Home Key is hands down my favorite new HomeKit feature in a few years. The ability to lock and unlock your door with a tap of your iPhone or Apple Watch has become second nature to me every day. Both the Level Lock+ and the Aqara Smart Lock U100 are great options for implementing it in your home, but after months of using it, I realized that it's missing a single feature: sharing the house key.
HomeKit Weekly is a series that focuses on smart home accessories, home automation tips and tricks, and everything related to Apple's smart home framework. HomeKit has a really nice built-in sharing option for people who already have access to your HomeKit environment. You can easily share full access with your partner, but you can also give more granular control over remote editing and management. This feature also extends to Home Key. My wife, like me, has full access to our Home Key lock with her iPhone.
Home Important Guest Support
Earlier this summer, my family was out of town for a few days and we hired someone to babysit dogs. She spent a few hours with the dogs, took them for a few walks, fed them, etc., before going home for the day. She repeated this on consecutive days while we were out of town. To let her into the house, I gave her a code on our home security system so she could disarm it from the keypad. I could have given her access to the abode app but that would have required her creating an abode account etc - just not worth it. In the end, for unlocking the door, it was easier to just give her a key to the door.
Here's what I could do: create a time-based option in HomeKit to only allow her access to a Home Key in my home. I know I could have shared access to my HomeKit environment with her through the Home app and then shared the lock, but even that process can be complicated for a short time. The way this should work is in the Home app, there should be a share option with the lock that allows you to set an expiration date. Sharing it would trigger the shared sheet so I could send it via iMessage. Tapping it on her iPhone would add it to her Wallet app (note that it never touches the Home app on their end). It should clearly state when the key on the wallet expires, and then she can access it. All I have to say to her is, "Hey, tap this link in iMessage and once it's in your Apple Wallet, tap the lock with your iPhone to unlock it."
Apple's current method is with a passcode, but it's really not clear which locks support it, but either way - a better method would be to share a key directly so that the person only needs an iPhone or Apple Watch has.
Completion of Home Keys Sharing
Apple always has the environment to make Home Keys sharing a reality. They already have the sharing option in HomeKit, but it just needs to be streamlined so it's just for Home Key, and it should have a simple setting to tap a Home Key image in iMessage and have it added to Apple Wallet. Ideally, Apple would allow the homeowner to set a time limit, as well as the ability to manually withdraw at any time.
Get started with Home Key with the Level Lock+ or the Aqara U100.
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