HomeKit Overview Updated April 15, 2022


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755 'HomeKit' stories

June 2014 - April 2022

What is HomeKit / Apple Home?

Along with several other new APIs for developers, Apple announced HomeKit in June 2014, which allows all home automation accessories/devices to work together in harmony with iOS. The API allows home automation developers to centralize all home automation without needing separate apps to access each device’s specific features. These devices include locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs, switches, and more.

HomeKit allows for secure pairing with devices and the ability to control individual devices. It also makes it possible to group several home automation devices into scenes that allow for easier control of any automation device in specific situations. One of the coolest features available with HomeKit is the ability to control any home automation accessory with Siri based on certain commands or scenes previously configured with these devices.

In 2016, Apple introduced a new Home app that came with a modern look, relatively easy-to-use controls, and access to accessories and scenes from anywhere on iOS 10. Apple’s new built-in Home app arrived on the iPhone’s Home screen, plus you can access a ton of functions from the Lock screen or anywhere on iOS from the new Control Center once you have a HomeKit accessory set up.

In 2018, Apple released the HomePod. It was a way to interact with your connected home devices through Siri using a standalone device.

In 2020, Apple announced that tvOS 14 would gain access to the Home app. iOS 14 is also bringing improvement to the Home app UI.

HomeKit Secure Video

With iOS 13, Apple announced HomeKit Secure Video.

Footage from home security cameras contains your most personal and sensitive data. With HomeKit Secure Video, activity detected by supported cameras is privately analyzed by your home hub using on‑device intelligence to determine if people, pets, or cars are present. When important activity is detected, you and anyone you share your Home app with will receive a rich notification that lets you view the clip right from the Lock Screen. Recorded video is available to view for ten days from the Home app. It’s securely stored for free in supported iCloud accounts and doesn’t count against your storage limit.

While the rollout has been slow, Logitech, Arlo, Netatmo, and Eufy are among the early standouts. With recent privacy issues with Ring, HomeKit Secure Video is likely to continue to grow in popularity. One key benefit with Secure Video is that it works with your existing iCloud storage (200GB and up plan), so you don’t have an extra monthly fee for storage.

HomeKit Router

HomeKit Router was also announced with iOS 13, but it wasn’t released until early 2020. The idea behind the feature is you can give granular control to smart home enabled devices to control where on the internet they can reach.

eero was the first company to roll out support in for HomeKit Router.

With Apple HomeKit, eero gives you even more protection of your HomeKit accessories and an easy way to manage what they are allowed to communicate with in your home and through the internet.

There are three levels of security Apple offers for accessories paired with HomeKit routers:

  • Restrict to Home: Most secure. Your accessory can interact only with HomeKit through your Apple devices. The accessory won’t connect to the Internet or any local devices, so any third-party services, like firmware updates, might be blocked.
  • Automatic: Default security. Your accessory can communicate with HomeKit and connections recommended by its manufacturer.
  • No Restriction: Least secure. This setting bypasses the secure router and allows your accessory to interact with any device in your network or Internet-based service.

How Do You Use HomeKit?

Homekit app

HomeKit devices can be controlled from iPad, iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and HomePod. A 4th generation Apple TV (or newer) is an essential Apple smart home device as it acts as a bridge over iCloud to allow access to your devices when away from home.

9to5Mac’s Bradley Chambers does a regular column about the “Apple Home” lifestyle in his HomeKit Weekly column.

Popular Reviews

HomeKit Stories April 15

If you told me that you were going to buy one type of HomeKit product, I would recommend one that detects water leaks. Water damage in a home can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. One of my favorite products is the Eve Water Guard, and the new version that adds Thread support is now an even better value. So let’s dive in on how to set it up to protect one of your most significant investments best.

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HomeKit Stories April 8

Tying together accessories across manufacturers is a key reason I love building around a smart home platform vs. picking manufacturers. One of the most underrated accessory types for HomeKit is motion sensors, and this week for HomeKit Weekly, I want to dive into it to look at the best options and how to make the best use of them.

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HomeKit Stories April 6

As we previously covered on 9to5Mac, Home Widget for HomeKit is a powerful iOS app that enhances your experience with HomeKit-enabled accessories – and now it’s even better. The latest version of the app, which was released on Wednesday, adds support for cameras, sensors battery level, thermostats, and more.

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HomeKit Stories March 26

Controller for HomeKit adds support for widgets, NFC Tags, and enhances smart folder support

Controller for HomeKit is a must-have application for HomeKit enthusiasts. Even if many of the features don’t interest you, I find it essential for one simple reason: It allows you to back up and restore your entire HomeKit setup. With version 5.12, the app adds HomeKit widgets and support for NFC tags, enhances smart folder support, and improves overall macOS performance. Read on to learn more.

HomeKit Stories March 25

Last year, I wrote an edition of HomeKit Weekly that talked about building a new house and the smart home decisions that would go into that process. We’ve now broken ground, so I felt like it was time to update readers on what products I am leaning towards as I build out a new home and smart home from the ground up.

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HomeKit Stories March 23

As first announced at WWDC 2021, iOS 15 evolves Apple Wallet to store keys for hotels, homes, and even cars. The Schlage Encode Plus is the first such consumer lock solution to take advantage of the NFC-powered Apple home key support.

As you’ll see in my hands-on video, home key is a great way to access your home with your iPhone or Apple Watch via just a tap. Let’s take a closer look at what the Schlage Encode Plus and Apple’s home key technology have to offer!

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HomeKit Stories March 18

I get to test many HomeKit devices, and my family is used to new devices coming in and out of the Home app. Still, the reviewer’s kit for the Eve Motion Blinds gives me insights into a high-end HomeKit future with custom integrators.

