HomeKit on iPhone

Updated February 2017 to include information about Apple's Home app and the addition of programmable light switches in iOS 10.3 and later.

Apple has made it incredibly easy to set up your new home automation accessories with its HomeKit system — assuming, that is, you've picked up an accessory which works with HomeKit. (If you're not sure, look for the "Works with Apple HomeKit" badge on the accessory's packaging; additionally, we have a breakdown of all the currently compatible devices.)

Apple also has a fantastic Home app that brings together all supported smart accessories under one app, so you can access everything without having to jump between branded apps. If you don't want to use Apple's Home app with your various smart devices, but still want to be able to perform actions with Siri, you can do so without needing the Home app.

If you are looking for a great third-party app that lets you combine your smart accessories, the best free app is Elgato's Eve; if you're looking for something more full-featured, I highly recommend the Home app from Matthias Hochgatterer.

How to set up multiple HomeKit homes for your smart accessories

If this is your first HomeKit accessory, you're going to need to set up a "home" container: This groups all the HomeKit accessories for your current home. You can set up multiple HomeKit houses (if you, say, have both a local home and a vacation home with smart accessories), though only one can work as the "primary" house for Siri at a time.

Once you've downloaded your app of choice, here's how you set up a new house.

  1. Launch your preferred HomeKit supported app.
  2. Press OK if the app asks you to access your Home data.
  3. Tap the plus button to add a home; In the Eve app, tap Add Accessory
  4. Name your home.

After you've done so, it's time to set up your first accessory.

How to set up your HomeKit-compatible accessories

HomeKit compatible accessories include a wide variety of devices, incuding light bulbs, ceiling fans, speakers, plugs, locks, programable light switches, and more. Whether you use Apple's Home app, the companion app for your accessory, or a third-party hub app, you'll need to set up your accessories first.

  1. Hook up your device to power. (That may mean plugging it in to a wall outlet, connecting an extension cord, or adding batteries.)

  2. Connect it to Wi-Fi or Ethernet, depending on the accessory.

  3. If you haven't already, download and open the app for your accessory.
  4. Follow the instructions in the app for setting up your accessory.
  5. At some point during the setup process, you might be asked for the HomeKit setup code: It has the HomeKit house next to an eight-digit number separated into three groups. Enter it into the app.

Once you've done so, congratulations! You've added your accessory to your HomeKit home. From here, you can customize the accessory's name, add it to rooms, zones, scenes, and triggers, and control it with Siri.

How to use your HomeKit accessories outside of your home

Want your lights to come on before you get home? Turn down your thermostat after you've left for vacation? You can use the Home app, the companion app that came with your accessory, a third-party HomeKit app. If you have Apple TV, you can also use Siri commands when you're out and about.

Supported in iOS 9 and later, your iPhone can securely chat with your HomeKit bridges and accessories even while out of the house. It can do so because of the HomeKit Accessory Protocol (HAP), which uses secure networking over iCloud to talk to your connected HomeKit accessories. HAP doesn't work with prior versions of Apple's mobile operating system; as such, if you're running iOS 8 on your iPhone, you'll still need to use and set up an Apple TV for controlling your house outside your local Wi-Fi network.

If you're still running iOS 8 or your accessory isn't compatible with HAP, you can use a third-generation Apple TV. Here's how:

Run into problems?

My first suggestion is to try out our HomeKit troubleshooting tips; if you're still having problems getting set up, we'll try and help you out either here in the comments, or we suggest chatting with your accessory manufacturer/Apple, depending on the problem.




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