The HomeKit association code, the small label with a string of eight random numbers that comes with compatible smart home accessories, is incredible important. This tiny code is unique to each accessory and as such is one of the only ways the device can be added to a HomeKit for security purposes. What happens when you lose a HomeKit code?
Well, depending on the accessory, losing a HomeKit code can prevent it from being used with the Home and Siri app, and in some cases, you may lose the ability to use the accessory in its entirety. But don’t give up hope! Many accessories come with additional scattered codes, and some even offer alternative pairing methods. Here are some tips to help you keep track of your backup codes, what you can do if you just can’t find one, and how to prevent it from happening again!
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You know what to look for
HomeKit association codes, still based on a series of eight digits, have evolved in appearance over the years. Depending on your accessories, you may see one of four types of code tags on your device or packaging. Older codes appear in a rectangular shape, with no visual indicators other than the associated numbers. The most common HomeKit code tag has a home icon, numbers, and a QR code in a vertical format. On these codes, you can scan numbers or QR code for pairing purposes.
One of the latest types of HomeKit code includes a picture of a home, along with code numbers and a wireless symbol. The codes that have the wireless symbol indicate that the accessory has an NFC radio on board, which allows it to transmit pairing information directly to the phone. Finally, the latest HomeKit code uses a more compact label, which includes only the house icon and the eight-digit code, which unfortunately cannot be scanned by the Home application.
Because the HomeKit pairing code is essential to the pairing process, accessory manufacturers often provide a lot of backup codes in many different places. The domains can include on the actual accessory, on the packaging that it included, manuals, brochures, inside an application or even on a screen on the device.
Labels on the device
In most cases, an association code will be printed directly on the accessory labels or will have its own dedicated label. These labels are usually placed on the back of smart plugs, on the sides of bulbs or on the underside of larger bodies such as lamps.
Even if you don’t see the code at first glance, take a good look at some fine prints or the physical features of the accessory. Sometimes codes can be found on regular style labels, as well as under the detachable sleeves or sections of the device. For light switches, I’ve seen that some accessories come with small trays that have code tags or codes hidden under the board.
The markings on the device can also refer to the code in different ways. Some examples include phrases like Configuration code without referring to the HomeKit at all or putting all the numbers together without the familiar hyphens.
Another location where you can find backup codes is on the packaging that the accessory entered. Typical locations for HomeKit codes include the back of the box, one of the inner flaps, and the bottom of the removable cardboard or plastic tray.
Manuals and brochures
HomeKit accessories are generally effortless to configure, with most cases involving nothing more than scanning the association code. Because of this, textbooks are often unused and, unfortunately, sometimes even discarded, which also means that potential backup codes are lost.
If you have your manuals, the places to check include the back of the first page, right on the last page or in dedicated HomeKit sections. Some manufacturers like to put a special note in the manual stating the importance of keeping the code and have the label attached to the text.
The same goes for any brochures included in the box. Some manufacturers have a separate guide or book for the HomeKit code, so when in doubt, check everything in the box.
Alternative mating methods
Equally important is the physical HomeKit code, there are some HomeKit accessories that may not come with them at all. In some cases, the HomeKit code may be generated and displayed on a screen on the device or in the manufacturer’s application. There are also some accessories that can be matched using NFC and even scanning a QR code that does not look like a HomeKit tag.
Codes on the screen
Some HomeKit accessories do not have a physical code, and instead display their codes through a built-in screen. This method is commonly found on accessories such as HomeKit thermostats and HomeKit air quality monitors. In particular, we have seen this method used on the ecobee line of smart thermostats.
When you connect one of these devices, the HomeKit code will be displayed either during the on-screen setup process or in a settings menu after the initial connection. Because these devices have screens, the generated code can be scanned in the same way as a standard tag, making pairing quick and easy.
Software codes and authenticationSource: iMore
As with on-screen HomeKit codes, some accessories rely on software authentication methods or application-generated codes. These codes can only be found in the manufacturer’s app, which is great to make sure you always have a way to add the accessory back if needed, but it can be a little confusing for those who are used to having a code.
For software authentication, accessories that have gained the ability to work with the HomeKit after it was originally manufactured will have in-app experience that automatically adds it to the Home app. These include the hero line of routers with Wi-Fi networking and the Wemo Smart Mini Plug from Belkin, each of which does not actually provide a direct code to the user.
Other accessories that use software authentication will simply provide a HomeKit code through a dedicated image or area in the application. I saw this method with the Abode iota security kit, which requires installation first through the Abode application, then adding it to the HomeKit later.
NFC associationSource: iMore
If you just can’t find your code on your device and don’t have the original packaging, there are a few more things you can check. While the number of devices is limited, some of the latest HomeKit accessories include NFC radios that can help with the pairing process. This means that the accessory can automatically transmit its association information to the Home application, bypassing manual entry or scanning the code.
To verify that your accessory supports NFC, disconnect the Home application and begin the pairing process as you normally would. Then, when the camera scan screen appears, move your iPhone as close to the HomeKit accessory as possible. If this doesn’t work, try touching the two and make sure you look around for any visual indicators on your device. Sometimes an accessory will have a dedicated area that you need to bring your iPhone close to. If the accessory has NFC, the Home application will automatically go to the next step.
