Scenes, in HomeKit parlance, are groups of actions that affect the accessories in your smart home. Instead of having to go into the Home app for iOS and adjust settings for each individual light/fan/shade/thermostat, you can set up common actions in groups. You could, for example, have a scene called "Good Night" that will turn off all the lights in your home, set the thermostat to a cooler temperature, and draw the shades.
Automations, on the other hand, are methods by which your smart home can control itself. You can use your device's location, a certain time of day, and other accessories to trigger Scenes and make adjustments to your smart home. You could, for example, set up an automation that turns on the light in the entryway every time you unlock the smart lock you've installed on the front door. You could also have certain lights in your home (like yard lights) turn on or off based on the sunrise and sunset.
Sure, it's neat to be able to control your lights with the sound of your voice — "Hey Siri, turn off the light in my bedroom." — but it's neater to not have to think about controlling your smart home, instead letting it do much of the work for you. A truly smart home is made smarter through scenes and automations.
- How to set up scenes in the Home app on iOS and iPadOS
- How to set up automations in the Home app on iOS and iPadOS
How to set up scenes in the Home app on iOS and iPadOS
- Launch the Home app for on your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap the Add Button in the top right corner of the screen (looks like a plus sign).
Tap Add Scene.
- Give your scene a Name.
- You can Change the Icon for your scene by Tapping the Home Icon to the left of the scene name.
- Tap Add Accessories.
Choose the Accessories you want to add to your scene by tapping on them.
- Tap Done when you've selected your accessories.
- Long press or 3D Touch the Accessories in your scene to change their settings.
Tap Done when you've adjusted your accessories' settings to your satisfaction.
- Tapping Test This Scene will show you what the scene will do. It gives you a chance to make sure you've set everything to your satisfaction.
- Tapping Add Accessories will let you add more accessories to your scene.
- Tapping the on/off switch next to Include in Favorites will add or remove this scene from your favorite scenes.
How to set up automations in the Home app on iOS and iPadOS
When you're ready to level up your smart home with automations (these are the things that make your smart home run on its own), hop on over to the Home app for iOS and get to tappin'!
- Launch the Home App.
- Tap the Automation tab.
Tap the Add Button in the top right corner of the screen (looks like a plus sign).
- Choose When you want the automation to occur.
- Dial in your Specific Time.
Select the Specific Days that you want the automation to run by tapping on a day of the week under the repeat section.
- Tap People to have the automation run when specific people are home or away.
- Tap Next.
Choose which Accessories or Scenes you'd like to control with this automation.
- Tap Next.
- Long press or 3D Touch the Accessories in your automation to change their settings.
Questions and thoughts?
Do you use scenes and automations in your HomeKit setup? What's your favorite? If you haven't set up any scenes or automations, did we inspire you to get crackin'? Share your thoughts and troubleshooting questions in the comments below!
Updated September 2019: Updated for iOS 13.
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