We all use our iPhones every day, but if someone was to mention HomeKit chances are you probably don’t know much about it yet it is built into iOS right on your iPhone. I too didn’t know a lot about HomeKit until I came across my first HomeKit enabled accessory – The Schlage DoorLock which lets me lock, and unlock my door by simply asking Siri, or using an app from my iPhone.
I was so impressed with the HomeKit integration I thought It would be a good time to explain what exactly HomeKit is, what are HomeKit enabled accessories, and how they integrate with iOS on Apples iPhone, iPad, and even the Apple Watch. HomeKit products are starting to become more available with Apple starting to expand the range of accessories they sell from their own online store.
What Is HomeKit
HomeKit is a part of iOS that allows companies to create accessories, along with apps which can then be controlled wirelessly with an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch securely and easily – complete with the security of encryption.
When a HomeKit accessory is set up with an iPhone iOS will know what type of product it is, what it does, where it may be (For wireless lighting you can specify ‘Upstairs bedroom lights’) or even if the accessory is set up at home or the office. Siri also learns all of this information so you can perform many commands simply by asking Siri.
HomeKit Enabled Products
Products which support HomeKit have a ‘Made For Apple HomeKit’ label which means they have been reviewed, and approved by Apple themselves to ensure they work correctly, and are secure.
The range of HomeKit products are slowly expanding and becoming more available. The range of products can be anything from:
- Wireless lighting
- Locks for doors, windows, and more
- Heaters, air-conditioners, and fans
- Sensors including room, and weather sensors
- Blinds, and Kitchen appliances
- Plugs, switches, and more
A popular product is the Philips Hue Lighting range, which has HomeKit integrated allowing for lights to be turned on and off, colour of the lights to be changed, scheduling, and more from an iPhone or Apple Watch.
Another example is the Eve Weather Sensor which can tell you how the weather is outside of your home including temperature, humidity, and more.
Control your accessories with Siri
What impressed me most with the HomeKit enabled door lock I reviewed earlier is how simple it was to use with Siri. To lock my front door all I had to do was say “Hey Siri lock my front door” – Siri knew the product was a door lock, and knew it was on my front door and not my back door plus knew the status of the door, Siri even confirmed to me the door was now locked because Siri knows the status of the accessory.
“Hey Siri lock my front door”
This can be taken even further – you can set up homes, rooms, zones or scenes so the things you can ask Siri quickly grow for example you can say “Turn on the upstairs lights.” or “Dim the lights in the dining room to 50%.”.
Controlling things around your home wirelessly still seems like something that is going to happen in the future, but the reality is it’s already here. Some may consider these products to enable you to be lazy, but I like to think of it more than that, I can also certainly see how this would help those who are limited in their mobility.
Apple HomeKit is integrated into iOS 8 or newer on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and the Apple Watch (since the Apple Watch is integrated and synced to an iPhone).