Controlling HomeKit Devices with the iOS 14 Home App

The Internet of Things involves controlling your household appliances and electronic gadgets remotely, over the Internet. HomeKit-compatible devices can be controlled directly from the Home application. Here’s how.

[1] Tap the home icon in the top left corner of the screen for a pop-up allowing you to access your Home Settings and your Room Settings. Home Settings cover the whole of the house, while Room Settings let you set up specific rooms and groups of rooms.

[2] The Plus icon gives another pop-up, from which you can add a HomeKit-compatible accessory; or add a scene or group of instructions to your accessories activated with a single tap.

[3] This is the current name of your home. To change it, tap the Home icon (1), Home Settings and then tap the Name field to edit or change the current name.

[4] These status icons give important information gleaned from your HomeKit-compatible accessories. You can tell at a glance, for example, whether a light is on, what the temperature is or whether a motion sensor is picking up movement.

[5] Your favourite scenes. A scene is a series of actions activated together. For example, ‘I’m Home’ might turn on HomeKit-compatible lights, use a HomeKit-compatible plug socket to switch on the TV or stereo and turn on the heating. Conversely, ‘I’m Leaving’ might turn them all off.

[6] Here we see your favourite HomeKit-compatible accessories, added to the Home app by yourself. Tap on one of them for that individual gadgets’ controls. This is a great way of accessing your smart devices from a single app, but they all have to be HomeKit-compatible.

[7] The Home icon here takes you to your home’s overview, as seen here. On this screen, you can add new scenes and accessories, as well as activating and controlling those you’ve already added.

[8] Tap here to see the accessories you’ve grouped into a single room. This is useful if, for example, you have HomeKit lights all over the house. You can tap a room and turn on the lights registered to that room alone.

[9] Tap Automation to set accessories to function automatically at given times or use Apple TV or HomePod to control your accessories when your iPhone or other Apple devices aren’t nearby, and more.

HomeKit compatible?

There’s a regularly updated list of HomeKit-compatible gadgets on the Internet, found at www.bit.ly/2wLpcmh. It’s very useful for checking compatibility before you buy. When in the shops, look for items showing the ‘Works with Apple HomeKit’ logo.

Adding HomeKit accessories

Step 1 – When you first open the Home app, you see this screen. The app is currently empty, as no accessories have been added. To change the name (currently My Home) or the wallpaper, tap the Home icon and select Home Settings.

Step 2 – Adding a device to Home is easy. After tapping the Add Accessory button, use the iPhone’s camera to scan the HomeKit Code that comes with the device; then follow the on-screen instructions to add it to your Home app.v

Step 3 – The bottom right icon (Automation) lets you set timers, actions and more. What these timers and actions do depends on what kit you’ve incorporated into your Home app. You need to read their instructions for details.

Using gadgets and scenes

When you’ve added some accessories, you can access their controls directly from the Home app, without having to open their own companion app. You can also set up automations involving that particular gadget, again from their Home app controls.

To set up a scene, tap Add Scene on the Home app’s front page, and give it a short, descriptive title. Tap Add Accessories and choose which of your gadgets you want to include, and follow the on-screen instructions to construct a scene around them.

If more than one person in the house needs to control the HomeKit accessories, you can share Home app settings. Tap the home icon on the landing page, and tap Home Settings. Under People, tap the Invite link to invite others to share your app.

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Ian Osborne

Ian has worked on computer and video games magazines since the legendary Crash and Zzap! 64 in the early Nineties, so he’s seen many changes over the years (including an expanding waistline and receding hairline). A lifelong Mac user, he bought his first Mac in the year 2000. It’s a testament to the resilience of the Mac that his mother is still using that computer to this very day.

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