Apple's Home app may be our favorite way of interacting with our smart HomeKit accessories, but it certainly has some limitations. For those with lots of devices, things can get cluttered in a hurry, and it is missing some no-brainer automation and notification and backup options. Thankfully though, there are apps for that! Here are some of our favorites that help elevate our HomeKit game.
Apple's Home app on iOS provides accessory control and automation basics, but it lacks customization and power-user features. Thankfully, an app can help fill the gaps if you need a little more from your accessories. Home+ 5 allows you to choose from a variety of icons that can offer better matches for your accessories, and it lets you create a custom home screen within the app comprised of your favorites.
A handy group view is also available, giving you an overview of similar accessories, such as door and window sensors with just a tap, without switching rooms. Finally, Home+ 5 gives you the power to view additional device options and settings that are missing from the stock Home app, like controlling your house fan manually through an ecobee thermostat.
Home+ 5 is the HomeKit app for power users. This app may look similar to the Home app, but it packs in serious features such as customization and advanced automation options.
HomeCam for HomeKit
HomeCam for HomeKit strips away the clutter and delivers quick and easy access to your HomeKit camera feeds. This clean and focused app presents your cameras in a grid view upon launch, and it also includes an auto-cycling mode that gives you a fullscreen view that rotates to the next camera according to your settings.
HomeCam also includes options for putting your live camera feeds directly in the widgets portion of your iPhone and iPad. If that weren't enough, HomeCam creates Shortcuts that pull up a camera feed using just your voice, and the purchase price includes apps for your Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.
HomeCam is the ultimate camera app for iPhones and iPad. Simply launch the app to see all of your feeds without other accessories getting in the way, or put your cameras in your widgets area for convenient access.
Controller for HomeKit
While setting up HomeKit accessories isn't the most time-consuming task, things can add up quickly if you ever need to add them all back at once. Controller for HomeKit solves this with a robust set of backup and restore features that can help if a disaster strikes.
The Controller for HomeKit app is also one of the few HomeKit apps available that support logs for all of the behind-the-scenes action. While limited to when it is running in the foreground on your iOS device, logging will display every little thing that your HomeKit accessories do. With logs, you can see the moment an accessory turns on, and it continuously scrolls with updates as they happen.
Controller for HomeKit is absolute must-have thanks to its ability to backup your HomeKit home. This app also includes a handy real-time logging feature.
Pushcut: Shortcuts Automation
Pushcut is an intelligent app that combines the power of push notifications and Shortcuts with HomeKit to enable some truly unique ways of controlling your home. We have all been there at some point — when automation turns off the lights at a specific time of day, leaving you in the dark when you are not on your regular schedule.
With Pushcut, instead of automation that runs automatically, you can set your iOS device to send you a push notification at a set time instead. So if you are working late in the office, your lights won't go out with you still in it. Alternatively, you can ignore the notification and keep on doing your thing without interruption.
Pushcut may look a little daunting at first, but once you get the hang of creating notifications, you will be on your way to a much smarter home.
HomePass for HomeKit
HomeKit pairing codes, those little stickers with the QR code and the eight digits included with every accessory, seem to have a knack for getting thrown away or just getting lost somewhere around the home. Unfortunately, these codes are crucial to the pairing process, and if you can't track it down, you won't be able to add it back to the Home app.
HomePass for HomeKit aims to solve this problem by offering a place to store all of your codes in one convenient app. Once you enter one of your codes, it is accessible from your iOS devices, Mac, or Apple Watch. Now you can pull up the code any time, and the Apple Watch can even show the QR code, allowing you to scan it with your phone.
HomePass is a must-have app for those with tons of HomeKit accessories around the home. This app stores your HomeKit pairing codes, making them just a few taps away on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.
Wake Up Light – Sunrise Alarm
As its name suggests, the Wake Up Light app is a unique HomeKit app that creates a simulated sunrise with your accessories. This simple app allows you to set your desired wake-up time for each day of the week and the speed at which your lights ramp up their brightness.
While you can technically do this on your own with the Home app, Wake Up Light makes it simple by adding multiple scenes and automation triggers to your Home app with your preferred times all at once.
While you can create scenes and automation for wake-up lights on your own through the Home app, Wake Up Lights makes things so much easier, doing the hard work behind the scenes.
Signals for HomeKit
The Signals for HomeKit app solves the age-old problem of getting the attention of everyone in your home without having to yell or travel from room to room. This simple app takes your existing HomeKit lighting accessories and combines them with a quick toggle that can flash them on or off.
Signals for HomeKit is an excellent way of summoning your kids to the dinner table or letting someone know that they are taking a little too much time in the shower. Lights around the home can also be set to different colors, making them even more helpful.
Nothing gets someone's attention more than flashing lights, and Signals for HomeKit does just that. To make an even bigger statement, combine Signals with audio automation to ensure that your message gets across.
HomeScan for HomeKit
The HomeScan for HomeKit app is one of those utilities that you may not use every day, but it will come in handy at some point over your smart home journey. This clever app scans for Bluetooth signals in your home and displays their signal strength based on your current location.
Simply choose an accessory that you want to monitor on the iPhone version of the app, and walk around your home while wearing your Apple Watch. The Watch app will display the real-time signal strength of an accessory you are tracking, which is excellent for diagnosing a problematic connection or determining the best spot for your latest gear.
Have a slow Bluetooth accessory or one that sometimes shows the dreaded "No Response" in the Home app? Then you need HomeScan. This app can show your accessory's signal strength right on your wrist.
Home Widget • for HomeKit
For some strange reason, the Home app for iOS and iPadOS still doesn't support Apple's fancy home screen widgets feature introduced alongside iOS 14. So if you want to access your HomeKit sensors, scenes, and controls from your home screen, you will need an app — like Home Widget.
Home Widget features tons of customization options such as multiple widget panel sizes, loads of icons, and lots of fun colors, so you don't have to worry about it clashing with your perfectly crafted home screen. Home Widget even makes it easy to share your customizations to other devices via AirDrop.
Home Widget puts your favorite HomeKit accessories and scenes a tap away by adding them right on the home screen of your iPhone and iPad.
Streamie is another HomeKit camera app that helps you keep an eye on everything in and around your home. This app can display up to 25 cameras at once with a classic grid camera view, including those not in the HomeKit world, via the RTSP protocol.
This app doesn't just show you cameras as it can actually pan, tilt, and zoom into your feeds and save snapshots directly to an iCloud Shared Photo Album. The app is free to try, limiting you to just one camera, but if that is all you have, this is a great way to see how valuable having quicker access to your feed can be.
Streamie brings the classic closed-circuit video feed view to the HomeKit world through your iPhone or iPad. This free to try app can display up to 16, yes 16, cameras all at once, and it can even let you interact with it if your gear supports it
Get more out of your smart home accessories with the best HomeKit apps
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The best HomeKit apps for iPhone and iPad unleash the true potential of your smart home. Awesome third-party apps — like Home+ 5, give you the ability to automate your HomeKit light bulbs or other accessories in ways that are simply not possible through Apple's Home app. Other apps, like Controller for HomeKit, allow you to back up your home's configuration and group your accessories into folders, making managing your home more accessible.
Updated March 2022: Updated with the latest picks for iPhone and iPad.
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Christopher spends most of his time writing and dreaming about all things HomeKit and the Home app. Whether it is installing smart light switches, testing the latest door locks, or automating his households daily routines, Christopher has done it all.