Philips Hue Play Bars on a deskSource: Christopher Close / iMore

It's hard not to have any smart tech in your home these days. Smart home tech is fairly ubiquitous, and most of us have some form of it in the house. Whether it is smart light bulbs, door locks, or cameras, there's a connected option for just about everything in our homes today. Many of these products also utilize Apple's HomeKit, so you can control the best HomeKit accessories with your iOS device or even Mac through Siri or the Home app. Here's how to use the Home app on Mac.

How to use the Home app on Mac

Unfortunately, you can't directly set up the Home app on your Mac. Instead, you'll need to set it up on your iOS device first.

  1. Make sure that your HomeKit accessory is powered on and near your iOS device. You'll also want to double-check if there is any additional equipment you need for it to work with iOS (i.e., Philips Hue Bridge for Philips Hue bulbs).
  2. On your iOS device, launch the Home app.
  3. Tap on the Plus icon.

    How to add a HomeKit accessory in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Launch the Home app, Tap the plus icon, Tap Add AccessorySource: iMore

  4. Scan the HomeKit setup code for your accessory as prompted using your device's camera.
    • The HomeKit setup code is usually located on the device itself or in the manual included with your accessory. You can also select I Don't Have a Code or Cannot Scan if you just want to enter the code manually.
    • Some accessories support NFC pairing, which you can perform by placing your iPhone close to the HomeKit code.
  5. Tap Add to Home.
  6. Assign your accessory to a Room, then tap Continue.

    How to add a HomeKit accessory in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Scan the HomeKit pairing code with your camera, Tap Add to Home, Select a RoomSource: iMore

  7. Type in a Name for your accessory, then tap Continue.
  8. Select a suggested automation if desired, then tap Continue.
    • Depending on your accessory, you may see additional options during setup, such as setting camera notifications and recording options.
  9. Tap Done.

    How to add a HomeKit accessory in the Home app on the iPhone by showing steps: Type in a name for the accessory or tap Continue, Turn on any automation options desired then tap Continue, Tap DoneSource: iMore

To get your HomeKit accessories to show up in the Home app on Mac, you'll need to be signed in on the same Apple ID on both devices, have iCloud Keychain and Two-Factor Authentication turned on, and Home must be toggled on in your iCloud Settings. Both iOS and your Mac should also be updated with the latest software.

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It's a bit disappointing that you're unable to add new accessories directly in the Mac version of the Home app, but you can still get most of the other features that Home is capable of.

Getting started with Home on macOS

Home App Macos Big Sur FavoritesSource: iMore

Controlling your HomeKit accessories via the Mac works just like it does on iOS and iPadOS, with clicks and right-clicks taking the place of taps and long presses. The macOS Home app also includes the sidebar navigation view that it has on iPad, making it easy to jump to a specific room instead of swiping through each individually.

Home App Macos Big Sur Light ControlsSource: iMore

To turn a device ON/OFF or view a HomeKit camera's live feed, just click on it. Grayed-out icons mean that the device is currently OFF, while white means it's ON. Right-click on a device, and you'll get two options: Show Controls or View Camera and Settings. The Settings menu allows you to do things like renaming your devices, which is useful when moving things around the house.

Home App Macos Big Sur Home SettingsSource: iMore

Settings will allow you to see the device name and room. From here, you can add a device to your favorites list, include or exclude it from status updates (they are included by default), group accessories, adjust HomeKit Secure Video camera options, and see details about the device manufacturer, model number, firmware, and serial number.

When you click on Show Controls, you'll have access to such things as dimming the lights, adjusting temperature, and more, depending on the devices you have. For those who use compatible light bulbs, Show Controls will also give you the option to change the color of your lights and enable Adaptive Lighting.

HomeKit notifications are also available on macOS, with banners appearing on the top right-hand side of your screen and in Control Center. Just like on iOS, you can set notifications up to inform you if a door or window is opened or when motion is detected by one of your HomeKit cameras — complete with thumbnail images.

Automation for all

Even though it seems that Home for macOS is a little half-baked without the ability to add accessories, it's still a useful tool to have with convenient controls and notifications. Using the Home app from your Mac means you don't have to look for your iPhone or tablet if you're at the desk and want to control your lighting or summon a live HomeKit camera view.

Or if you want to lower the temperature on your HomeKit thermostat a bit, and your iOS device isn't right next to you, but you're at the computer, just do it from there. It's never been easier, especially if you're lazy. If you're not convinced about smart home tech, maybe the ability to control your house from your computer will change that.

Updated December 2020: Updated for iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur.