HomeKit troubleshooting: Have you tried turning it off and on again?

My pal and podcaster in crime Allison "podfeet" Sheridan of NosillaCast snagged one of the brand-spankin'-new, HomeKit-enabled security cameras from D-Link. The D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD is a 180º wireless camera and it's one of the first indoor security cameras to offer HomeKit compatibility.

See at Apple

Given this is a story about troubleshooting the sometimes-troublesome HomeKit and Home app, I won't go into detail about its specs; you can read more about those here:

  • D-Link announces Omna 180 Cam, the first HomeKit-enabled security camera

Setting up the Omna 180 Cam

Allison talks about her positive experience with the Omna 180 Cam — including a refreshingly simple setup process — on the NosillaCast blog. I won't spoil it for you, but it's clear Allison was impressed:

Seriously, this entire setup took maybe 10 minutes total including taking screenshots for the show notes. It was a flawless and obvious setup process.

Unfortunately, Apple's own Home app didn't succeed in making things as simple as D-Link. Everything was going swimmingly until it came time to manage HomeKit-enabled accessories remotely (Allison and Steve Sheridan were away from their home). Put simply, they found they couldn't manage their devices.

When you access your HomeKit-enabled accessories while you're away from home, you're actually dictating commands to your Home Hub(s) — which can be an iPad you leave at home or a fourth-generation Apple TV — and your Home Hub(s) are passing along those commands to your various HomeKit-enabled accessories.

When it comes to weak links, the Home Hub system is the weakest. Take the erratic nature of the Home Hub system, toss in odd iCloud syncing errors, and suddenly you've got a mess. Allison and I shot some iMessages back and forth to try to troubleshoot the issue. It took some fiddling with iCloud accounts, two-factor authentication, and turning things off and on again to get everything fixed.

I gotta say, Allison hit the nail on the head (and made me chuckle) with this observation:

I have to say that the Home app from Apple is about as opaque of an interface as Snapchat.

You can read about the whole troubleshooting process in Allison's Omna 180 Cam writeup.

Ask Mikah!

By the way, if you've got HomeKit and home automation problems, check out the new Ask Mikah column in our forums! Let's get that connected home problem solved!

Mikah Sargent

Mikah Sargent is Senior Editor at Mobile Nations. When he's not bothering his chihuahuas, Mikah spends entirely too much time and money on HomeKit products. You can follow him on Twitter at @mikahsargent if you're so inclined.