the best Apple HomePod deals in the widget below to get started.Today's best Apple HomePod and Apple HomePod Mini deals

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