HomeKit Advice for getting started in HomeKit

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by The Game 161, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. The Game 161, Jan 5, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018

    The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

    Dec 15, 2010
  2. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    If you're going with Hue, you will need a hub to do the actual "talking" to the bulbs, so a starter set that includes one is good. I'm not sure about UK pricing, but in the US, Amazon sells the same starter kit for a bit less than Apple/others.
  3. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    You can start with anything you want. The Philips Hue requires a hub which that starter kit includes however if you wanted to start really small just to play around with it you could get a hubless smart plug or something.
  4. LiveM macrumors 65816


    Oct 30, 2015
    I would say lighting is a very useful function for smart home functionality and a good place to start.

    I personally went with Philips Hue and started with a bridge (hub) and three bulbs.

    Having said that, I seldom use it via the Home as the Hue app works for me. Even if we are on holiday, we can use the Hue app to set random times for the lights at night, and you can also install Philips Labs web recipes such as Christmas lighting or added depth to situations where you are using two motion sensors in concert. And soon the Hue app will allow you to sync movies and music similarly to Philips Ambilight.

    What I would really use for HomeKit is a front door lock with combined camera and alarm. We are renovating and will get to the front door in due course. It would have been great to do it at the outset so we could give temporary codes to tradesmen and know when people are coming and going, but it wasn’t possible to persuade the wife to make it a priority.

    The other thing would be a garage door alert if someone leaves it open.

    Back to the lights, I have learnt that the Philips White and Ambience bulbs offer a far superior experience to the plain 2700K White bulbs, especially with dimming. And they go quite blue, like ice white, so combined with the orange end of the spectrum they can make a much more tasteful Christmas theme than overly colourful combos. Hue also works with Nest with some preset alarm lights.

    I love the wireless wall switch with detachable remote and the motion sensor with temperature and ambient light sensor, which is now HomeKit-compatible so can be used for alarms, etc as well as lighting.
  5. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    I'm in the same boat ... just starting to set up HomeKit.

    What I've found frustrating so far is a lack of clarity about so many aspects of it. I'm sure my answers are in some of the reading I haven't done yet. But HomeKit is really far from a "just works" experience Apple was traditionally known for.

    1. I have a 3rd. generation AppleTV here. I keep reading conflicting information about whether or not it can serve as a HomeKit hub. (You need some device to serve as one, if you want to be able to issue HomeKit commands when you're not on your local network.) I know an iPad can serve as the hub, but I dislike that idea since I do take my iPad outside the house with me at times. The AppleTV seems the most logical, but all the recent information I see claims you need the 4th. generation model now? I'm not sure if this is because HomeKit on iOS 11 increased the requirements and back on iOS 9 or 10, the 3rd. generation AppleTV was still viable?

    2. I'm irritated about my Chamberlain "MyQ" enabled garage door opener. I bought that a few years ago with the promise it would be HomeKit compatible. I had to pay extra for this wireless gateway, which allowed a MyQ app on my iPhone to communicate with it. Now, I discover they never did get that gateway to work with HomeKit, so you have to buy another bridge device for that. They had an "introductory price" on it for a little while, but that's over and now the thing is over $70. That seems to be a common story with HomeKit support. A lot of vendors promised it for their smart devices, but wound up making you buy newer versions of their gear to make it a reality. Too much of that would drive a LOT of people towards competition like Alexa or Google, since they work without that need to "re buy" things.

    3. I just bought a "WeMo bridge" and am going with a combination of a few of their smart plugs and wall switches. Not sure if this is a good choice or not, but the smart plug I tried out seems to work well. I like the fact my local Best Buy stores carry these items, though. So much of this stuff has to be obtained via mail order....
  6. MacintoshDan macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2013
    I am starting slow, got a LIFX bulb because it is the only smart bulb that is 75 watt LED equivalent. I grew up with 100 watt incandescents, I find 60 watt LED equivalents way too dim which is what most smart and non-smart LEDs are.
  7. djuzi macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2013
    I had hue originally for a few years but eventually gave up on it bc their lights are way just way too dim. Plus the costs pile up fast if you’re trying to change a lot of bulbs.

    I recently purchased Lutron Caseta dimmers and couldn’t be happier. You do need a separate hub but they work flawlessly with HomeKit. Plus they’re probably the easiest switches on earth in terms of wiring and have a really ingenious way of taking care of 3-way switches (2 switches controlling one light/set of lights). They’re also very customizable.

    I now also have an August lock and the new MyQ bridge for my garage. Unfortunately, they all both need their own bridge. I also have an Apple TV
    For remote access. Everything works together really well.

    When I roll up to my house, I tell Siri “Welcome Home” and my garage opens, my front door unlocks, my 3 main lights set to 50% and my bedroom lamps set to 100%. 2 minutes later the August lock automatically locks no matter what. I also have 2 dimmers on exterior lights that turn on at sunset and turn off at midnight automatically.

    Recently I was out of the country and was able to unlock my front door and turn on my lights to have some friends check on the house with no issues.

    I love HomeKit! I’m doing an Ecobee thermostat next and probably the Logitech Circle 2 camera. I tell everyone to try the Lutron Caseta system to get started with HomeKit.
  8. rworne macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I have to agree on the Lutron Caseta. That system is bulletproof - it just works.
    I went with a Kwikset Premis lock for the front door - a huge improvement over the Kevo. Now with the HomePod, I broke down and got the Nest Thermostat, the Nest Protects, and the Roomba vacuum on Homekit as well.

    I'm still waiting for Ring to come out with the Homekit update for the Ring, if it ever does appear.
  9. Q-Dog macrumors 6502a


    Sep 9, 2007
    I started my homekit experiment with a Schlage Sense deadbolt. Have now added Lutron Caseta switches and an Ecobee thermostat. I am quite pleased with the way it all works together.

    The advantage of smart switches instead of bulbs means guests don't need a device to turn on a light.
  10. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    Good to know about the Lutron switches. I don't have a use for the dimmer feature here, but I do have the challenge of wanting to control a ceiling fixture at the top of the stairs that's wired up with 3 way switches. That's something these WeMo switches can't work with.

    I'll also have to check out that Kwikset Premis lock. I wasn't even aware they made that. I still see the Kevo for sale most places, and already know the downsides of that product.
  11. Fozziebear71 macrumors 6502


    Sep 23, 2014
    I didn't think Nest was Homekit compatible? Have they changed?
  12. pojo1806 macrumors 68000

    Feb 6, 2013
    United Kingdom
    As far as I know it's still not Homekit compatible.
  13. TrueBlou macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2014
    Nest still isn’t HomeKit compatible and likely won’t be any time soon.

    But if you really must go with Nest, or if it’s what you have already, you can setup Homebridge on your computer or (my personal preference) a Raspberry Pi and connect it via that using one of the available plugins for Nest.

    I love Homebridge, very handy, I use it too hook up my otherwise HomeKit incompatible Harmony Hub, iKettle, Coffee Machine, security camera and a few Smart Plugs.
  14. chfilm macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    I use TADO controllers for my heating, really nice. https://www.tado.com/
    Also there are some relatively cheap plugs for your power outlets that basically make your wall outlets HomeKit ready. This for me was the cheapest way to make some lights and the coffee machine for example HomeKit controllable, really easy and neat.

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14 January 5, 2018