Managing HomeKit with Apple’s Home App


Published On: , by NewAdMacSoft

When the procedure of the smart home framework establishing is over and not any sensor housing or mechanical tuning works are left, your smart house needs the proper control tools. Direct organization of the in-house complex of smart appliances is realized by means of Apple’s HomeKit framework, which in turn needs a controlling software. In this context, Apple’s new Home app is a remarkable step towards the further integration of the company’s applications. The program represents Apple’s own tool intended to become the principal means of interaction with the smart home framework.

An App to Keep Your HomeKit

When Apple released its software framework HomeKit in 2014, the only way to manage it without a third-party control was via the Siri smart assistant.

The predecessor of Apple’s current Home with the same name still remains the only app that supports all HomeKit features and is used in parallel with the Apple’s new product. The designers of that first Home made it close to the Settings app (clean layout and easy toggles).

On the contrary, Apple’s Home (launched with iOS 10 in 2016) features a different approach than its third-party namesake and rather resembles the iOS 11 Control Center. Its tiles distinguish long touch and deep press, which are the means to reveal hidden menus and controls. However, this smart functionality is not very intuitive, which makes it somewhat difficult for new users to master the application.

Another difference between the two Homes lies in managing device compatibility, as the third-party Home needs iOS 11, even not all iPhones are compatible with it. Unlike iPhone X and other newer iPhones supported by iOS 11, a few older models such as the 32-bit iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C are incompatible with that Home because they lack iOS 11 support.

In the present article, we offer you a basic guide to get acquainted with the main principles of using Apple’s Home app.

The Apple’s Home: the Principal Elements

Let’s start with the very basic things. The app has three main modules or sections, which are Home, Rooms, and Automation.

The Home tab includes the following functions:

  • Home app settings (hidden under sophisticated location icon)
  • Editto arrange scene and accessory tiles
  • +to add new scenes and HomeKit accessories
  • The name of your current Home
  • A status summary of active and non-active accessories
  • Favorite Scenes
  • Favorite Accessories
  • Favorite Cameras

Via the location icon on the top left corner, you can move to the settings screen to rename your Home, see active and non-active Home hubs, modify access to Home setup, manage access to HomeKit speaker and monitor its updates, play with the Home tab wallpaper, enter notes for the shared users, and delete your Home configuration.

You can even add new Homes in the same section (for example, for your vacation home or for a family member). That is probably the reason why Home app uses an unusual current location icon to conceal the settings.

With the multiple Homes created, HomeKit automatically switches to the current Home using its location data. Alternatively, you can toggle Homes in a manual way.

Toggling Home locations is essential, so Siri can know which smart appliance to manage. And switching locations affects the configuration of appliances that you see in the Home app and on the Control Center.

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Favorites: How to Manage

The Control Center is probably the place where you will spend most of your time when controlling your smart home framework. With iPhone, the Home app can access both favorited accessories and favorited scenes (i.e. “favorites”). The two notions are important and not intuitively clear. In reality, the favorited accessories comprise individual devices (sometimes groups of devices), and scenes denote sequences of actions performed in the course of management of your smart framework.

To get started with the favorites, the user needs to learn a few essential points:

  • Any new accessory is included in the favorites by default (as the alternate way of favoring an item, you may long press the corresponding tile, tap Details, and toggle Include in Favorites)
  • For quick access, all favorited accessories (from different Rooms) will appear together on the Home tab in the Home app
  • Again for quicker access, the Control Center widget allows access the first nine favorited accessories and the first eight favorited scenes
  • The above process can be controlled from Home tab in the Home app using the Edit button and dragging tiles around

In case of multiple devices on the same account (for example, they may be an iPhone and an iPad), the status of your favorites is consistent between the devices. Also, a version of Apple’s Home app is included in the Apple Watch, which however only presents favorited accessories, cameras and scenes. Thus, for interacting with Siri, you have to use another method of HomeKit control.

The favorited items (accessories and scenes) are freely shared between the users of HomeKit frameworks, which in practice is a bit more complicated than it sounds. The shared behavior reaches as far as the tile arrangement of the whole Home tab. The benefit consists in the possibility to manage the HomeKit experience of all shared users from a single device. On the other hand, personalization of the shared users may be somewhat restrained.

The Remaining Tabs: Rooms and Automation

Although the Home tab in the Home app and the Control Center are undoubtedly the two main tools to manage the HomeKit, the Home app offers two more tabs, namely Rooms (already mentioned above) and Automation.

In the Rooms, you see your HomeKit-enabled accessories regardless of their favorite status, that is, both favorited and non-favorited ones. This is the place where you can arrange them in accordance with their physical location. Actually, you are welcome to distribute the Accessories by the rooms where they are situated in reality. In the same way, you can organize Scenes so the Home app will display the Scenes that involve the Accessories located in the specific rooms of your apartment.

The Automation tab exactly corresponds to its name. It actually establishes connections between two actions so that one triggers the other. For this to be done, the feature can execute commands like “If smoke detector senses smoke, sound the alarm”.

Conclusion

Such are the basic functions of Apple’s Home app, which is intended to manage the HomeKit smart framework in your house. For even smarter control over your home network, you are welcome to explore more on the topic.