HomeKit Overview Updated October 15, 2021


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697 'HomeKit' stories

June 2014 - October 2021

What is HomeKit / Apple Home?

Along with several other new APIs for developers, Apple announced HomeKit in June 2014, which allows all home automation accessories/devices to work together in harmony with iOS. The API allows home automation developers to centralize all home automation without needing separate apps to access each device’s specific features. These devices include locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs, switches, and more.

HomeKit allows for secure pairing with devices and the ability to control individual devices. It also makes it possible to group several home automation devices into scenes that allow for easier control of any automation device in specific situations. One of the coolest features available with HomeKit is the ability to control any home automation accessory with Siri based on certain commands or scenes previously configured with these devices.

In 2016, Apple introduced a new Home app that came with a modern look, relatively easy-to-use controls, and access to accessories and scenes from anywhere on iOS 10. Apple’s new built-in Home app arrived on the iPhone’s Home screen, plus you can access a ton of functions from the Lock screen or anywhere on iOS from the new Control Center once you have a HomeKit accessory set up.

In 2018, Apple released the HomePod. It was a way to interact with your connected home devices through Siri using a standalone device.

In 2020, Apple announced that tvOS 14 would gain access to the Home app. iOS 14 is also bringing improvement to the Home app UI.

HomeKit Secure Video

With iOS 13, Apple announced HomeKit Secure Video.

Footage from home security cameras contains your most personal and sensitive data. With HomeKit Secure Video, activity detected by supported cameras is privately analyzed by your home hub using on‑device intelligence to determine if people, pets, or cars are present. When important activity is detected, you and anyone you share your Home app with will receive a rich notification that lets you view the clip right from the Lock Screen. Recorded video is available to view for ten days from the Home app. It’s securely stored for free in supported iCloud accounts and doesn’t count against your storage limit.

While the rollout has been slow, Logitech, Arlo, Netatmo, and Eufy are among the early standouts. With recent privacy issues with Ring, HomeKit Secure Video is likely to continue to grow in popularity. One key benefit with Secure Video is that it works with your existing iCloud storage (200GB and up plan), so you don’t have an extra monthly fee for storage.

HomeKit Router

HomeKit Router was also announced with iOS 13, but it wasn’t released until early 2020. The idea behind the feature is you can give granular control to smart home enabled devices to control where on the internet they can reach.

eero was the first company to roll out support in for HomeKit Router.

With Apple HomeKit, eero gives you even more protection of your HomeKit accessories and an easy way to manage what they are allowed to communicate with in your home and through the internet.

There are three levels of security Apple offers for accessories paired with HomeKit routers:

  • Restrict to Home: Most secure. Your accessory can interact only with HomeKit through your Apple devices. The accessory won’t connect to the Internet or any local devices, so any third-party services, like firmware updates, might be blocked.
  • Automatic: Default security. Your accessory can communicate with HomeKit and connections recommended by its manufacturer.
  • No Restriction: Least secure. This setting bypasses the secure router and allows your accessory to interact with any device in your network or Internet-based service.

How Do You Use HomeKit?

Homekit app

HomeKit devices can be controlled from iPad, iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and HomePod. A 4th generation Apple TV (or newer) is an essential Apple smart home device as it acts as a bridge over iCloud to allow access to your devices when away from home.

9to5Mac’s Bradley Chambers does a regular column about the “Apple Home” lifestyle in his HomeKit Weekly column.

Popular Reviews

HomeKit Stories October 15

My wife and I have recently finalized the plans for our new home, so I am now able to think through how the HomeKit setup will work thoroughly. I plan to completely rebuild the “Home” to eliminate any software “crud” accumulated over the years. The first aspect I’ve been thinking through is what kind of cameras I want to use. I’ve debated using Nest cameras for outdoor use and bridging them to HomeKit using the Starling Home Hub. For indoor use, I am having a hard look at the ONVIS HomeKit Security Indoor Camera in my current home to see how it will work in my new home.

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HomeKit Stories October 14

Popular HomeKit smart light maker Nanoleaf is out today with an all-new product. The Lines HomeKit-enabled modular lights are a totally new form factor from Nanoleaf and feature a slick aesthetic for your home, office, or any space you can think of. We got a chance to test out Lines ahead of today’s pre-order launch, read on for all the details.

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HomeKit Stories October 12

At WWDC this summer, Apple announced that it would be expanding Siri’s availability to third-party devices for the first time. Today, Ecobee is announcing that it is rolling out support for Siri integration for its popular SmartThermostat with voice control. Head below for the full details on how this works.

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HomeKit Stories October 11

TP-Link HomeKit smart plug finally on sale, though not as originally promised

The first TP-Link HomeKit smart plug has quietly gone on sale, more than two years after support for Apple’s smart home ecosystem was promised …

HomeKit Stories October 8

Halloween is almost here, and HomeKit provides a lot of fun ways to automate your Halloween decorations to offer a little “cyber spooking” to trick or treaters as they come knocking.

