HomeKit: 5 tips for smarter operation of your smart home

With HomeKit you can make every home smarter, but to get the most out of it, you also have to be smart with it. We have listed six tips to help you operate your smart home in a smart way.

Operating HomeKit: this is how you do it smartly

Although Apple has done its best to make HomeKit as simple and accessible as possible, many useful functions are well hidden. That is a shame, because many people will have filled their homes with smart lamps and switches, but they are not making optimal use of them.

1. Use the Control Panel

Controlling your HomeKit devices from the Home app is convenient, but using the Control Panel is a lot easier. Apple has simplified this further from iOS 14 onwards. With the option ‘Show home controls’ your iPhone or iPad shows a selection of home buttons that are useful at that time. For example, you may encounter different buds depending on the time of day. You can set this as follows.

  1. Open the Settings app;
  2. Tap ‘Control panel’;
  3. Set the switch behind ‘Show home controls’ to green.

Is the button you are looking for not listed? Then you can tap the Home icon in the Control Panel to open a screen with your favorite scenes and accessories.

2. Take advantage of your Apple Watch and Mac

As we’ve come to expect from Apple, the company’s services work best if you own multiple Apple devices. That is no different with HomeKit. Do you have an Apple Watch? Then you can of course use Siri to control devices from your wrist, but the Watch also has a handy Home app.

With that you can put a complication on your watch face to quickly control the most important devices in your house, or directly activate a scene. The Mac now also has a Home app, so you can consult your devices directly from your desktop.

3. Enable automation and scenes

The above tips are useful for manually operating HomeKit, but the software is now smart enough to do things fully automatically. You do need an Apple TV or HomePod for this, which serves as a ‘hub’ for your HomeKit. You can set this as follows.

  1. Open the Home app;
  2. Tap the ‘Automation’ tab with the clock icon;
  3. Follow the steps on the screen and choose what applies to you.

Via the ‘Automation’ tab in the Home app you can set different things depending on the devices you have. For example, with the ‘arrive’ and ‘leave’ function you can automatically turn on certain options when everyone has left the house or is just coming home. Think of raising or lowering the heating or switching the lamps on and off.

As the name implies, the time function allows you to activate certain actions at a specific time. Are you home late at night but still want some light on? Then set here that a lamp is switched on at sunset.

If you also have smart sensors at home, you can also use this automation for this. Think of switching on a lamp as soon as a sensor detects movement.

4. Make Use of Rooms

The more smart devices you buy, the more cluttered the Apple Home app can become. So sooner or later it is smart to use Rooms to divide your devices. You do this as follows.

  1. Open the Home app;
  2. Tap the House icon in the top left corner;
  3. Tap Room Settings;
  4. Tap on ‘Rooms’;
  5. Tap on ‘Add room’;
  6. Follow the steps on the screen.

Once you have created a room, you can link specific living devices to this room. For example, create a living room and bedroom and connect the right smart lamps to it. If you have set the rooms correctly, you can now switch on all the lights in the living room at the touch of a button. Siri is also aware of this: thanks to Rooms, you can ask the assistant to ‘turn on the lights in the bedroom’.

5. Take advantage of Siri Shortcuts options

With the above five steps, controlling your smart home becomes a bit smarter, but with the Assignments app a whole new world opens up for you. This app (called Siri Shortcuts in English) allows you to manually compose a series of commands based on your location, the time of day or many other peripheral issues.

For example, you can create an Assignment that sends a message to your partner with the push of a button (or voice command to Siri) as soon as you go home, turn on the heating, activate the lights and turn on your favorite playlist on the HomePod. The possibilities are endless, but can also be a bit overwhelming. Take a look at our Siri Shortcuts guide to find out all about it.

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