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How to fix HomeKit accessories

HomeKit accessories allow for some pretty great facilities, such as turning on and off lights and locking and unlocking doors, from the comfort of your couch. However, problems may occur causing your devices to not respond to Siri commands and will display “Unanswered” in the Home application, making your home suddenly not as smart.

Here are some good troubleshooting tips to get the wrong HomeKit system.

Make sure you are signed in to your iCloud account and that Home is enabled

Theoretically, any device connected to the Apple ID should be able to understand and execute HomeKit commands. If you have a problem with the main or auxiliary device, double check to make sure you are connected to iCloud and your home is locked using the following steps.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Touch your Profile (your name at the top).

    How to fix HomeKit accessories

  3. Press iCloud.
  4. Check to see if The home is disabled.

    How to fix HomeKit accessories

Make sure Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are enabled

Most HomeKit devices use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for connectivity. Bluetooth devices talk directly to your iOS device or HomeKit hub and as such require Bluetooth to be enabled. You can check if Bluetooth is enabled on your iOS device by following the steps below.

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  1. Open Settings.
  2. Press Bluetooth.
  3. Make sure that Bluetooth is disabled.

    How to fix HomeKit accessories

Wi-Fi devices connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network and will not respond to orders sent to them if Wi-Fi is off on iPhone or iPad and you do not have a HomeKit hub. Check if Wi-Fi is turned on by following these steps.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Press wifi.
  3. Make sure that wifi is on.

    How to fix HomeKit accessories

Check your network and reset your accessories individually

When you launch the Home app or the device manufacturer application, you get nothing at all? Check if your network is online and if HomeKit enabled accessories are connected to it either via ethernet (if you use a HomeKit bridge) or Wi-Fi. If you still do not receive an indication that you are connected, you may want to reset your hardware. Every HomeKit manufacturer has a slightly different process for this, which is why we advise you to check with them to see what you need to do, but usually involves pushing a tiny button on the hardware or bridge. This will not delete the existing HomeKit home; instead, it just resets the connection of individual accessories to HomeKit.

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to reopen your Home or manufacturer application and add these accessories again.

How to configure HomeKit accessories

Do your HomeKit accessories still work in the manufacturer’s application?

If your connected hardware seems to respond when you press the buttons inside the manufacturer’s application, you may have an error on the iOS side of things. There are several options to try here, including restarting your iOS device and logging in and out of iCloud.

For more details on this process, follow the guide here.

HomeKit sync reset

If all else fails, you’ll need to reset your HomeKit settings to make it all work again. This means that you will have to rebuild your HomeKit from scratch – a huge pain if you have more accessories – but if you have explored all the other paths, this may be the one you will need to take.

  1. Open The home app.
  2. Touch the button House icon.

    How to fix HomeKit accessories

  3. Slide down to the bottom of the button Settings screen.
  4. touch Remove Home.

    How to fix HomeKit accessories

This reset will delete all the rooms and areas stored, along with the house name you requested to remember Siri and you will need to re-pair the accessories. The next time you open the Home application or the HomeKit enabled accessory application, you will be prompted to give the connected home a new name and re-connect the HomeKit bridge or other connected accessories.

Can’t add a guest to your home?

If you have trouble adding a guest to your home, check out our troubleshooting suggestions from adding guests to the HomeKit explainer:

How to share HomeKit access with other people, guests, or friends

Are you on 4G / LTE / 5G? You may need a HomeKit hub

HomeKit devices work primarily within the confines of your Wi-Fi network. If you’re on iOS and the HomeKit manufacturer has built-in support for HAP (HomeKit Accessory Protocol), you should be able to access those devices on a cellular connection, but if you’re lucky, you may need to connect to a HomeKit Hub. The following devices can be used as HomeKit Hub: Apple TV, HomePod or an iPad connected to your Wi-Fi network.

Normally, all the handshakes and the Siri command happen within the limits of your Wi-Fi network. But the HomeKit Hub – in combination with the Apple ID – gives the iPhone or iPad a safe way to talk to HomeKit devices even when you’re away from home.

It does this using a blend under the hood of iCloud Keychain and HomeKit frames. Say you’re on LTE: Call Siri on your device and issue the “Turn on the lights” command. Without a HomeKit Hub, this command goes nowhere: Siri responds with “I can’t do this.”

With a HomeKit Hub, however, that command travels through the cellular network to the device, where it shakes hands using Apple’s ID. “He is the owner of this HomeKit network,” says HomeKit Hub for your HomeKit bridge or device installed. “Here is an commandment from them.” The HomeKit point or device then executes the command, and the lights in your home turn on.

For more information on HomeKit hubs, check out this explainer:

This is how Apple TV talks to HomeKit when you are away from home

Are you still having trouble?

Still can’t connect to HomeKit devices after you follow these steps? Call us in the comments and we’ll try to help you out.

Updated August 2019: Updated for iOS 12 and iOS 13 (in beta).

Serenity Caldwell contributed to an earlier version of this guide.