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Celebrate Independence Day with HomeKit and Siri!

Nanoleaf Aurora
Nanoleaf Aurora (Image credit: Christopher Close / iMore)

Just because Independence Day is celebrated primarily outdoors, it doesn't mean that the party has to stop once you retire for the day. HomeKit lighting can simulate the pops and flashes of those banging fireworks displays inside of your home through automations and scenes, each of which are incredibly easy to set up.

All it takes is the right accessories, a few minutes of your time, and a few taps, and you will be celebrating in style. So let's put use the power of apps, automations, and scenes to make your Independence Day smarter.

Convenient celebrations

Nanoleaf Canvas

Nanoleaf Canvas (Image credit: iMore)

Before we dive into building our own, you may already have access to some of the best Independence Day theme scenes around. Nowadays, most color lighting accessories and apps include pre-configured scenes that can launch your celebration with just a tap or two. Nanoleaf (opens in new tab) in particular, offers some truly awesome scenes, so if you have the gear, here's how to put them to use.

How to set the Nanoleaf Fireworks and Firecrackers scene

  1. Launch the Nanoleaf app.
  2. Tap on Discover located at the bottom of the app.
  3. Tap on the Paint palette icon.

Nanoleaf Fireworks Scene Steps

Nanoleaf Fireworks Scene Steps (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Scroll down until you see the Fireworks and Firecrackers scene.
  2. Tap the Download button.
  3. Tap the checkbox next to the Name of your light panel.

Nanoleaf Fireworks Scene Steps

Nanoleaf Fireworks Scene Steps (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Download.
  2. Type in a custom Scene name if desired.
  3. Tap OK to save the scene.

Nanoleaf Fireworks Scene Steps

Nanoleaf Fireworks Scene Steps (Image credit: iMore)

The Fireworks and Firecrackers scene should now be lighting up your panels with bright pops of colors. You can make adjustments to the speed and delay for the scene by editing the scene from the Dashboard tab within the app. With faster speeds, you can really make your home come alive.

Have Philips Hue lighting in your home? There are some great third-party apps that can make your lighting look just as good without creating an automation. One of our favorites is OnSwitch for Philips Hue (opens in new tab), which has quite a few different fireworks specific variants to choose from.

The Philips Hue team also offers up a more subtle solution (opens in new tab) for putting red, white, and blue, on your lighting through the Living Scenes Hue Labs Formula if you are willing to put in a little work. The Philips Hue line also includes outdoor lighting as well, so you can put the colors of the stars and stripes on display all night long.

Make it your own

Philips Hue Play Bars on a desk

Philips Hue Play Bars on a desk (Image credit: Christopher Close / iMore)

If your HomeKit lighting's app doesn't include scenes for Independence Day or if you can't find one that speaks to you, don't worry, you can still make your own magic with automations. By creating your own automation, you can set your favorite shades of red, white, and blue, as well as just how bright your stars will shine.

Creating a custom automation in the Home app also enables you to tie it in with other HomeKit accessories, such as door sensors or locks. With the right mix, you can set your festive lighting inside to spring to life as soon as you return from the outdoor celebration. Let's create an automation that will do just that!

  1. Launch the Home App.
  2. Tap the Automation tab.
  3. Tap the Add Button in the top right corner of the screen (looks like a plus sign).

Launch the Home app, tap automations, tap the plus icon

How to set up automations in the Home app on iOS 13 on the iPhone by showing steps: Launch the Home app, Tap the Automation tab, Tap the Add Button (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Choose An Accessory is Controlled.
  2. Choose the Accessory that will turn on your lights. I will choose the Schlage Sense door lock.
  3. Tap Next.

Tap An Accessory is Controlled, Tap Accessory, Tap Next

Tap An Accessory is Controlled, Tap Accessory, Tap Next (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap on the desired Accessory state used for the automation. I will choose Unlocks for my automation.
  2. Tap Next.
  3. Choose which Accessories or Scenes you'd like to control with this automation. I will choose my Nanoleaf Aurora, Canvas, and Hexagons.

