HomeKit Overview Updated December 1, 2022


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831 'HomeKit' stories

June 2014 - December 2022

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 Today

Eve Outdoor Cam is a sleek outdoor video camera for HomeKit, with integrated LED floodlight ideally designed to light up your driveway at night. I’ve been a fan of the Eve Indoor camera for a while, and my experience with the Outdoor Cam is similarly positive. HomeKit cameras are better than ever, thanks to significant user interface upgrades to the Apple Home app in iOS 16.

And HomeKit Secure Video support means clips are saved to your iCloud account in an end-to-end encrypted manner. To make things even more compelling, this set up requires no additional monthly subscription to use, assuming you pay for some iCloud storage. So how does Eve Outdoor Cam and the state of HomeKit Secure Video fare? Very well, for the most part …

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HomeKit Stories November 25

The Christmas shopping season has officially begun, and since it’s time for HomeKit Weekly, I thought I’d take the time to provide an update on my top HomeKit devices that would be the perfect gift under the Christmas tree for a smart home enthusiast. I’ve been doing these articles for a few years now, and in that time I’ve seen so many great HomeKit products from a variety of manufacturers. With the rollout of Matter and Thread, it’s never been a better time to start building your perfect smart home on the foundation of HomeKit!

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Home+ 6 adds Lock Screen widgets and support for importing Eve accessory data

Home+ 6 for iOS now allows you to quickly access an accessory or a scene right from your Home Screen on an iOS device. For devices running iOS 16, the widgets can be added to the Lock Screen as well. Included in the widgets are “Scene Widgets.” Tapping the scene widget opens the Home+ App and sets that scene.

HomeKit Stories November 23

Aqara, one of my favorite HomeKit vendors, has debuted another product just after the release of its Smart Feeder for Pets. Today, it’s upgrading the popular Aqara Cube Controller with HomeKit and Alexa support. The Aqara Cube T1 Pro’s functionality is similar to the original design, except it recognizes additional actions: push, shake, rotate, and tap.

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HomeKit Stories November 15

The new Matter smart home standard launched to device makers back in October, and more details were shared with consumers two weeks ago. Now, the popular smart home accessory maker Meross has unveiled one of the first Matter devices that you actually order, a new Wi-Fi smart plug that works with Matter out of the box…

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Aqara is back with another great release ahead of the Christmas season, and while it’s not fully compatible HomeKit, because it’s tightly integrated with the entire Aqara ecosystem, it’s something I want to look at from a HomeKit perspective. Let’s take a look at the brand new Aqara Smart Pet Feeder.

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HomeKit Stories November 11

It’s officially Christmas decoration season, and if you’re looking for a smart plug so your Christmas lights can be controlled from your iPhone, iPad Apple Watch, or from Siri (even remotely), the Meross Smart Dimmer Plug is a great option. It’s easy to set up and works with HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant as well. The plug itself is designed with a sleek, compact design and has an LED indicator light that will let you know when it’s powered on. You can also use customize the schedule in the Home app so it automatically turns on at different times of the day. Let’s look at the Meross Outdoor Plug with HomeKit.

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HomeKit Stories November 10

Philips Hue is expanding its line of smart home products with something many people have been waiting on: Festavia string lights. These new string lights pack HomeKit connectivity, among a number of other useful smart home features. They’re perfect for holiday decorations but can also be used year-round for accent lighting and other special occasions.

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HomeKit Stories November 9

I have always had a “broken” smart home situation going on; I’ve had products that would only work with Google Home, others that were Amazon Alexa exclusives, and then you have the elusive HomeKit-enabled products.

Over the last year, I have slowly transitioned all of my smart home products to make sure they are HomeKit enabled so I could use Apple’s Home app as my central hub. The last set of products that I was looking for was a HomeKit-ready video monitoring and sensor-enabled security system; that is where Abode’s HomeKit security bundle steps in to fully complete my smart home experience. Having a trustworthy, top-rated security system that was built to integrate with HomeKit was exactly what I was looking for.

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HomeKit Stories November 7

Nanoleaf expands design possibilities with ‘Lines Squared’ modular HomeKit lights

Nanoleaf launched its Lines modular HomeKit lights (reviewed) just about a year ago and we saw an update bringing a matte black option this past spring. Now the company has launched “Lines Squared” with 90-degree connectors instead of the 60-degree hexagon ones that the original version include.

HomeKit Stories November 5

As with many other HomeKit manufacturers, Yeelight is announcing Matter support across its product line. Finalized in early October, Matter aims to improve the overall smart home landscape with an open standard that’s supported by Apple, Google, Amazon, and others. The initial release of Matter will support a number of the most common smart home categories: lighting and electrical, HVAC controls, window coverings and shades, safety and security sensors, door locks, media devices including TVs, controllers as both devices and applications, and bridges.

