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How to create an automation in the Home app

Ios 15 1 Home App Temperature Automation displayed on an iPhone
Ios 15 1 Home App Temperature Automation displayed on an iPhone (Image credit: Christopher Close / iMore)

While controlling smart home accessories via the Home app or Siri is incredibly convenient — to make your home truly smart, you need to know how to create a HomeKit automation. With automation, you can set your HomeKit light switches to turn on automatically when you open the door, at a specific time of day, or even when the smoke detector alarm goes off. Here's how to create HomeKit automation in the Home app.

How to create a location automation

Location automation utilizes GPS and geofencing on your iPhone to determine when to start a series of events. Typically, location automation is best for adjusting settings on a HomeKit thermostat or locking a HomeKit door lock when you head out to work, so you never have to worry about the state of the home when you leave.

Location automation is not limited to your iPhone, though, as it also works with others you invite to your home. You can also use additional options to run automation only when the first person arrives at the house for the day, and you can even choose an entirely different location other than your home.

  1. Launch the Home App.
  2. Tap the Add Button (looks like a plus sign).
  3. Tap Add Automation.

How to create a location automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Launch the Home app, Tap the plus icon, Tap Add Automation (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap on either People Arrive or People Leave depending on your desired automation.
  2. Select When the automation should occur with a tap.
    • Your options will vary depending on if you selected People Arrive or People Leave when creating the automation.
    • Tap the i button to select whose location will be taken into consideration for the automation.
  3. Tap Location to set a desired location such as Home or a work address.

How to create a location automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap either People Arrive or People Leave, Select When the automation will occur with a tap, Tap Location to set a de (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Time to set what times the automation will be active.
  2. Tap Next.
  3. Choose which Accessories or Scenes you'd like to control with this automation with a tap.

How to create a location automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap Time, Tap Next, Tap an accessory or scene (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Next.
  2. Tap and hold on an Accessory to change the target state, such as brightness or off/on, then tap the X button.
  3. Tap Done.
    • Tap Turn Off to set a time for the accessory to turn back off automatically if desired.
    • You can also provide a name for your automation by tapping on the default name at the top of this screen.

How to create a location automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap Next, Tap and hold on the accessory or scene to change state, tap Done (Image credit: iMore)

How to create a time automation

Time automation is a fantastic way to control the home automatically throughout the day. The Home app makes it easy to turn on the HomeKit light bulbs outside at preset times like sunset or at specific times like 8:15 p.m. daily.

Combined with location and people options, you can set your automation only to run when you are actually at home — potentially saving you a little dough. The same also works in reverse, where you can set your lights to turn on at random times when you are not around to give the appearance that someone is home.

  1. Launch the Home App.
  2. Tap the Add Button (looks like a plus sign).
  3. Tap Add Automation.

How to create a time automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Launch the Home app, Tap the plus icon, Tap Add Automation (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap A Time of Day Occurs.
  2. Tap on a Preset Time like sunrise, or dial in a Specific Time.
  3. Tap the Days that you want the automation to run.

How to create a time automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap A Time of Day Occurs, Tap a preset time or dial in a specific time, Select specific days with a tap (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap People to have the automation run when specific people are home or away.
  2. Tap Next.
  3. Choose which Accessories or Scenes you'd like to control with this automation.

How to create a time automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap People, Tap Next, Tap an accessory or scene (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Next.
  2. Tap and hold on an Accessory to change the target state, such as brightness or off/on, then tap the X button.
  3. Tap Done.
    • Tap Turn Off to set a time for the accessory to turn back off automatically if desired.
    • You can also provide a name for your automation by tapping on the default name at the top of this screen.

How to create a time automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap Next, Tap and hold on the accessory or scene to change state, tap Done (Image credit: iMore)

How to create an accessory automation

Accessory automation is set into motion when a particular device — like a light, experiences a change. For example, you can create an automation that turns off a ceiling fan automatically in the living room when the lights turn off.

The best part is that accessory automation will run even if someone toggles a physical switch on the wall, as they are not limited to the Home app or Siri.

  1. Launch the Home App.
  2. Tap the Add Button (looks like a plus sign).
  3. Tap Add Automation.

How to create an accessory automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Launch the Home app, Tap the plus icon, Tap Add Automation (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap An Accessory is Controlled.
  2. Select which Accessories will start the automation by tapping on each one.
  3. Tap Next.

How to create an accessory automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap An Accessory is Controlled, Tap on an accessory or scene, Tap Next (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Choose the desired Accessory State for the automation, like Turns On, with a tap.
  2. Tap Time and set the specific times that you want the automation to be active.
  3. Tap People to set location-based conditions for when the automation will run.

How to create an accessory automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Choose an accessory state with a tap, Tap Time, Tap People (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Next.
  2. Tap on a Scene or Accessory that you wish to control when the automation runs.
  3. Tap Next.

How to create an accessory automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap Next, Tap a scene or accessory, Tap Next (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap and hold on an Accessory to change the target state, such as brightness or off/on.
  2. Tap the X button when you have set your desired state.
  3. Tap Done.
    • Tap Turn Off to set a time for the accessory to turn back off automatically if desired.
    • You can also provide a name for your automation by tapping on the default name at the top of this screen.

How to create an accessory automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap and hold on an accessory to change state, Tap X after making adjustment, Tap Done (Image credit: iMore)

How to create a sensor automation

Sensor automation comes into play when a change in the environment — like a motion event or a change in temperature occurs. This type of automation means that you can have a light turn red when the air quality in the home takes a turn or have your thermostat switch to cooling mode when it gets too stuffy.

  1. Launch the Home App.
  2. Tap the Add Button (looks like a plus sign).
  3. Tap Add Automation.

How to create an accessory automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Launch the Home app, Tap the plus button, Tap Add Automation (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap A Sensor Detects Something.
  2. Select which Accessories will start the automation by tapping on each one.
  3. Tap Next.

How to create an accessory automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap A Sensor Detects Something, Tap on an accessory, Tap Next (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Choose the desired Accessory State for the automation, like Turns On, Opens, or Temperature with a tap.
  2. Tap Time and set the specific times that you want the automation to be active.
  3. Tap People to set location-based conditions for when the automation will run.

How to create an accessory automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap on a desired accessory state, Tap Time, Tap People (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Next.
  2. Tap on a Scene or Accessory that you wish to control when the automation runs.
  3. Tap Next.

How to create an accessory automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap Next, Tap on a scene or accessory, Tap Next (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap and hold on an Accessory to change the target state, such as brightness or off/on.
  2. Tap the X button when you have set your desired state.
  3. Tap Done.
    • Tap Turn Off to set a time for the accessory to turn back off automatically if desired.
    • You can also provide a name for your automation by tapping on the default name at the top of this screen.

How to create an accessory automation in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Tap and hold on an accessory, Tap the X button after making changes, Tap Done (Image credit: iMore)

Make your home truly smart with HomeKit automation

Now that you know how to create HomeKit automation, you are ready to unlock your smart home's true potential. With HomeKit automation, you can say goodbye to the days where you left the lights on all day with a HomeKit motion sensor, or you can ensure that your home is always secure with a HomeKit door lock. With HomeKit automation, the possibilities are endless.

Updated November 2021: Updated for iOS 15.