How to share HomeKit access with other people, guests, or housemates

After almost two years of development and behind-the-scenes work from manufacturers, Apple's HomeKit framework is at last starting to pick up some steam: You can buy lights, thermostats, smart locks, door sensors, and more for your home that are HomeKit-compatible. Once you start to outfit your home with futuristic devices, however, it's likely you'll want to give your fellow housemates access. (I mean, unless you want to be pestered every time they need the lights turned on or off.) Here's how to go about doing that.

How HomeKit and multiple users works

By default, when you first create a HomeKit house, it's tied to your Apple ID. No one else can manage that HomeKit house except for you (or people with access to your account), for security reasons. You can even create multiple homes in this manner if you have them to manage (say a vacation home with Hue lights, for example).

But you don't have to be the only one with Siri control over your house—you can grant accessories access to anyone with an Apple ID. You just have to add them to HomeKit first.

You can belong to multiple HomeKit houses in this manner: You might have management control over House A (your own house) and House B (a vacation home), and have accessories access to House C (your parents' house) and House D (your sibling's house).

How to add another person to your HomeKit house

Adding a current member of your household or guest is as simple as knowing their Apple ID and having them accept a banner prompt. Here's how to go about doing it. Note: You'll need iOS 9 or later to begin this process, and need to have already set up a HomeKit house. (Haven't set up a HomeKit house yet? You can do that here: How to set up your HomeKit accessories.)

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down to the HomeKit option and select it.
  3. Tap on your home.
  4. Tap Invite People.


  1. Enter the iCloud address of the person you wish to add to your home.
  2. On their device, press the Accept button on the banner (or have them go to Settings > HomeKit if they miss the banner).

How to remove that person from your house

If your guest's tenure has ended, you're not going to want to give them indefinite access to your home. Here's how to remove someone's HomeKit access from your accessories.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down to the HomeKit option and select it.
  3. Tap on your home.


  1. Swipe left on the person's name.
  2. Tap Delete.

How to control a HomeKit guest house

As a guest user, you have almost all the HomeKit controls of an administrator: You can request light changes or thermostat readings from Siri, view the house in an app like Elgato's Eve (opens in new tab) or Home, and change toggles and switches within it. Any rooms, zones, and scenes the home owner has set up will be available for you, though you won't have access to their triggers (time- or event-based scene actions).

You can't rename items or delete them from the house, however nor can you add new accessories or delete the house itself.

Can't add guests to HomeKit? Here's our fix

HomeKit is still in its infancy, and unfortunately that means bugs and errors. There's unfortunately no fool-proof way to fix them, but here's what I've found works with the two major issues I've seen with adding guests to HomeKit.

The first is the never-ending "Invited" status, even after your guest has accepted your HomeKit invite. Most times I've seen this situation, it ends up being a server delay, and the accepted invite will go through after a period of time. If you're getting impatient, try deleting the invite and re-inviting them; if that doesn't work, logging out and back in to iCloud seems to solve most issues.

The second problem—the invite never showing up on the recipient's device—is usually one of two reasons: Either there's a typo in the invite address, or wires got crossed in the mysterious vapor that is iCloud and the invite's just not showing up. Like the first problem, deleting and re-inviting your guest solves the problem 90 percent of the time; if you're still not seeing results, try logging them out and back into iCloud.

Worst case, you'll need to reset your HomeKit configuration. Here's how to do that:

Questions?

Let us know below.