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HomeKit Stories October 3

I’ve written countless articles about the Starling Home Hub, but the device keeps getting better with no subscription necessary for continuous updates. Earlier this summer, it added AirPlay to Google Nest speakers, and I’ve used it almost daily since then. Today, a new update is available that brings support for the latest Nest cameras to HomeKit.

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HomeKit Stories October 1

There are some big features that should arrive with iOS 15.1 but one of the subtle and useful changes coming looks to be the option to set HomeKit automations based on humidity sensors.

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Onvis has been a long-time HomeKit device manufacturer, but I’ve just recently started using its products. One of the easiest ways to build out a smart home is by adding motion sensors in your home to automate lightning based on if someone is in the room or not. This week, I am looking at the Onvis HomeKit Motion Sensor.

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HomeKit Stories September 24

A few months ago, I reviewed Qingping’s e-ink temperature tracking device. I loved the look of it, as it didn’t follow the trend of high-resolution screens. For the past few weeks, I’ve had Qingping’s Air Monitor Lite, and it brings another unique style to HomeKit.

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HomeKit Stories September 17

I’ve written about a handful of HomeKit compatible light strips in the past few months, but a new model looks to be the best yet. The Onvis Kameleon Smart Light Strips bring some unique features to HomeKit that are worth checking out.

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HomeKit Stories September 13

Tedee is latest HomeKit-compatible smart lock via firmware upgrade

If you’re in Europe and looking for a HomeKit-compatible smart lock, you have one more option now. Tedee has announced that the promised HomeKit support has now been added to its existing locks via a firmware update…

HomeKit Stories September 10

The August Lock is one of my favorite HomeKit devices I own, so when I came across the Yale Smart Cabinet Lock, it was something I was immediately curious to try to see how it worked with HomeKit, as I’ve not used an indoor lock before.

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HomeKit Stories September 8

Aqara Matter support has been added to two of its existing hubs, which upgrades them to the HomeKit-compatible connectivity standard for smart home devices. Updating the hubs will provide Matter connectivity to much of the company’s product range, including sensors, switches, and plugs.

The company says that Matter compatibility is coming first to two hubs, the Aqara M1S and M2

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HomeKit Stories September 7

Thinka has launched their new Z-Wave Controller Thinka Z-Wave. The new controller is the first Apple HomeKit-certified Z-Wave controller and is designed to add more than 3,300 smart Z-Wave products for HomeKit users.

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HomeKit Stories September 3

Since I’ve started working from home full-time as the Senior Digital Web and Marketing Manager for Cribl, I’ve had to rethink my desk set up in the short term. My wife and I are currently in the home building process, so this setup isn’t permanent, but it’s what I have for now. A few weeks ago, I added the HomeKit compatible Meross Smart LED Floor Lamp to my home office, and it’s become the perfect way to brighten up my video calls.

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HomeKit Stories September 2

Eve Thermo latest HomeKit-compatible product to get Thread support

Smart home device company Eve has been adding Thread support to its product lineup, and the Eve Thermo is the latest HomeKit-compatible device to be updated.

The Eve Thermo is a smart radiator valve that allows you to control the temperature of individual rooms in a variety of ways, including Siri

HomeKit Stories September 1

A new Philips Hue Spotify integration has been announced, and is rolling out to the Hue app from today. This will sync your color lights to the music you’re playing on Spotify, either fully automatically or with some degree of manual control.

Unlike third-party apps like Hue Disco, the integration doesn’t rely on your iPhone microphone to listen to the music …

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HomeKit Stories August 19

Nanoleaf is out today with an update that transforms its Shapes and Elements smart light panels into Thread border routers. That means faster performance and better connectivity along with other benefits like Thread being self-maintaining and self-healing.

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HomeKit Stories August 13

Back in 2019, Apple announced that it was teaming up with Samsung, Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance to create a more open and secure standard for smart home accessories. Then referred to as “Connected Home over IP” and eventually rebranded to “Matter,” the launch has now been delayed until 2022.

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I frequently review Eve products for HomeKit because I’ve grown to appreciate their support for Thread and being very privacy-focused. One of their products I am just getting around to using is the Eve Aqua with Thread support.

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HomeKit Stories August 6

I’ve been working my way through all of Eve’s products sold in the US, and I am continually amazed by its tight integration with HomeKit and reliable products. If Apple planned on buying a vendor to build first-party HomeKit products, Eve should be at the top of the list. A recent addition to my office was the Eve Room indoor air quality monitor.

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HomeKit Stories August 3

Ikea this week announced its first-ever smart air purifier, dubbed the Starkvind. Available in October, the Starkvind will come in two different designs, and according to a report from HomeKit Authority, it will support integration with HomeKit and Apple’s Home app.

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HomeKit Stories July 30

HomeKit surge protectors are a popular way to add HomeKit support to multiple appliances at the same time. Many of them allow you to individually control each outlet using the Home app, Siri, or an automation. This week, I am looking at the Energy Strip as a HomeKit option for power strips and built-in energy monitoring.

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HomeKit Stories July 29

Lightstrips are one of the most flexible and popular Hue products, and there’s an even better version on the way: the Philips Hue Gradient Lightstrip Ambiance.

While existing Lightstrips let you choose from 16 million colors, the Gradient takes this to a new level …

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