Apple HomeKit for beginners: How to set up and connect devices


As you would expect from Apple, it wants in on the home automation action. With a market potentially worth billions of dollars, Apple is pinning its hopes on the Apple HomeKit. It’s a framework for home automation that makes it easier to control a smart home. If you’re considering buying into smart home technology, Apple HomeKit for beginners: How to set up and connect devices is for you!

What exactly is Apple HomeKit?
Apple HomeKit is not a product. It is a platform that brings together smart home hardware and apps. It is a set of standards that ensures they can all communicate with each other and can be controlled with your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch. From there you can manage multiple devices from a single iOS interface. HomeKit products are certified by Apple to work with the system and can automate many aspects of our daily lives.

So rather than having a bunch of individual smart devices, you can potentially have them work together to make life even easier. For example, your alarm goes off at 7am, HomeKit switches on the heating, switches on the coffee machine and turns on the bathroom light. Your morning routine just became so much easier and that is just the beginning.

What do I need to get started with Apple HomeKit?
To turn your home into a smart home you will need an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch running at least iOS 8.1. You will also need a HomeKit compatible smart device. A full list of compatible devices is listed on the Apple website. You can buy a selection of them from here.

Setting everything up
You will need to install or plugin your compatible device, download the HomeKit app from the App Store and pair the accessory to the app. Each device comes with a HomeKit setup code that you use with the app. Simply point your camera at the code and the app should recognize it. Then you can control the device from the app itself or by using Siri voice commands.

You will need to name every device something unique even if you have more than one. You will also have to assign a function to that device. While it takes a little while, the manufacturer app takes care of most of it for you.

Once you have the basic controls set up you can either leave it there or group them for an even smarter home. Remember my example above about automatically turning on the coffee, heating and bathroom light? You can do that through grouping.

Grouping allows you to give multiple commands with a single word. For example, group the command ‘morning’ to your coffeemaker, thermostat and smart bathroom light to achieve a much smoother morning routine. These are referred to as scenes and are infinitely configurable depending on what you need.

The Home app
While Apple HomeKit has been around a couple years now, the Home app will be released this fall alongside iOS 10. It allows you to control every aspect of your smart home, create groups and scenes like those described and so much more. While I have not had a hands-on yet, it looks to be a complete app for home automation and I shall be getting it as soon as possible.

Apple HomeKit isn’t a revolutionary product but it does what Apple does so well. It takes disparate technologies and wraps them up in clever design and tight standards. The result is an ecosystem that is easy to use, fully compatible and just works. It is exactly what we want from our smart home technology.

The Top 10 iOS apps for your smart home might come in handy about now. Or you could try Set up automated blinds fast with Apple HomeKit to get the most out of your system.
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