HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework. 

In our seventh installment, we’re exploring how smart locks work with HomeKit. 9to5Mac has also teamed up with our sponsor August Home to give away Apple’s latest 64GB (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and August’s Smart Lock Pro + Connect Wi-Fi Bridge this month (a value of over $1,000 USD). Enter here.

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Siri

Smart locks that work with HomeKit including August Smart Locks let you replace your keys with your voice using Siri. You can still use your keys as a backup, but voice is often more convenient in the dark or if your hands are full.

Here are some example phrases:

  • Hey Siri, lock the front door
  • Siri, is the back door locked?
  • Hey Siri, did I lock the house?

When your iPhone is unlocked, Siri can lock or unlock smart locks or simply check the locked status for you upon request. Siri on Apple Watch can also fully control smart locks. This is especially convenient because the watch stays unlocked as long as skin contact is maintained.

Siri on Apple TV and HomePod can’t unlock doors, but both can lock doors and check lock status. Since security devices can’t be unlocked, that also means HomeKit Scenes that unlock doors can’t be controlled on those devices. Siri is also available on the Mac, but it can’t control HomeKit yet.

Home app

If you don’t want to use Siri, you can always check or toggle lock status from the Home app on iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch (if your lock is favorited).

Like other HomeKit accessories, smart locks are assigned to a specific room, can have their own name, and can be favorited to appear on the first tab of the Home app.

If your smart lock is among your top nine favorited accessories, you can also access it from Control Center on the lock screen or within other apps.

This is especially convenient if you want to frequently replace your keys with iPhone control, and access is only granted when your device is unlocked.

Automation

Automation lets you use triggers like time and location to put HomeKit to work for you, and smart lock control can be automated so you never forget to lock the door before you leave.

HomeKit lets you set conditions for automations too so you can create some useful rules. For example, you can automatically unlock the door when the first person in your family arrives home if it’s locked. Or you can automatically lock the door, but choose to only do so when the last person in the family leaves.

You can still lock manually with a key or with Siri or the Home app, but setting up an automation like this helps you never forget to secure your home.

Notifications

Smart locks in HomeKit can also alert you to suspicious activity or keep you up-to-date on family activity.

Notifications can be turned on for all lock activity or based on rules like time of day and when people are home or away. For example, you can choose to only receive alerts for lock activity at night when you’re not home.

By default, HomeKit will spam you with all lock activity, but I highly recommend choosing a rule based system from each lock’s details page in the Home app.

Stay tuned for the next installment of HomeKit Weekly next Wednesday when we expect to dive into HomeKit in iOS 12, and catch up on the first five entries below:


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