HomeKit Garage Door Opening By Itself

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by macduke, May 15, 2019.

  1. macduke macrumors G4

    macduke

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    Central U.S.
    #1
    I have a HomeKit garage door opener from Insignia that I bought on Black Friday sale last year. It had a lot of problems at first and bricked itself, but the newer device with the newer firmware seems to be running okay now. But I'm wondering—is it possible for a geofence to incorrectly detect whether you're entering or leaving your home?

    A little over a month ago I was reading on Reddit and maybe on here too about how you can get around Apple's limitations on HomeKit geofencing being unable to open doors. Basically you buy another switch, such as a WeMo, and hide that switch away somewhere in your house where people aren't going to press it. It's basically a bypass switch, so I bought an extra immediately. Then you set it to turn on when you get within range of your house, then set another automation up to open your garage door when the WeMo is triggered, and then at the end of the automation you turn off the WeMo. Boom, automatic garage door opener. I didn't set up automatic closing, because I feared my wife leaving while I'm working in the garage with lawn equipment out or the trunk up on my Outback and making a mess of things.

    So for the first couple weeks things worked great. It would open when I would get a few doors down from my house. Nice. Completely unnecessary, but nice and felt futuristic. But then I started having problems. It started not opening sometimes automatically. Then it started never opening automatically. This went on for a couple weeks until the other day, when it opened automatically. Then this morning, I backed out and closed the garage door. I remember making sure it closed because there was a car turning around in our cul-de-sac that I didn't recognize and wanted to make sure it closed in case someone was scoping out houses (yeah, I'm mildly paranoid, it sucks). So I take a couple turns to get out of my neighborhood onto the main road and see a notification pop up that my garage door opened. I thought it was kinda weird but thought maybe the notification was lagging, which I've seen happen before. The status wouldn't update to show whether or not the garage door was open or closed, it was just stuck on "opening".

    So I get to work and on my iMac Pro a notification popped up that my garage door had opened and there was nothing saying it closed. Weird. Then I saw a notification it closed, and immediately got a text from my wife that she was putting out the trash from our daycare and noticed the garage door was open and closed it. It had somehow opened itself! So is it possible for a geofence to incorrectly detect whether I'm entering or leaving it? I take an L-shaped route away from my house. Is it possible that I barely go outside the circle, and then back into the circle for a moment when leaving my neighborhood? Does anyone know the geofence radius for Home? You can set a custom one if you pick something other than Home, but then it said the automation wouldn't work with family member's devices, but I suppose I could set it up for my wife separately. Do you guys think if I made a bigger custom circle size, I would be less likely to cross in and out of the circle, if that's the issue? Or am I playing with fire by trying to automate this in this way? Thanks for the help.
     
  2. akash.nu macrumors 604

    akash.nu

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    #2
    You’re playing with fire. The geofence systems as a whole are not reliable enough to keep your house unprotected.

    Definitely not worth it for me.
     
  3. Itinj24 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2017
    Location:
    New York
    #3
    I use the same exact setup for opening but I have the 4 Wemo’s stay on when home (one for me, the wife, nanny, and mother-in-law) and turn off their respective Wemo when they leave. Then I set up the automation that when either of us leaves, the Wemo turns off and closes the garage (when not home). I have the same Insignia opener and in your case, if there’s an obstruction, it shouldn’t close because of the obstruction sensors. This is also good because I know when and who is in the house when I’m away.

    I’ve never had a problem with the the garage opening itself but I do occasionally have the issue of it not opening which is annoying. It is possible your route has you exit then re-enter the geofence but I noticed that my garage starts opening just as I’m pulling into the driveway.

    I put a Logitech Circle 2 inside my garage facing the garage doors for verification (among other things) because the garage opener sensor sometimes stays stuck on “opening” or “closing”. Was thinking about switching to the Liftmaster/Chamberlain hub though. Think I read it gives reminder notifications if the garage is left open for a certain amount of time.
     
  4. macduke thread starter macrumors G4

    macduke

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    Central U.S.
    #4
    Yeah, I have a Ring security system as a backup but this still gives access if someone wanted to take a quick opportunity or just swipe something from the garage. I should probably disable it when we go out of town.

    You'd think more companies would want to make a cash grab off of Apple users and HomeKit, especially since it is now easier to implement with software encryption, but we get crap like bottom of the barrel Insignia that you have to go through support hell any time something is wrong.

    Anyway, with that rant out of the way, I was looking at the map and I doubt I go out and back into the area. If I do, maybe for a split second, but the thing usually takes so long to respond most of the time anyway when I enter it normally that it would be weird. I wonder if the GPS skipped around or something. It hasn't done it again, but I've been watching more closely.

    I have an under the eave light on either side of my garage door. I remember seeing once this company that was making cameras that go into those, and you can point them in any direction, but I wish there was one with a servo I could control to spin it around. I don't want to mess with wiring something up on the outside, and want it to be less obvious, but it would be great to have a camera pointed back at the garage and monitoring that side of the house, with another on the close side pointing back at the house and front windows. I've been hoping Ring offers something like that so I can just add it to my protect plan at no additional charge for cloud storage. But then again I already think I'm being too paranoid with a doorbell cam and a back floodlight cam and a security system.

    I currently have my automation setup to close the garage door at 9:45pm, which is later than we usually get home, but I still worry about one day getting home late, pulling in, and then having it automatically close while I have the trunk gate open unloading groceries or whatever. I know it beeps, but it's not enough time to stop it. I'd like to have a whole door sensor. Not sure if that exists.

    I think I'm going to try defining a custom geofence. Have you guys heard of any apps that let you make one by connecting lines to form a polygon? Or are we just stuck with circles with HomeKit? Hopefully we see some improvements to all of this at WWDC. HomeKit really needs some love.
     
  5. Itinj24 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2017
    Location:
    New York
    #5
    I’m really curious where Apple pulls the geofence from for HK and what the radius is. Unless, I’m missing something, I don’t see it in the Home app. When I arrive, my garage opens as I pull into the driveway. I can see it almost at the top as it’s opening. When I leave, I’m miles away on the highway before it closes. I tested this with someone home of course and I only use the close automation as a backup.
     

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4 May 15, 2019