Apple’s HomeKit makes it easier to control smart home applications (home automation) from iPhone, iPad and other Apple devices. Read all about Apple HomeKit home automation.
HomeKit is a solution to control all kinds of devices remotely from your iPhone, iPad and other devices. With HomeKit, you can control lighting, heating, door locks and more with Siri. Which accessories are suitable for HomeKit and what are the options?
What is HomeKit?
HomeKit is a platform that allows devices in the home to ‘talk’ to Apple products. For example, if you have a lamp that is connected to your iPhone, you can control it remotely. This is also called home automation or home automation, while internationally the terms ‘ smart home ‘ and ‘connected home’ are popular.
Developers can build HomeKit into apps and products. This makes it possible to have devices from different manufacturers work together. Previously, you had to install its own app for each device, which meant that they hardly or hardly cooperated with each other. HomeKit brings everything together. For example, by saying “I’m going to sleep” to Siri, you can make sure that the windows and doors are closed, the lights go out and the heating is turned down a little bit at the same time.
For HomeKit you can set all kinds of rules to ensure that a certain action is carried out. You can bundle these actions in a scene, for example ‘I’m home’ or ‘I’m going to sleep’. You can also set zones and rooms, so that you can ensure that only the lights in a certain zone in the house are switched on.
Apple has extensively documented the capabilities of HomeKit for developers.
What do I need for HomeKit?
To use HomeKit, you need a few things:
- iPhone or iPad with iOS 8 or later
- A suitable HomeKit accessory
- Always at home Apple TV , HomePod or iPad (optional)
What are the main HomeKit features?
With HomeKit you can:
- Add devices to your Home. If you have bought a smart plug or lamp, you can add it to your collection.
- Control accessories with the Home app or alternative HomeKit apps .
- Control accessories with Siri voice commands, such as turning on lights or requesting the temperature.
- Controlling devices when you are outdoors. You need a HomeKit hub for this, namely an Apple TV , iPad or HomePod .
- Automate devices. You can have devices in the house communicate with each other, so that, for example, the lights turn on when a sensor registers movement.
- Set up scenes. With scenes in HomeKit you can merge multiple actions. For example, with one push of a button you can switch on certain lamps and turn up your thermostat at the same time.
You can also combine the above functions. For example, you can add your automated devices in multiple scenes and activate them automatically based on a time, location or a specific trigger. A lot is possible thanks to HomeKit, which you will discover automatically when you start using it.
What types of HomeKit devices are there?
From door locks to lamps and from cameras to speakers: HomeKit supports all types of devices. Hardware manufacturers who want to use HomeKit can do so through a partnership with Apple . Since iOS 11 , permission is no longer required to develop a HomeKit product for your own use. However, you must have permission from Apple if you want to market the product commercially.
These types of products work with HomeKit:
- Air conditioners
- Air purifiers
- Audio receivers
- Garage doors
- Garden sprinklers
However, keep in mind that not all product categories are also for sale in the Netherlands. For example, the range of air conditioners is much less than lighting. In general, lamps, plugs, thermostats, cameras and speakers are readily available. In our overview of HomeKit accessories you will find all products that you can buy in the Netherlands.
- The best smart smoke detectors with HomeKit
- Thermostats and radiator controls with HomeKit: control your heating with Siri
- HomeKit door locks and doorbells
- The HomeKit cameras
- Smart plugs with HomeKit: these are your options
- Smart buttons and sensors for HomeKit
There are now many brands that support HomeKit or plan to do so. Well-known brands such as Philips, Honeywell, Delonghi, IKEA and Somfy already offer support for HomeKit or plan to do so soon.
How to control Apple’s HomeKit with Siri, how does that work?
You can control all devices that are connected to HomeKit via Siri . You give commands to Siri by speaking into the microphone of the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch , Mac, Apple TV remote and HomePod . This makes it possible to ask Siri to turn down the heating, for example, without having to scroll through settings. A spoken command is sufficient.
No special actions are required to get this working. All you have to do is add your HomeKit devices and give them a recognizable name. You can say, for example, ‘Turn on my desk lamp’. By assigning the device to a correct room, you can ask ‘How warm is it in the bedroom?’. This works the same on every device. In addition to operating the devices, you can also activate set scenes or switch off all lights at once.
The options are the same on all devices. So it doesn’t matter whether you give your command to Siri on your iPhone, Apple Watch or Mac . As long as you’re signed in with the same Apple ID on all devices, Siri will run your command. You can also use this in combination with Hé Siri .
Organize your Apple’s HomeKit home: house, rooms and groups
A HomeKit house consists of several parts:
At HomeKit, all accessories that you have at home fall under a Home. This is the central name for everything you want to operate at a particular location. Such a Home is linked to your Apple ID , so that only you can indicate which devices in your Home should be controlled. If you give the order that all lights must be switched off, all lighting in the house will be switched off. For security reasons, each HomeKit device is associated with only one Apple ID . This can cause problems if you have a household with several people: only the administrator can add new devices and invite people to operate the devices. This is to prevent abuse, but can also be limiting. Fortunately, you can invite people to operate HomeKit.
Just like your real home, you can divide your HomeKit home into rooms. If your smart lamp is in the living room, your thermostat in the hallway and the smart plug in the kitchen, you must also assign these devices to the corresponding rooms in HomeKit. You design your virtual home just like your own home. Read everything about adding HomeKit rooms in our tip. It is also important that you give the rooms a logical name, so that you can operate the devices in the rooms more easily with Siri.
In addition to rooms, there is also an option to add zones. A zone is a group of rooms that you would like to serve together. Consider, for example, the first floor, where your bedroom, bathroom and guest room are. By grouping these in a zone, operation is a lot easier.
Finally, you can group accessories. Suppose you have several lamps in your living room that you want to operate all at the same time, then you put them in a group. The lamps then react as a single accessory, while they are actually several lamps. These types of groups bring more overview to your home, especially if you have a lot of accessories.
Is there a Apple’s HomeKit app?
With the Home app from Apple you can control everything around HomeKit accessories. You can find this app in iOS 10 and newer. You need the app to activate scenes, set up devices and control automation. Read our guide to the Home app for all about setting it up and using it. We have a separate tip for the Home app and HomeKit on the Mac .
The Home app is available on the following devices:
- iPhone and iPad (from iOS 10 )
- Apple Watch (from watchOS 3 )
- Mac (from macOS Mojave )
Is Apple’s HomeKit safe?
Apple makes HomeKit very secure. Thanks to end-to-end encryption between devices, no one can ‘steal’ the data. Also, developers can only control certain devices, but they cannot use or analyze data. Only people you have invited to your HomeKit home can control your devices. As the owner, you can revoke access at any time. Because your iPhone and iPad are properly locked with Touch ID , Face ID and a passcode, not just anyone who has found your iPhone can operate your devices.
There have been no major security issues in recent years. However, a HomeKit leak occurred in December 2017 , allowing devices to be controlled remotely by unauthorized users. Apple quickly closed the leak remotely and released a software update a few weeks later to definitively fix the problem. Apple is on top of it when it comes to HomeKit security, as this leak proved. As soon as something in security is discovered, Apple is in a position to remotely disable features and fix the problem with a software update.