I cordially invite you to the next guide that will introduce you to the world of Smart Home. In today's article, we'll cover Apple HomeKit and the Home apps. If you have an iPhone, iPad or MacBook, you must have noticed it and you are probably wondering what it is. We will explain it in detail in this article.
HomeKit is a standard for communication of smart devices prepared by Apple. It allows you to easily control them from your iPhone, iPad or Macbook. The problem of smart devices is the lack of integration between manufacturers. Every manufacturer that produces smart appliances wants users to use their applications. As a result, if we want to have products from many manufacturers, the number of applications grows and we have to connect between them. It is very inconvenient.
HomeKit is one communication standard for many different manufacturers, and the Apple House app allows you to conveniently control them. Thus, we do not have to have many applications, only one and it is very well refined by Apple. HomeKit, however, gives much more. Each device must undergo rigorous testing at Apple, so we are more confident that its use will be safe. From the manufacturers' perspective, they lose customers in their applications, but gain a much wider group of those who are looking for equipment only HomeKit.
To be able to use HomeKit compatible accessories, we must have an Accessory Center. Such a center can be:
- iPad as long as it is connected to the local Wifi network
- Apple TV
Each of these devices performs the same function, i.e. communicates devices that are in the home Wifi network. It doesn't matter which one you choose, as long as you choose at least one. It is difficult to buy a HomePod on our market, so most often it will be an iPad or Apple TV.
What devices are compatible with HomeKit?
The number of HomeKit compatible devices has been growing dramatically these days. All thanks to Apple's great efforts to make more and more producers interested in the standard. So you can find, among others:
- Sensors for flooding, door / window opening, movement, smoke, light
- Purifiers and humidifiers
- Door locks
- And much much more.
A full list of HomeKit compatible devices can be found on Apple websites, but I'm not sure if they are keeping up with the update. The list of producers is also substantial. Philips, Xiaomi, Aqara, Fibaro, LG, Netatmo, Tado work with them. In fact, even if the equipment is not compatible with HomeKit, you can help yourself using the so-called HomeBridge, but that's a separate entry topic.
What does HomeKit give us?
We already know what HomeKit is and what it involves. Now the question is what does it really give us? Thanks to HomeKit we can:
- Remotely control all devices - thanks to the accessories center, we are able to control devices from every corner of the world. We raise the blinds when driving to the house, or arm the house, they will be on vacation (because we just remembered). It is really convenient
- Transmit voice commands to devices - at the moment only in English. We can say, for example, "Siri turn the light off" and Siri will do it without stuttering.
- Read data from devices - if we have any sensors, we can easily see all the data they show us (temperature, humidity, etc.)
- Divide our house into rooms and allocate products to specific rooms.
- Receive push notifications when one of the sensors detects danger. An example would be detection of flooding, smoke or burglary.
- We can create scenes - This is a set of commands for several devices. An example is the "Dream" scene, when we turn off all the lights, pull down the blinds and close the front door.
- And create automation - Here our imagination limits us to a large extent. Automations allow equipment to start automatically when events are detected. This can be our arrival at home, the setting sun or motion detection. We often show basic automation in reviews and guides.
How to add a device to HomeKit?
To add a device to HomeKit, you need to be sure that it is compatible with it. It means here that it has the following symbol:
We scan this code in the house application, or use it when pairing the device with the manufacturer's application. An example is the Mi Home app for Xiaomi. Most often in that place we add the device to our smart home and at some point we are asked to scan such a code. This code is always placed on the box and on the device itself. An example of adding a product to Apple HomeKit will be shown at the Aqara gateway.
With the device added in the home application, you can now perform all the activities we wrote about. To find out exactly what you can do with a given product, we strongly encourage you to read our reviews and products. We always describe in them whether a given equipment has integration with HomeKit and what we can get through it. We hope that the HomeKit theme is already a little brighter and we invite you to our other guides!