You’ve invested hundreds into Apple HomeKit accessories after discovering the magic of a smart home at your fingertips. BUT the ability to turn your lights on and off remotely has started to lose it’s appeal. We can help you learn more about what’s possible with your Apple HomeKit in this introduction to Apple Home Automations. Get the most out of your investment in your smart home.
What are Apple Home Automations?
Apple Home automations are commands that you can set up to automatically trigger reactions in your home. You set up these commands and Apple Home does the rest of the work. This makes your home a little more “smart” and a lot more customizable.
Some of the commands that you can set up include triggering a reaction at a certain time of day, when a sensor detects something, when an accessory is controlled, and even when your location changes.
In classic Apple fashion, while there are similar products and automations on the market, Apple Home Automations are much more user friendly. Let’s go through the different types of automations and how you can use them to make your home a little smarter.
HomeKit Automation #1 – Trigger at a certain time of day
This is likely the easiest automation to set up. Being able to set your smart plugs in your living room and office areas will help you reduce phantom power that’s being used by inactive televisions, computer monitors, and printers.
All you have to do is choose the time of day when you want them on and off, and program that into your Apple Home app. It also includes a sunrise/sunset feature that other apps may not have. This simply means the app turns on your smart accessories when you wake up and turns them off when you go to sleep.
HomeKit Automation #2 – Trigger when an accessory is controlled
This setup is a little more complicated to set up, but definitely worth the effort. This automation connects two accessories together. If one accessory turns on, then the other accessory is also triggered.
A good example is using the Eve Door/Window Sensor. Every time you open your door and trigger the sensor, you can have your smart lights to turn on. This automation is useful for people who don’t like to walk into a dark home at night.
Another way to use this setup would be connecting your smart light bulb in your bedroom with your kitchen smart plug that has your kettle plugged into it. When your Philips Hue smart LED light bulb turns on in the morning to wake you up like an alarm, it can trigger your kettle to go off so you can have hot water for tea/coffee.
To do this, you can use either a smart LED light or smart light switch. If you need help choosing between the two, check out our comparison on these accessories.
HomeKit Automation #3 – Trigger when a sensor detects something
While an interesting concept, this automation is the most limiting of all four that we’ve tried. It’s simply meant to trigger when something moves. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many HomeKit accessories that have sensors built into them.
We’ve tried out the iHome Sensor, D-Link Omna and Eve Motion Sensor for this type of automation. The success really depends on the product. This type of automation definitely needs to be improved by Apple, as you can’t trigger an action based on some of the sensor data (like temperature).
We set up our D-Link Omna to trigger our lights when the front door opens. Using it this way didn’t prove very successful, and only worked about 50 percent of the time. Elgato’s Eve Motion sensor does a better job of detecting general motion, so consider getting that device if you don’t need the video capability that comes with the D-Link Omna.
HomeKit Automation #4 – Trigger when my location changes
An automation that is triggered when your location changes is by far the best of the four automations. Apple Home can detect if you’re in the house, as long as you have the right accessories and setup. This is extremely useful for loud appliances like fans, heaters, and dehumidifiers.
Our office gets pretty humid in the spring and summer, so we run a dehumidifier to reduce any dampness. It makes it pretty hard to concentrate, and we often switch it off but forget to turn it back on.
By adding a smart plug to the dehumidifier and programming the automation, Apple Home knows to turn it on when we aren’t in the office.
The best part about Apple Home is that you don’t have to purchase anything except your accessories, and of course, have an iPhone. You don’t even need to download any of the manufacturer’s apps on your phone do have everything work perfectly. This is something that you definitely can’t do with other smart home devices.
We hope this introduction to Apple Home Automations helped you out. If you liked this post and are considering getting some for yourself, check out our links to purchase your products. Let us know if you have any comments or questions in the comments below!