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HomeKit Stories March 17

The launch of the universal smart home standard Matter has been delayed yet again. This is the third delay since the standard – backed by Apple, Google, Samsung, Amazon, and others – was originally set to debut back in 2020.

The standards organization behind Matter claims that this latest delay is caused by the unexpected popularity of the protocol …

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HomeKit Stories March 15

There could soon be another option on the market for HomeKit blinds, this time courtesy of IKEA. While companies like Eve and Lutron have released high-end HomeKit-compatible smart shades, IKEA is expanding its lineup in an effort to better compete…

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HomeKit Stories March 11

When it comes to oil diffusers, some people think they’ll solve the world’s problems and others believe they are humidifiers that smell nice. I fall in the latter category, but we still have multiple products around our house. We’ve tried several HomeKit options in the past, and while they technically worked well the overall appearance of them left a bit to be desired. The new Meross Smart Wi-Fi essential oil diffuser brings a much better-looking option to this category of products. Let’s dive into how it works.

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HomeKit Stories March 3

Today, Aqara has announced the US release of its new G2H Pro camera designed as an Aqara hub and supporting HomeKit Secure Video. Aqara’s product lineups allow end users to build out a HomeKit setup at the lowest cost possible. Read on to learn more about the G2H Pro and its comparison to the original.

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Level Keypad is a weatherproof keypad for Level Lock that lets you access your home via key codes

Today Level Home Inc., the creators of HomeKit-compatible smart home products, is introducing the Level Keypad — a complimentary $79 accessory to the Level Bolt, and Level Lock – Touch. Level Keypad provides homeowners and guests with a phone-free way to gain access to a home using handy key codes.

HomeKit Stories February 28

Smart home products provider Aqara on Monday announced its new Smart Door Lock A100 Zigbee, which features advanced authentication technologies and support for leading home automation protocols. For Apple users, it works with HomeKit and Home Keys in the Wallet app.

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Lutron is out today with a new release for its veteran smart shade lineup. The Serena Smart Architectural Honeycomb Shades with HomeKit support bring over 40 fabrics and an updated modern aesthetic to create the perfect custom design for your space.

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HomeKit Stories February 25

One of the challenges of going ‘all in’ with HomeKit and other smart home platforms is it creates challenges when guests come to your home, as they need to turn on lights, etc. However, the Wemo Stage Smart Scene Controller is so simple yet powerful when simplifying daily usage of HomeKit. With its mountable frame to match a light switch, it might be one of my most recommended HomeKit products in the future.

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HomeKit Stories February 24

Wemo HomeKit Smart Plug with Thread featuring boosted performance and reliability now available

Back at CES in January, Belkin announced its Wemo Smart Plug, Light Switch, and Dimmer would be seeing an upgrade with Matter over Thread support. Now the more capable Smart Plug is available for purchase.

HomeKit Stories February 22

New second-generation Eve Water Guard gains Thread Support for improved HomeKit responsiveness

Eve is coming out with the second generation of the Eve Water Guard that now includes Thread networking technology. Eve Water Guard supports Thread and Bluetooth and joins your Thread network automatically while providing water leak notifications inside Apple’s Home app.

HomeKit Stories February 18

Recently, I updated my review of the iSmartGate Homekit garage door opener to reflect how much more I am using it now that I have the Intellidash CarPlay unit in my car. I’ve stopped using the standard RF garage door opener with easy access to open and close my garage door from CarPlay. The usage spurred on some thinking about further integration with HomeKit and CarPlay.

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HomeKit Stories February 11

Nearly two years ago, I installed the iSmartGate garage door opener. During that time, we used it a decent amount, but never daily. Since we still have RF-based remotes, they were often faster to use vs. opening the Home app, waiting on it to connect, and then opening the garage door. Since I finally added CarPlay to my car through the IntelliDash CarPlay Unit, having access to my garage doors in HomeKit has become a daily use.

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HomeKit Stories February 9

Home Widget for HomeKit is probably one of the coolest apps for improving your experience with HomeKit-enabled accessories on iOS. It offers quick access to Home automation directly from your home screen. The app was updated on Wednesday with great new features, including sensor support, different panel sizes, and more.

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HomeKit Stories February 7

In my never-ending quest to craft the perfect HomeKit smart home, I’ve realized that one key is a combination of smart controls and physical controls. One of the most recent additions to my setup for this is the Wemo Stage Scene Controller, which was announced last April, but recently much more reliable thanks to its adoption of Thread.

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HomeKit Stories February 5

The Starling Home Hub is a core part of my HomeKit experience, as it bridges my Nest Thermostat and Google Home Mini to HomeKit and AirPlay, respectively. One notable feature that’s been a wishlist item for many Starling customers is Nest support for Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video. Now, with the latest 11.0 firmware update, a handful of Google Nest cameras are now compatible with HKSV.

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HomeKit Stories February 4

There are many ways to interact with HomeKit. You can use the Home app on iOS or macOS, you can use Siri on a HomePod or Apple Watch, but another way is with NFC tags, and it’s surprisingly easy and can be done for less than $1 per NFC automation you want to build. Since learning how to use it, it’s been an ideal way to use HomeKit in a way that’s faster than using the Home app but more reliable than Siri. Let’s dive in on how it works and how to configure it.

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HomeKit Stories January 28

Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back and build on foundations with a new year. I think about HomeKit every day, so many of the terms I throw around, like Automations, Home Hub, Homebridge, etc., might be known to experts. Still, I wanted to compile a go-to list of HomeKit terms and definitions for newcomers over the next few weeks. So this week, I want to look in-depth at HomeKit Automations.

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