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 new API will allow 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 which comes 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 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 (a swipe up from the bottom of the screen) 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.
How Do You Use HomeKit?
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.
Popular HomeKit Devices
- Review: Lutron’s Fan Speed Control is the best way to retrofit your ceiling fan with HomeKit
- Hands-on: Philips Hue Outdoor sensor: an ideal smart home companion [Video]
- VOCOlinc’s FlowerBud combines a Siri-controlled diffuser with a cool mood lamp
- Smart Home Diary: Repurposing an iPad Air as a home control panel for guest use