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HomeKit Stories November 4

The Meross Water Leak Sensor MS400H is a HomeKit-compatible leak sensor that can connect to your Wi-Fi network. The unit has three parts: the sensor itself, a new Meross hub, and the power adapter for the sensor. The sensor itself is about two inches long by one inch wide and just under an inch deep, so it should fit into most places where you want to place it. It has three prongs on the underside, which is how it detects water leaks. The prongs are also part of the pairing process with onboarding into Homekit, and I’ll cover the weirdness of that later.

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HomeKit Stories November 3

Today marks the official launch day of the new Matter smart home standard, a cross-platform collaboration between companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, and more. A number of companies are officially jumping on board with new accessories today, including Amazon and Philips Hue. There are, however, some caveats with these announcements…

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November 3, 2022: Level Lock has issued a statement regarding the LockPickingLaywer video. Find it below.

After a back and forth about the company’s plans to support Apple’s Home Key feature, smart home accessory maker Level officially released its new Level Lock+ last month. While the new smart lock does indeed support Home Key, it turns out that the physical design of the lock actually does a pretty bad job at keeping your door locked…

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Nanoleaf is out with the news that it’s bringing Matter support to some of its popular smart lights along with two brand-new bulbs. Arriving soon, the lineup will feature GU10 and BR30 options in addition to its popular smart Lightstrip and A19 bulb.

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Eve adds Matter support to three products with a free firmware upgrade

In early October, the long-running push for the launch of a new smart home standard called Matter was finally released as announced by The Connectivity Standards Alliance. This announcement opened the door to official product certification for the first Matter accessories, and it comes as the latest iOS 16.1 betas add support for the technology. Today, the HomeKit-focused smart home vendor Eve is launching Matter support for three existing products.

Today, Aqara, shared its plan for the Apple-backed smart home protocol, Matter. Aqara has worked with the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) and Apple, Google, and Samsung on early testing programs to ensure a smooth transition toward deploying Matter. Aqara users will first gain access to Matter in December 2022 via the Aqara Hub M2 through an over-the-air firmware update, which will allow existing Aqara Zigbee devices to become compatible with Matter.

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HomeKit Stories October 31

One of the valuable updates that arrived with iOS 16 this fall is an overhauled Home app. Additions and changes in the fresh experience include a new UI and iconography, customizable sections, fresh wallpapers, a more seamless experience, and more. Now Apple has shared how it approached the big Home app update in an interview.

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HomeKit Stories October 28

The LIFX Mini White is one of the lowest costs HomeKit bulbs on the market today, with a price tag under just $20. It’s compatible with Apple’s HomeKit and doesn’t require a hub to connect to your Wi-Fi network. At that price point, it’s hard not to be tempted by this smart light if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to try out some Internet-connected lighting in your home. But as with any budget product, there are sacrifices made in order to meet such a low price point, especially when it comes to color options.

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HomeKit Stories October 25

One of the main highlights of iOS 16 is the redesigned Home app, which is part of the Apple’s efforts to push HomeKit and the new Matter standard for smart home devices. Now with iOS 16.2 beta, the company is finally introducing the promised new architecture to the Home app, which is expected to make the experience more reliable for users.

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HomeKit Stories October 24

Back in May, IKEA teased an overhauled smart home hub with Matter support for cross-platform connectivity, plus a brand-new app for an improved experience with its smart home products. Now early listings for the DIRIGERA have popped up giving us a look at the price, release date, and more.

Update 10/24: IKEA has shared the official launch date of the DIRIGERA smart home hub and price for the US with 9to5Mac.

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HomeKit Stories October 21

I’ve been a fan of Meross since they first came out with their early HomeKit products. They’re low cost, spread across a variety of product types, and generally work well. Meross recently released a new look Wi-Fi oil diffuser with HomeKit support, and it’s a great way to start getting your home ready for fall weather and soon – the Christmas holiday season. 

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HomeKit Stories October 20

Doorbell cameras raise privacy questions and threaten gig workers, says report

Doorbell cameras like Ring offer a number of benefits to consumers, but have also normalized home and neighborhood surveillance, says a new report. In particular, they are effectively turning customers of services like Amazon into pseudo managers of delivery workers …

HomeKit Stories October 19

HomeKit Secure Video (HKSV) is Apple’s answer for bringing privacy to indoor and outdoor cameras by processing footage locally for person and animal detection and features end-to-end encryption. However, the capability has a number of technical requirements that can make it a challenge to implement. After planning to bring HKSV to its existing Smart Video Doorbell via a software update, Netatmo has made the difficult decision to skip the feature, here’s why.

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