Take control of HomeKit by sorting accessories into rooms, zones, and scenes.
Apple's HomeKit framework offers manufacturers a way to easily and securely hook home automation devices into iCloud, Siri, and your iPhone or iPad. If you've decided to take the plunge and you've set up a few HomeKit-compatible devices in your home, you can set up rooms and zones to control them. You can also group multiple accessories into scenes, triggered by a command word or phrase.
Name your devices, rooms, and zones
Siri understands custom names for devices, rooms, and zones (groupings of multiple rooms). Once you've named a HomeKit-enabled device, you'll be able to control it with its name, but you may also want to group multiple devices into specific rooms and zones—this lets you turn off multiple lights by saying "Turn off the lights in the Kitchen," or "Turn off the lights Upstairs," for example.
Rooms control multiple accessories, while Zones control multiple Rooms. As such, Zones are more useful for controlling areas like "Upstairs," "Downstairs," and "Outside".
Apple doesn't currently offer a central Home app, so you have to name your accessories, rooms, and zones on an app-by-app basis. Here's a general guide on how to do so, though the exact steps may vary by app.
How to rename your HomeKit accessory
- Open the HomeKit app of your choice and find your accessory.
- Tap the Edit button next to the accessory (or on the accessory screen).
- Tap the Name field if necessary.
- Rename your accessory and press Save.
How to create a HomeKit Room and add accessories
- In your HomeKit app of choice, find the Rooms tab or setting. (It may be behind a Settings icon, or a "Siri Integration" screen.)
- Tap the plus button to add a new room.
- Name your room and select the devices you want to control within it.
- Press Save.
How to create a HomeKit Zone and add accessories
- In your HomeKit app of choice, find the Zones tab or setting. (It may be behind a Settings icon, or a "Siri Integration" screen.)
- Tap the plus button to add a new zone.
- Name your zone and select the rooms you want to control within it.
- Press Save.
How to create a HomeKit scene
Unlike Rooms and Zones, scenes contain both accessories and actions for those accessories: For instance, the "This is Halloween!" scene not only controls all my Hue lights, but it has an action that, upon me saying the phrase, will turn all the lights on and change their color to deep orange. (Spooky!)
Setting up a scene varies wildly from app to app. My favorite is the Home app, though even it has a few quirks when setting up scenes.
Note: For scenes to work best with Siri, the code phrase should have multiple words, and they shouldn't be words Siri could confuse with another request. (Naming something "Search Google", for instance, will net you a very unhappy voice assistant.)
- Find the Scenes tab in your HomeKit app of choice.
- Tap the plus button to add a new scene.
- Name the scene and press Save.
- Tap on the new scene and press the plus button to add a new action.
- Select the accessory you want to add to your scene.
- The accessory will show its current settings when you tap on it; you'll have to re-select all the actions you'd like to execute for your scene. Those actions will highlight blue once you've changed them.
- Once you're finished, tap the Home name in the upper left corner.
- Add actions for any other accessories you want to control.
- Press Done when you're finished.
- Press Execute to see a preview of the scene, or say the scene name to Siri.
Using names, rooms, and zones with Siri
Once you've finished naming your devices, rooms, and zones, you can use those names to control your accessories via Siri. It may take a few minutes for Siri to register those names, so don't panic if it doesn't happen immediately.
If you want to know the kinds of commands you can say to Siri, look no further than our Siri and HomeKit Guide:
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