Apple HomeKit: Everything you need to know – Android Authority
Even if you have an Android phone or use another smart home platform like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, there’s a reasonable chance you own an Apple device you’d like to squeeze the most out of. If you don’t, you might still be wondering what things are like on the other side of the fence. Either way, you’ll want to check out our guide to Apple HomeKit, including what it can do, how to set it up, and some of the better HomeKit-compatible accessories out there.
Apple HomeKit guide
What is Apple HomeKit?
In short, HomeKit is Apple’s smart home framework. Certified HomeKit accessories can be controlled via the Apple Home app for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and iPod touch. You can also control accessories via Apple’s Siri voice assistant, found on the above devices, as well as HomePods and a small number of third-party speakers.
A wide range of accessories can be added to HomeKit, from locks, lights, and security cameras to TVs, Wi-Fi routers, and garage door openers. We’d list every category, but the platform’s reach is continually expanding, at this point limited more by what companies are willing to make than by software barriers.
Apart from being Apple-centric, HomeKit’s defining feature is security. Data is heavily encrypted, to the point that this was once an obstacle to support — until iOS 11.3, accessory makers had to use hardware-based authentication to get their products working. Users, meanwhile, have traditionally had to go through more complicated pairing than what Amazon or Google allows, the tradeoff being a higher degree of privacy and resilience against hackers.
Related: The smart home privacy policies of Amazon, Apple, and Google
How does Apple HomeKit work?
We’ll go into this more in later sections, but the gist is that once you’ve created a “home” location in the Apple Home app, you pair accessories with the app using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Each accessory appears as a tile with its name and most important status details. Tapping and holding on a tile on touchscreen devices reveals more information and controls. Accessories can be linked together via rooms, zones, scenes, and automations.
You’ll need an iPad, HomePod, or Apple TV serving as a first-party HomeKit hub — formally known as a Home Hub.
Rooms are just what they sound like — accessory groups based on a particular place in your home, such as the kitchen or living room. This is particularly important for voice control, so when you tell Siri to “turn on the living room lights,” for example, it can automatically select every light in that space.
Zones allow you to group rooms together, for instance linking your kitchen, living room, hallway, and downstairs bathroom into a “downstairs” zone if you want to control the entire floor.
Scenes trigger multiple accessories at once, whether via Siri, the Home app, or an automation. A “Good Morning” scene might turn on the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen lights, open the living room blinds, and raise the temperature on your thermostat. You don’t need to create scenes, but they can greatly simplify things later.
Automations trigger accessories without your input. These can be based on a device location, time of day, accessory use, …….