Tap Accessory State, Tap Next, Tap Accessories or Scenes

Tap Accessory State, Tap Next, Tap Accessories or Scenes (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Next.
  2. Long press on the Accessories in your automation to change their color. I will choose a combination of red, white, and blue.
  3. Tap Done.

Tap Next, Tap and hold on an accessory, Tap Done

Tap Next, Tap and hold on an accessory, Tap Done (Image credit: iMore)

Now that your automation is created, the next time that the door is unlocked, it will set all of the assigned lighting to the exact colors and brightness automatically. Just remember to turn the automation off, or set your lighting back to normal shades once you are done celebrating the Fourth!

Keep your cool

Ecobee SmartThermostat

Ecobee SmartThermostat (Image credit: Christopher Close / iMore)

Once the festivities are over, you may need to cool down from the summer's heat. Instead of running to the thermostat or the switch on the wall for the fan, let Siri take care of things for you. All you need is a HomeKit compatible thermostat, and either an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or HomePod, to make it all happen.

Let's create a scene that fires up the air conditioner in the home with just a shout. Don't worry its not that hard to do!

  1. Launch the Home app for on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the Add Button in the top right corner of the screen (looks like a plus sign).
  3. Tap Add Scene.

Steps 1-3 depicting how to create a scene in the Home app

How to create scenes in the Home app on iOS 13 on the iPhone by showing steps: Launch the Home app, Tap the Add Button, Tap Add Scene (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Give your scene a Name. I will name mine "Cool Down".
  2. Tap Add Accessories.
  3. Choose the Accessories you want to add to your scene by tapping on them. I will choose my ecobee SmartThermostat.

Name your scene, Tap Accessories, Tap on your accessory

Name your scene, Tap Accessories, Tap on your accessory (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Done when you've selected your accessories.
  2. Long press the Accessories in your scene to change their settings. I will set my thermostat to cool the home down to 72 degrees.
  3. Tap Done when you've adjusted your accessories' settings to your satisfaction.

Tap Next, Tap and hold on your accessory, Tap Done

Tap Next, Tap and hold on your accessory, Tap Done (Image credit: iMore)

Now that your scene is built, you can start cooling down your home on demand with your custom voice command. So for this example, all I need to do is say "Hey Siri, Cool Down". Whether you shout to Siri on your HomePod when you enter, or if you summon the virtual assistant on your iPhone to start cooling a few minutes before heading inside, you won't be sweating for too long.

This scene doesn't just have to be a once a year thing, as you can tie it to time-based automations which will automatically cool your home at a set time. You can even use your iPhone's GPS location to turn it on when you arrive after a long day at the office.

Watch it all

Logitech Circle View Outdoor Installation

Logitech Circle View Outdoor Installation (Image credit: Christopher Close / iMore)

If you just can't get enough of the outdoor visuals and your indoor lighting just won't cut it, then put your outdoor HomeKit camera to use. The quickest and easiest way is to fire up your camera's feed through the Home app, but you can take things further by bringing it to the big screen if you have an Apple TV. AirPlay is a great way to beam your view to the TV, here's how.

  1. Swipe down from the top right corner of the screen to open Control Center.
  2. Tap Screen Mirroring.
  3. Tap on the name of your Apple TV.

Swipe down from the top right corner, Tap Screen Mirroring, Tap on your Apple TV

Swipe down from the top right corner, Tap Screen Mirroring, Tap on your Apple TV (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Launch the Home app.
  2. Tap on Rooms.
  3. Swipe to the left or right to locate your Camera then tap on the Thumbnail image to begin viewing.

Launch the Home app, Tap Rooms, Swipe to navigate to the room where the camera is located, tap on the camera thumbnail

Launch the Home app, Tap Rooms, Swipe to navigate to the room where the camera is located, tap on the camera thumbnail (Image credit: iMore)

For those times where you still want to browse around on your phone, you can use a third-party HomeKit app on the Apple TV to view your cameras. Our favorite is HomeCam (opens in new tab), which can show all of your feeds in a grid or full-screen view, and you can even set it to transition automatically between cameras.

How are you celebrating with HomeKit?

Have some big HomeKit plans for this year's festivities? What accessories and automations are you using to celebrate Independence Day? Let us know in the comments below!