Apple HomeKit – The complete guide to this Apple home automation set up

Apple Home Kit

Remember the famous TV serial Star Trek where doors opened without the need to push them to open, or just think about some robot pushing a button and serving you a cuppa of coffee. Well, the fantasy is now a reality and this new technology is making us somewhat lazy. Where no longer you need to get up from your couch to attend to your door bell you just pick up a new home kit accessory and dive into the shiny  retro future which was once a science fiction all with your iPhone.

Mostly, controlling things with Siri is all the fun here because the world of connected accessories can seem scary and a bit daunting at times, here is the complete guide that will make you understand Apple Home Automation Set Up and how to enable or disable it.

But first of all what is Home Kit

HomeKit is a framework for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home. You can enable users to discover HomeKit accessories in their home and configure them, or you can create actions to control those devices. Users can group actions together and trigger them using Siri.

Latest HomeKit in iOS 10 include support for new types of accessories such as cameras and doorbells, enhancements in remotely connecting with accessories, how set up of Wi-Fi HomeKit accessories has been greatly improved, and how to write HomeKit enabled tvOS Apps also now are loaded with excellent features.

Working of a Home Kit

Home Kit Working

HomeKit is based on a “Home Manager” and a common database, stored in iOS, that contains all the information about the home, its rooms, the accessories inside them, and the services and characteristics of those accessories. Having everything stored all in one place makes for a more consistent experience across apps. Like whatever you have set up in your light control app, will be the same in your speaker control app. With same home name, room names and accessory names.

Suppose you buy Elgato’s Eve Room, a HomeKit accessory that lets you know a room’s temperature along with air quality and the like. After you perform an initial setup process, Apple’s HomeKit framework securely communicates with the accessory to bring you updates in-app and over Siri about the room’s temperature, humidity, air quality, and more. To get started you need to set up HomeKit, and enable and disable settings so you can get the most out of it.

How to set up Home Kit on your iPhone or iPad

Apple Home Kit App

First Configure iCloud security settings and get the Home App

The most important HomeKit setting to configure right away is related to Apple iCloud security. You have to create a passcode, and it’s required before you can use the Home app. Technically, HomeKit is the framework but the app on your iOS device is called Home. On Your iPhone, go to Settings, then type Keychain. If you don’t have a passcode yet, you’ll need to create one. For those who already have a password, know this: You’re now controlling devices in your home like door locks, so it’s a good idea to update your passcode. Select the Change Security Code option and create a new one. Also, make sure the verification number is set to your cellphone number. Note that the Home app costs $14.99

For security use two-factor authentication

Make sure you enable two-factor authentication on your iPhone. Go to Settings, then click your name and select Password & Security. Select the option to turn on two-factor authentication and follow the prompts.

Apple Home Kit App

Allow Hey Siri to get control of things

HomeKit is fantastic, especially if you go hands-free. If you always have to fish out your phone and long-press the Home button to access voice-control, it’s cumbersome. Make sure you enable the “Hey, Siri” function. Go to Settings, then type Siri and enable the “Hey, Siri” option. Now, when you need to turn on the lights or lock the front door, you can just say “Hey, Siri,” and  proceed.

Add a room one by one

Unless you live in a studio apartment, this setting really helps. In the Home app, you can add multiple rooms, and group smart-home devices in each. Even better, you can take a photo so you can remember which room is which. Open the Home app, then select the Rooms tab at the bottom. Click the settings button on the upper left. Select the option to Add Room, then name the room. Use the option to Take Photo, and then snap a photo of the room and save.

Next add scenes

Scenes allow you control multiple devices with a single command. For example, a “goodnight” scene could turn off all of the lights, lock the doors and lower the thermostat. To add a scene, start the Home app and click the Plus sign. Then, select Add Scene. Click Custom, then name the scene. Like to create a scene for all of the lights, name it All Lights. Select Add Accessories to add the devices you want to control with this global command like add all of your lights.

Then give a name to your Home

Though by default “My Home” is the name for your home but in the Home app, select the Edit option, then select the default name. It doesn’t look like you can edit the name, but select the default name and enter a new name. Click Done to save it.

Apple Home Kit

Now invite users

You can add people to the Home app who can then access your connected home. But you need to note that once you add people, they can access door locks, lights and power. Also, if that person doesn’t have a passcode or two-factor authentication, you may be granting access to someone whose phone is not secure. Thus to add someone, make sure it is an iPhone or iPad user with a registered Apple iCloud account. Then, just select their name, and  select Send Invite to give them access.

Include an accessory in favorites

If you have a lot of HomeKit devices in your home, the main screen can look cluttered. Fortunately, you can add and remove accessories from the main home screen in the Home app.  Just long-press on any accessory you’ve added and select Details. Choose to enable or disable the Favorites option.

Apple Home Kit App

Set HomeKit privacy

Some accessories like Philips Hue require that you enable HomeKit data sharing which provides information to that accessory for product improvement purposes. If you do not want sharing this information, it’s easy to turn it off. To disable this setting, go to Settings>Privacy>HomeKit, and you’ll see a list of every product you have connected to HomeKit. Beside each is a button that lets you enable or disable this feature. However, if you turn it off, you may lose some functionality. For example, if you disable data sharing for Philips Hue, you can longer export scene, room and light name information to HomeKit but the lights will otherwise work normally.

But do your wish to remove Home or are tour shiftng to another location

Suppose you are moving or wish to remove it then tou can start all over with the Home app. Just launch the app, then select the Location icon in the upper left corner. Scroll to the bottom and select the Remove Home option.

Home Kit

Features of the Home App

  • Home allows you to create timer and event triggers. For example an event trigger raises the room temperature when you leave the office after sunset only if the current temperature is lower than 20°C.
  • You can control multiple accessories at once using Groups. For example you can turn on all lights in the living room and set the brightness to 50%.
  • Your most important services, groups and scenes can be marked as favorite. Favorites are listed in the Today View and on Apple Watch.
  • You can access your HomeKit accessories remotely by enabling Remote Access in iOS Settings > Home and by having a 3rd generation Apple TV connected to your local network.
  • Use Quick Actions to execute your scenes right from the Home screen on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Take a quick look at your accessories using Peek and Pop.
  • Outlets and light bulbs can now be control using swipe actions. You can toggle the power state by swiping to the left. Swiping to the right lets you quickly change the brightness of lights.

Note that the Home app only works with HomeKit compatible accessories and requires iOS 9.0 or later compatible iOS devices.