Again, although NFC is convenient, it has not yet been implemented on many accessories. I saw it in action on interior outlets, such as the ConnectSense In-Wall Outlet, positioned between the two containers and inside the door locks, so be sure to check everywhere.
The last method I’ve seen used is QR codes that don’t have the same style as traditional HomeKit codes. Some accessories that were not certified as HomeKit compatible at launch, but intended to be added later, used undescribed QR codes as a way to add them to the Home application.
A recent example of this was eufy Indoor Cam 2K and Indoor Cam Pan 2K, which gained HomeKit functionality about a month after launch. Once the HomeKit update became available, users could browse the eufy Security app or scan the QR code to add it. If you see a QR code on your device, try giving it a scan in the Home app or with the Camera app, it can do the trick.
If all else fails
Many HomeKit accessories also support smart home alternative ecosystems, such as Alexa Amazon or Google Assistant and their own applications. So, if you ever come across a case where you can’t track your HomeKit code, you might use the accessory outside of the Home app.
Use the app!
With the exception of a few accessories that rely solely on an app to provide firmware updates or use the Home Stock app for pairing, most HomeKit accessories have their own app available in the App Store. These apps usually offer all the same controls that you get through the Home app, only in a different format that you may be used to.
These apps can also give you access to more advanced settings that aren’t available through the Home app, so you may even see some features you’re missing. Yes, using the accessory without HomeKit means you can’t use it in the sweet shooting scene or with the morning automations that start the day, but it’s better than nothing.
Alternative ecosystemsSource: iMore
Some accessories have their own automation services available in the accompanying application that allow you to create scenes and automations with other devices from the same brand. Some accessories also use the popular multi-platform automation service, IFTTT, which is compatible with tons of different devices, HomeKit included, and offers tons of advanced actions, such as flashing lights when you receive an email.
For voice controls, many accessories work with Alexa Amazon and Google Assistant. With cheaper price tags and the inclusion of these voice assistants in almost every day, you may already have one in your home. Invoking Alexa or the Google Assistant may take some time to get used to, however, the actual commands are usually quite similar to the ones you already use with Siri.
Siri and shortcuts
Speaking of Siri, a lot of accessories now include support for shortcuts, which means you can use Apple’s virtual assistant for commands. Searching for Works with Siri the phrase or label on the package, in an accessory description from a retailer or even browsing lists like our guide to the best Siri shortcut gadgets. If it says Siri or shortcuts, then you’re golden.
Shortcuts for compatible accessories won’t appear in the Home app, but voice controls follow Hi Siri phrasing and you can use custom phrases to make them almost identical. Accessories that support shortcuts also work with personal automations, which are created using the Shortcuts app and the Home app. These automations can also incorporate HomeKit accessories and scenes, so you can slide them into the accessory along with other HomeKit accessories and make them come to life with a single command.
To complete, to rely on, to support!
Because the HomeKit association code is absolutely crucial, we loud I recommend keeping the original packaging for accessories. This includes the box, the associated manuals, and even the plastic or cardboard that holds the accessory in place, as they can often hide backup codes. However, it may not always be the most ideal, so fortunately there are alternative ways to keep a backup.
Old school method
If the space is at a premium level and you just can’t have boxes around, then write down the HomeKit codes on your laptop or in a notepad. If you use this method, be sure to keep them in a memorable place and keep them in a well-protected area, such as a safe, in a file cabinet with other essential documents, or in a plastic storage box.
Take a picture
One of the best ways to keep your codes safe is with your iPhone’s camera. Simply capturing an image of the code on the accessory after disconnecting is a great way to store the code, as it ensures you know exactly what device a code is for. This method is also great for adding the accessory to the Home app in the future, as you can simply scan the code in the image instead of trying to get a perfect angle on the hard-to-reach device.
Of course, this will create a digital crowd. If you want to keep things nice and organized, try making a separate album for your device or saving your images as files in the Files application.
Notes from home
While it may not seem like an obvious place, the Home app has a section for Home Notes that works great for storing codes. This option is available in the Home Settings section of the app and is essentially just a giant text box that you can use for your heart’s content. However, one word of caution, if you share HomeKit at home with others, they will be able to view and edit your home note.
Another digital option is to use the Notes application. Creating a basic note is quite simple, it requires nothing more than typing a name for the accessory and the code itself. If you want to get excited, you can add Notes in formatting options such as tables and even an image as an additional backup. Because Notes automatically syncs with all your devices, it will be available whether you’re on a Mac, iPad, or iPhone.
Third party applications
Our final digital storage solution is to use a third-party app from the App Store. Our favorites include the HomePass app for HomeKit, which is specially adapted for HomeKit, and 1Password, the popular password storage app.
In the HomePass application for HomeKit, you can scan codes with your phone’s camera and it will automatically import it into the database, just like pairing a HomeKit accessory. Once added, you can create shortcuts that can read your code aloud via Siri on demand and display a QR version of the code on your Apple Watch. This single-purpose app also backs up your iCloud codes and can even be set to generate a PDF copy for every change you make.
In 1Password, you can add HomeKit codes as a generic text entry, or you can use fan options to keep them organized. With 1Password, your codes will be automatically saved via iCloud in the safe, so you’ll always have a way to access them.
Lost your HomeKit code?
Lost a HomeKit association code? Do you have a method that failed to keep the code I missed? Tell us in the comments below!
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