How to put Apple HomeKit devices to good use with automation

Using smart home technology can be fun and exciting, but knowing how to reach its full potential can be difficult.


But if you have multiple devices that are compatible with Apple HomeKit, you can use automation in the Home app. This allows multiple devices to work together.

We’ll walk you through the entire process of setting up automation and connecting various smart home devices.


Set up a home hub

First of all, you need to have Home Hub up and running full time for automation to work or to control HomeKit devices away from home.

And the good news is, you probably already have one ready. You can use a fourth-generation Apple TV, HomePod, or HomePod mini.

For all the details, check out our introduction to setting up an Apple Home Hub.

Now let’s take a look at the four different types of automation you can create with HomeKit accessories.

1. Run an automation when my location changes

All automation customizations are available through the Home app. After opening the app, select Automation in the bottom menu bar. Now the fun begins.

On that page, select the + and then choose Add automation. There are five different categories to choose from. The first two, People arrive and People leaveare also known as geofencing because it relies on the location of an iPhone.

First you choose a specific person in your family or that someone activates an automation.

For either choice, you can drag the slider to select a specific location where the automation should take place. For example, you can select a specific When I arrive automation takes place anywhere from when you are 100 meters from home or halfway through town.

In addition to being able to select some devices for this automation, you can also automatically trigger a specific scene, which is a big help.

An easy way to use this feature is to turn off all HomeKit lights when you leave and turn them back on when you arrive. If you have more compatible products, you can perform more complex tasks. Some of these include locking and unlocking doors automatically and adjusting your thermostat.

If you’re having trouble getting this to work or if you can’t create automations at all, you may need to adjust a few settings on your iOS device or Apple TV. On an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Privacy & Security and make sure Location Services is enabled.

To double check on Apple TV, select Settings > General > Privacy and confirm Location Services is enabled. Also select Location Services and make sure HomeKit Gets up Always.

2. Run an automation at specific times of the day

This automation is easy to understand – just think of it as a modern take on the old-school appliance timer.

After selecting A time of day arises In the Automation section, there are three different choices for setting the trigger: at sunrise, sunset, or a specific time of day. Thanks to location services, your device always knows the exact sunrise and sunset at the selected home.

Below that, you can choose which days you want the automation to repeat. This allows you to run the automation any day of the week, weekdays, weekends, specific days, or never.

Finally, you can optionally select location-based triggers: When someone is home, When I’m home, When no one is homeor When I’m not home.

Select Next one to choose exactly what you want to automate. That can be a certain scene or an accessory.

Especially with the sunrise and sunset options, this automation is tailor-made to control all types of HomeKit lights, whether at home or on the go. Increasing or decreasing the heating/air conditioning in your home is another great way to use this automation.

3. Run an automation when controlling an accessory

Instead of the highly automatic control of the first two automations, this selection requires interaction with one accessory to start the process.

If you don’t like the idea of ​​linking automation to location, this could be a great alternative. When you go to work, locking your door can turn off the lights and turn up a thermostat. And when you return, unlocking the door can do the opposite. Interacting with a chosen accessory can also be used to trigger a specific scene.

To customize this option, select it in the Automation section. First, you select the accessory that starts the automation sequence, such as a lock or light. It can only be one accessory. On the next screen, you can choose whether the automation starts when you lock or unlock a door or turn a light on or off. Finally, you can select which scenes or devices you want to interact with.

4. Run an automation using sensor prompts

HomeKit sensors get the short axis in the other three automations because they are always on. But this section allows homeowners to put them to good use.

If you only have a few accessories, such as lamps, this automation may not apply. But as you continue to add HomeKit devices to your home, this automation is full of interesting possibilities.

For example, if smoke or carbon monoxide is ever detected after sunset, you can automatically unlock the front and back doors of your home and all lights go to maximum brightness. You can also choose to automate turning off the heating or AC system.

Another obvious choice for this automation is turning on lights when sensors detect movement. That can give you extra peace of mind when crossing your house in the dark, or to startle potential burglars.

After selecting A sensor detects something from the Automation menu, the app presents a list of different sensors in your home. Select just one and then you can choose which scenes and/or other accessories to automate.

Disable or delete an automation

Disabling or removing an automation is a quick and easy process. Select the specific automation in the Home app and disable or remove it. A swipe to the left will also bring up a quick delete button.

Using Automation for a Better Smart Home

While setting up automation triggers may take some work, it’s well worth the extra effort.

While smart home devices bring technology into everyday life, automation can connect everything and make the technology even more useful.

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