Apple's HomeKit ecosystem works really well with just an iOS device like an iPhone or and iPad, but to really make the most of Apple's smart home offering and the hundreds of accessories that go with it, you really should add an Apple TV into the mix.
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Adding the Apple TV allows you to not only remotely access your HomeKit enabled accessories, but also to turn on automations allowing your home to do things given a set of rules and instructions even when you aren't there.
We've put together a number of tips, that you can put into action if you have an Apple TV 4.
How to connect your Apple TV to your HomeKit installation
Go to your Apple TV. Turn it on. Open settings. Click on iCloud. Make sure you are logged in to your iCloud account. You might need to log out and log back in again.
There is no dedicated Home app or details on the Apple TV so it all works in the background. If it has worked, you'll be able to add automations to your scenes via the Home app on your iPhone.
How to create a HomeKit automation
You can control accessories and run scenes automatically by time of day, your location, or another accessory with an Apple TV running as your home hub. Make sure the Apple TV is running the latest version of iOS 10 and that it is connected to your home Wi-Fi network.
To create a HomeKit automation, open the Home app on your iPhone, tap the Automation tab, then tap Create new Automation. Choose when you want the automation to occur.
There are four options available: Automation based on changes to your location, the time of day, when an accessory is controlled, and if a sensor detects something.
Select scenes and accessories to automate. Then tap Next. Finally verify the accessories and scenes you want. You can touch and hold an accessory or scene to adjust its settings. To finish, tap Done.
Turn off or delete an automation
If you've decided you don't want the automation you've created, you can delete it. Open the Home app and tap the Automation tab. Tap the automation. Turn off Enable This Automation or tap Delete Automation. You can also swipe left over the automation and tap Delete. Done.
Use your iPad as a replacement Apple TV
You don't actually need an Apple TV to get automations working with your HomeKit devices. You can use an iPad running iOS 10. The only catch, is that the iPad needs to be in the house on the same Wi-Fi network as the HomeKit accessories to work. As soon as you travel with the iPad the automations won't happen.
To set your iPad up as a Home Hub. Go to Settings > iCloud, sign in with your Apple ID and check that iCloud Keychain and Home are both turned on. Now go to Settings > Home and turn on Use this iPad as a Home Hub.
Use you Apple TV to get remote access
Because the Apple TV acts as a secure gateway to your HomeKit accessories, you can access your home remotely on your iOS device through Apple TV. Do things like lock your front door, view live camera video of the doorway or run scenes.
Make sure you use an Apple TV 4
Although you can use an Apple TV 3rd generation to give you basic access, to effectively utilize automation using rules and timers, Apple TV 4 is the best solution. The older Apple TV 3 does not offer this functionality. If your setup includes HomeKit accessories that use Bluetooth, you’ll appreciate the Apple TV 4’s much improved Bluetooth antenna range.
Using Siri On Your TV to control your HomeKit accessories
With Siri Remote, everyone in your house or visitors can easily control your home, or simply query accessory values, via your television equipped with Apple TV 4 and Siri.
That means tasks like turning up the heater, checking the outdoor temperature, dimming the lights, or turning off a Eve Energy plug (UK, US) can be done without leaving the couch or even using an iOS device.
Get a second Apple TV
Some Apple HomeKit devices, like the Elgato range of smart home accessories, work via Bluetooth rather than using your home Wi-Fi network.
By having more than one Apple TV, you can connect Bluetooth devices around your home (when in range) to the Apple TV so you can sync all the information accordingly. In other words, multiple Apple TVs automatically serve as range extenders.
Share your HomeKit devices and edit permissions for users
Without Apple TV you can't share your scenes or devices with others in your house. If you want to add members to your home, you can invite other people and give them access to your home. With an Apple TV or iPad as a home hub, you can allow editing on a per-user basis, and you can also choose to let them control accessories while inside the house or remotely.
To manage remote access and change permissions for a person go to the Home app, and tap on the location icon in the top left of the screen. Then enter the iCloud email address of the person you want to invite. Once you've invited them you can then allow Remote access and whether or not they have the ability to edit your set up. You can also remove them if you decide you don't like them anymore.
Update your iPhone and iPad to iOS 10.2
Although HomeKit works perfectly with iOS 10 and iOS 10.1, iOS 10.2 adds new functionality to get notification support for HomeKit accessories including window coverings, occupancy, motion, door/window, smoke, carbon monoxide, and water leak sensors. Now when a HomeKit enabled accessory like the Eve door&window is triggered you'll get a notification of the fact.
That's incredibly handy if you need to be alerted that a door has opened you weren't expecting or you are seeing what time other members of your house really did get home.
Know any great Apple TV HomeKit tips or tricks we've missed. Let us know in the comments below.