HomeKit Overview Updated June 3, 2020

HomeKit

Your home at your command.

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540 'HomeKit' stories

June 2014 - June 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 June 3

Update: Preorders are now open.

Eve Cam is available for pre-order from the Eve Store at a price of USD $149.95 and will start shipping on June 23rd. It will be available at apple.com and Amazon starting July.

Eve Systems has announced the Eve Cam, which it describes as “the first-ever indoor camera made exclusively for Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video, built from the ground up to keep your data secure”…

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HomeKit Stories June 2

Eufy has made a brief post explaining the HomeKit delay with the affordable Indoor Cam it launched back in April.

The company promised at the time that it would get HomeKit support, but this has not yet happened. The post says there will be a further delay, but for a very good reason …

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HomeKit Stories May 29

The HomeKit-compatible air-purifier from Vocolinc will go on sale in the US from June 15. The Vocolinc PureFlow Air Purifier had previously been put up for pre-order in Europe.

The company says it’s also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant …

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HomeKit Stories May 28

Philips Hue bulbs are one of the easiest ways to give your existing light fixtures smart home capabilities, including through Apple’s HomeKit platform. The problem with Philips Hue switches is that whenever a wall light switch is flipped off, the smart lights become unresponsive. The Lutron Aurora dimmer is a simple yet ingenious way to solve this problem.

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Netatmo is out today with a new version of its HomeKit Outdoor Security Camera that adds a built-in Siren to the device. Other features include an integrated security light and options to record video to a microSD card or a Dropbox account.

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HomeKit Stories May 26

HomeKit security system maker Abode launches redesigned app with new quick actions, access to multiple systems, more

Abode, maker of the Iota HomeKit security system and other smart home devices has launched its all-new mobile app for all users after running a beta test. Abode 5.0 for iOS and Android features an updated UI, new one-tap quick actions, the ability to manage multiple systems without logging out, and more.

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