HomeKit Overview Updated April 10, 2020

HomeKit

Your home at your command.

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514 'HomeKit' stories

June 2014 - April 2020


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.

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 Today

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been a Nest customer for the past seven years. I put it a second-generation Nest when I built my house back in 2013, and I added a second Nest a few years later for our upstairs unit. I’ve been using the Starling Home Hub for the past six weeks to enable HomeKit support on these products, but I recently swapped out my downstairs Nest with the ecobee SmartThermostat. After a few weeks of using it, I am ready to compare them and decide which unit has the best HomeKit integration. ecobee vs. Nest: what’s the best smart thermostat? expand full story

HomePass HomeKit code manager getting custom fields, new layouts, Siri Shortcuts in latest update

If you’re looking for a better way to store all the HomeKit codes for your smart home accessories, HomePass is the answer. In an upcoming update, the app is becoming even better with support for custom fields, new layouts, Siri Shortcuts, and x-callback-urls.

HomeKit Stories Yesterday

LG continues to expand the availability of AirPlay 2 and HomeKit across its latest lineups of TVs. The company today has announced pricing and availability for its 2020 NanoCell lineup, which starts at $599 with AirPlay and HomeKit support.

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HomeKit Stories April 3

In the past few years of building up my collection of HomeKit products, I would tell people that the value of HomeKit is the ability to bring multiple products from multiple manufacturers into a single application that makes it easy to use. After installing my abode alarm system a few weeks back, something clicked for me. As I was settings up my automations, it clicked in my brain that the true benefit of HomeKit is to leverage automations from all of the devices exposed in your HomeKit ecosystem. expand full story

Earlier this week, Eufy started rolling out HomeKit Secure Video support for the eufyCam 2, and it now seems there is a new pan-and-tilt Eufy camera on the way.

If accurate, this would be the first non-static camera from the budget-focused smart home company…

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HomeKit Stories April 2

The Danalock has filled the last remaining hole in my smart home armory: a smart lock.

You could say I’m something of a home automation fan. I had near-withdrawal symptoms when briefly forced to live without it for a while after moving home back in 2017. Getting things back up-and-running was a great relief!

Lights and smart sockets were followed by window blinds (later given HomeKit compatibility), smart(ish) heating (though more on that another day), and even a control panel.

But I’d avoided a smart lock for three reasons …

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