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

22 Comments
  • HomeKit is one of the biggest pulls for me to switching to iPhone. It's certainly an ambitious undertaking, but it feels like Apple's not putting in as much effort into HomeKit as they could/I'd like them to.
  • I havent figured it out how HomeKit handles multiple users. Can HomeKit identify wether I'm home and my wife is away and thus turn off the lights when I'm leaving. And leave the light on if my wife is still home..? Sent from the iMore App
  • With an Ecobee thermostat, you could theoretically set up triggers on the motion sensors, but I wouldn't know for sure without testing. My best recommendation so far is just to give her guest access and let her turn on the lights when you're not home.
  • I'd love to try this... But no way I'm letting Georgia or Anthony on my Siri-powered HomeKit network...
  • Ok, figures it's worth a shot to try here since EVERY OTHER source including Apple can't help me. I actually called Apple , on more than one occasion, and repeatedly got the response from Apple tech's, " HomeKit, what's that?" . It happened so many times to me that I know always throw the wise ass comment in and say, " oh, I'm sorry, I was trying to contact Apple". Of course the next comment is, " this is Apple, how can I help" and I continue with, "apparently you can't " and hang up.
    But anyway, I have close to 50 HomeKit devices all working perfectly and in sync. ( except ecobee3- never stays in my HomeKit network), but for the life of me, can't figure out why remote access doesn't work. And please, no basic, standard, or entry level support, like Apple TV , 3 gen, 7 or higher. All in place, even though I'm in 9.0.2 which should removed the need for the Apple TV, as well as having its own remote access feature within settings. YES ITS TURNED ON.
    Idevices Connected is really the only TRUE HomeKit compatible app, with its iCloud and iCloud Drive integration, but I still can't access my Entire home remotely.
    Whew, ( deep breath), any suggestions? Sent from the iMore App
  • Ugh, so sorry to hear you're having trouble! I know certain Bluetooth-related devices (Elgato Eve) don't work reliably out of home, which may be part of the problem if you use any of them. For Wi-Fi-controlled devices, however, you should be able to use iOS 9's HAP controls to route. Have you tried staying in your house and turning Wi-Fi off (keeping LTE on) to see if outer networking is working at all? Worst-case, I might suggest resetting your HomeKit settings: http://www.imore.com/having-trouble-connecting-homekit-accessories-heres-fix Let me know if any of that helps! Unfortunately, HomeKit is still pretty complicated, and opaque to troubleshoot.
  • Can guests only use one device or am I doing something wrong? On a guest iCloud account if I accept the invitation on an iPad, it'll only work with that iPad and if I do it on an iPhone then it'll only work with that. Is there any way to give gusts access across all their devices?
  • It should give access to any device a guest's iCloud account is logged into.
  • Okay so after spending some time troubleshooting I finally got HomeKit working on multiple guest devices. I first sent a second invitation using @me.com instead of iCloud.com and this works but I'm a little OCD with stuff like that and would rather have one invitation per person show up in my settings. I followed this by signing in and out of iCloud for both devices and I ended up with a bigger problem. The guest iPhone wasn't receiving HomeKit invites anymore but the iPad was. I was also getting a sync error on the iPhone's (3rd party) "Home" app so I decided to restore the iPhone. After doing that I still wasn't able to receive the HomeKit invite on the iPhone but I was no longer receiving the sync error. So I created a temporary home on it, invited the "owner" account, accepted it and then sent another guest invite to the guest iPhone and it finally showed up on both the iPhone and the iPad and after accepting it sync'd across both. I tried this on another iPad 2 that wasn't receiving invites. When I tried to create a home, I got the same sync error. I reset HomeKit config, the sync error went away and I did the same thing (invited the owner from the guest account and then the guest from the owner account. The iPad 2 doesn't have siri but the drop down option with the Home app make it a usable home kit controller. So if anyone is having a similar issue with guests just send an invite from a temp home the wrong way round and then send one the right way and it should work.
  • I recently picked up the new Philips Hue HomeKit bridge and I seem to only be able to use Siri commands from the intial device I setup the bridge with (iPhone). When trying Siri commands from my other iOS devices, Siri is unable to find lights. Though guests can use Siri voice commands. Just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience ?
  • That's very odd! I've been able to use it from multiple devices. You're sure they're logged in to your iCloud account?
  • Hey Serenity, yes same iCloud account, I've tried two different iPads. I'll reset the bridge if you've got this working. Thanks
  • I picked up my new bridge last week. I can use Siri just fine, but my girlfriend, who accepted my homekit invite, is unable to use Siri. Unable to find lights...
  • I'm having a similar issue but with guest accounts. Guests can only use the devices they accept it on.
  • It's good to know it's working for other people. That means it's worth troubleshooting and figuring it out. Thanks!
  • So the key for me, when sending HomeKit invites for Siri Voice Control from the Hue App, using the new Hue Bridge 2.0, was to be sure to use the actual primary Apple ID account email of the device that the recipient uses to login to the iCloud account. You can't use any other associated iCloud email addresses you must use the primary iCloud email of the invitee.
  • Hi all. When I send my wife an invite. She gets it and accepts it. Then it just shows invited on my phone and my wife's phone (Siri, iDevice app) does not recognize that she has access to a Homekit setup. I sent the invite 48 hours ago. Help!!!
  • Can you check your wife's phone homekit settings in the settings app? Does it list more than one home? If so, you can remove the one that is not shared by you. We had the same problem and she had 2 homes listed with the same name. One shared by me and one automatically added by the Hue app (old one) when activating homekit from the Hue app.
  • Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately it looks like my wife only has the home that I created. Any other suggestions?
  • HEY! Does my house need it's own iCloud account?! I think it does! Here's the deal. If I use my own iCloud account that means I leave my Apple TV (in the living room within Bluetooth range of devices I need it to have access to) logged in with my PERSONAL iCloud account, meaning any house guest has access to my photos and whatever else, which is NOT THE WORST thing to deal with but what if my girlfriend moves in (shut-up! it could happen) are we gonna fight over who has the main account? I think there's a good case to be had, to maintain separate iCloud accounts for the house and the owners' personal iCloud account(s). From that "iCloud House" account I could share access with my main account and through family sharing still access my iTunes library, etc. Good plan? Anyone else feel like this? Done this? Any unintended consequences to worry about? Thanks, this was a good read.
  • I have set up an iCloud account for my house, so I can manage that separately from my personal iCloud account - as you have suggested above. I have also made this house account a member of our iCloud "family" for media sharing purposes.
    Also, I have granted my wife and I (through our iCloud ID's) remote access AND editing privileges, using the Home app logged on under the house iCloud ID. All works well except for one thing - location based triggers in HomeKit seem to only work for the location of devices using the house iCloud account. Hopefully Apple allows multiple users to set up location triggers in a future release.
  • 1) Is it normal for my Guest to not even see the 3rd Automation tab in the Home app? 2) There *should* be the ability to create an exception in the Automation, i.e. "Turn off lights UNLESS Guest is home"