Apple's HomeKit technology might seem really confusing, but trust us, it's not. It basically allows accessories from various manufacturers to work together, and it gives you a uniformed way of controlling all those accessories at once.
Pocket-lint has already explained how HomeKit works (including the new Home app that'll arrive with iOS 10 this autumn), but in this piece, we'll specifically talk about which accessories are HomeKit-enabled. In other words: these are the devices that work with HomeKit. Each device has its own app that enables you to remotely manage it, but with support for HomeKit built in, their apps are able to interconnect.
That means you can make your accessories work together, and you control them all right from your iPhone (or iPad and Apple Watch). For instance, HomeKit lets you create "scenes" to control your accessories in different combinations. You could create a scene called “Leaving home” that might turn off your smart lights, lock all your doors, and lower your smart thermostat - all with a single command.
Siri can recognise any HomeKit-enabled accessory you have in your home, so you can ask Siri to turn an accessory on or off. Again, Pocket-lint has explained how all this works already, but if you're interested in exactly which HomeKit-enabled accessories are now available, we've listed them all below. We've also included information about how to tell if something officially supports HomeKit.
What are HomeKit-enabled accessories?
HomeKit-enabled accessories are smart devices with built-in support for Apple's HomeKit technology. Accessories can be lights, locks, thermostats, plugs, switches, sensors, shades, etc. Over 50 brands worldwide make accessories that work with HomeKit.
What accessories work with HomeKit?
HomeKit works with select accessories reviewed and approved by Apple. Some of these accessories come from August, ConnectSense, Ecobee, Elgato, First Alert, Haier, Honeywell, iDevices, iHome, Incipio, Insteon, Koogeek, Lutron, Nanoleaf, Netatmo, Parce, Philips, and Schlage. Apple offers this FAQ page with more information about which HomeKit-enabled accessories are now available.
- You can also shop this Apple site for HomeKit-enabled products.
How can you tell if something is HomeKit-enabled?
Look for this badge on the accessory's product packaging:
Why do you want HomeKit-enabled accessories?
With HomeKit-enabled accessories, you'll have home automation. That means you can control all the accessories - like thermostats and lights - in your home from a mobile device anywhere in the world. It also means that everything - lights, appliances, electrical outlets, heating and cooling systems, doors, windows, locks, smoke detectors, surveillance cameras - is hooked up to a single remotely controllable network.
Home automation also refers to the ability to program and schedule events for the accessories on the network. You can program time-related commands, such as having your lights turn on or off at specific times each day. It can also include non-scheduled events, such as turning on all the lights in your home when your security system alarm is triggered. Also, an advantage of home automation is energy savings.
Your smart thermostat can automatically govern your home's heating and cooling system. It can also be programmed with different target temperatures in order to keep energy usage at a minimum during hours you're least likely to benefit from the heating and cooling. And, as we mentioned earlier, you are able to remotely control your smart thermostat and thus home temperature from anywhere in the world.
So, with HomeKit, you get home automation, meaning you can control your accessories from your mobile device, hook them up on the same network so that they work together, and you can reap massive energy savings from them.
That's why you want HomeKit-enabled accessories.