6 basic questions about Apple HomeKit, answered

Apple HomeKit is one of the most recognized names in the smart home industry. While it’s comparable to Amazon Alexa and Google Home in popularity and adoption, it still holds a significant chunk of the home automation market.

Unfortunately, many people shy away from using HomeKit because of wrong assumptions and little knowledge of the HomeKit ecosystem. If you’ve considered using HomeKit but aren’t quite sure about the ins and outs of the ecosystem, we’ll answer some important questions about the Apple HomeKit.

1. What is Apple HomeKit?

Apple HomeKit is a home automation framework that provides a platform to connect and coordinate your smart home devices using an Apple device. Launched as part of iOS 8 in 2014, HomeKit is Apple’s answer to Google Home and Amazon Alexa, two equally popular home automation frameworks that perform similar functions to HomeKit.

HomeKit makes it possible to use, for example, an iPhone or iPad to control your smart blinds, light bulbs or other smart home gadgets, as long as they are compatible with the HomeKit ecosystem. If you have an idea of ​​smart home ecosystems, Apple HomeKit is not radically different. However, it does have its unique features and if you want to learn more about those, we’ve done a detailed description of the Apple HomeKit before.

2. What can you do with the Apple HomeKit?

The primary use of the Apple HomeKit is to facilitate home automation and interoperability between your smart home gadgets. You can imagine it as a behind-the-scenes technology that allows you to use your Apple devices like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, MacBook or Apple Watch as a universal remote control for your smart home appliances.

Suppose you have a smart Philips Hue lamp at home. Or maybe a smart door lock from August. While these devices have their own built-in smart capabilities, a smart home framework like Apple HomeKit can help you remotely open your door to a visiting relative. Or you can turn off your lights remotely at home, even if you’re halfway around the world. HomeKit introduces enhanced remote control capabilities, a way to talk to your home appliances from an Apple device.

However, HomeKit does more than turn your Apple devices into a smart home remote. It also serves as a wire connecting your smart home gadgets together. Let’s say you buy a smart door sensor for your home. And then you buy a set of smart bulbs. These two sets of devices will likely work independently of each other.

However, HomeKit can provide a platform to make them interoperable. This means you can get your door sensor that detects when your door is opened or closed to act as a trigger for turning your smart lights on or off. Of course, HomeKit isn’t just about smart door sensors and light bulbs. If it’s a smart device and it’s compatible with HomeKit, you can make them interoperable. HomeKit opens up a vast world of possibilities.

3. Which Smart Home gadgets are compatible with HomeKit?

Of course, for HomeKit to do what HomeKit does, the smart home gadgets involved must be compatible. But which devices are HomeKit compatible?

From air conditioners, humidifiers and light bulbs to security cameras, there are a wide range of home appliances that are compatible with HomeKit.

Typically, HomeKit-compatible products come with a simple “HomeKit Compatible” label on them. Once you see this, it means you can not only control them, but potentially make them interoperable with an Apple device once you have it connected to your HomeKit ecosystem at home.

If you’re not sure if your favorite brand of smart gadget is HomeKit compatible, there’s one official Apple list of HomeKit-compatible products.

4. What About Smart Home Devices That Are Not HomeKit Compliant?

If you have smart home devices you’d like to have that aren’t HomeKit compatible, all hope is not lost. You can still enjoy some semblance of HomeKit compatibility by using a smart home bridge. As the name implies, a smart home bridge is an intermediary that can link your incompatible smart home gadget to HomeKit. Homebridge is smart home technology that can help you do that.

And then there’s Matter, an upcoming smart home interoperability standard that promises to break the wall of compatibility between competing smart home ecosystems. So soon enough, you won’t have to worry about whether your new smart gadget will be HomeKit compatible.

5. How can you get started with HomeKit?

While it may sound like it, Apple HomeKit isn’t exactly a single product. If you have an iPhone or a MacBook, you already have a piece of the HomeKit ecosystem at home.

To get started with HomeKit, you’ll need some Apple devices, or at least an iPhone or an iPad. Here you can start the installation process with the Home app. The Home app is the app that does most of the heavy lifting for your HomeKit smart home.

Of course, you’ll need some HomeKit-compatible products, so you’ll need to get a few to get started. From your iPhone, you usually need to scan an eight-digit HomeKit code on the product. Once this is successful, the product will be added to your home app and you can run automation with it.

To get the most out of HomeKit, you need a hub, such as an Apple TV or a HomePod mini. Once a hub comes into the equation, it becomes the nerve center or brain of your HomeKit setup. Once you’ve set up an Apple HomeKit hub with a hub like the HomePod mini, you can easily give voice commands that start an automation routine. “Hey Siri, turn off the lights in the living room.”

Sure, you can talk to Siri on your iPhone, but among other benefits, a hub like HomePod mini extends your reach. You can talk to it from a much greater distance across the room.

With a hub at home you can also give remote commands with an Apple device when you are not at home. For example, you may be on vacation in San Francisco and remotely open your front door to a visitor to your home in New Jersey.

6. How does HomeKit compare to Google Home and Amazon Alexa?

Amazon Alexa and Google Home are the other two big names in the smart home space. In terms of adoption rate and compatibility with smart home devices, HomeKit follows both Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Siri is the voice assistant that powers HomeKit and is comparable in performance to Alexa and Google Assistant.

In terms of security, HomeKit is as secure as it gets. Compared to Google Home and Amazon Alexa, HomeKit ranks highest in terms of security and privacy.

HomeKit puts a lot of emphasis on security. If you want to learn more about how HomeKit works with other smart home ecosystems, check out our Amazon Alexa vs. Apple HomeKit vs. Google Home comparison.

Try Apple’s HomeKit technology

While HomeKit is sometimes portrayed as an overly complicated smart home ecosystem, there’s a lot of simplicity in it once you get the basics down.

If you’re already a fan of Apple devices, you’ll find HomeKit very comforting, as it fits well within the larger Apple ecosystem.

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