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December 9, 2016

Apple HomeKit tips and tricks without Apple TV

by John_A

Apple’s HomeKit app Home is simple and easy to use, but it also comes with a load of hidden features that you might not, on the surface, realise are available.

We’ve put together a number of tips, which don’t require you to have an Apple TV 4, to allow you to get the most from the Apple backed service that supports hundreds of different smart home devices from companies like Elgato and Philips.

How to change the wallpaper in Home app

The Home Tab wallpaper can be modified by tapping the location icon in the top left and choosing a new one in Home settings. You can do the same for rooms: after picking a room, tap the list icon in the top left, open Room Settings, and assign a new wallpaper.

How to create a HomeKit scenes

A scene is where any number of your accessories can work together with a single command and is one of the key features of HomeKit. This is great for times like when you wake up, leave the house, come home or go to bed. The Apple Home app lets you create custom scenes giving you plenty of options. To create a scene, tap on the “+” icon at the top right of the screen in the Home app and follow the instructions from there.

How to add new accessories and scenes

Easily add a new accessory or scene by tapping on the “+” sign in the top right corner of the Home tab or any room page. 

Setting up HomeKit favourites

“Favourite” scenes and accessories for them to appear on the Home tab and in the Control Center. To set a device or scene as a favourite, long press (Using 3D Touch with the iPhone 6S or 7) on the device or scene and then press “Details”. Scroll down the page until you see “Include in Favourites” and make sure it is selected.

Accessing HomeKit devices through the Control Center

When you have at least one HomeKit accessory set up, a third Control Center card will appear, giving you an easy way to quick access your favourite accessories and scenes. Simply swipe up from the bottom of the page and then scroll right to left twice to see your HomeKit enabled devices.


Quickly see the status of your Home

You’ll find a summary of average conditions and statuses at the top of the Home page in the Home app like humidity, temperature and door lock status. You can tap Details for an accessory overview.

How to get deeper HomeKit controls

3D Touch lets you press and hold an accessory icon to perform more complex tasks like dimming the lights or adjusting the thermostat. With multicolour lights, you can tap on a Colours button below the intensity slider to modify presets and open a colour wheel to pick a different shade. The wheel even has a segmented control to switch between colour and temperature. 

How to share your HomeKit home

If you want to add members to your home, you can invite other people and give them access to your home. Go to the Home app and tap on the location arrow icon at the top left of the screen. Here you can invite people via their Apple Cloud ID username to be able to control the devices in your system. They will only be able to control it in the house unless you have an Apple TV.

Rename your HomeKit Home

Press on the location arrow icon at the top left of the screen and change the name from Home to Castle if you are feeling the need to be a little more grandeur.

Add a second home to HomeKit

If you have more than one home you can set up multiple homes that can be controlled via the Home app. Tap on the location arrow icon at the top left of the screen in the Home app, and tap on Add Home. You can follow the instructions for setup from there. You can then switch between your homes by tapping on the location arrow icon at the top left of the screen, then choosing the home you’d like to access.

How to add automation to HomeKit

To run automations, like Timers, Location commands, Sensors, or triggers like turning on the light when a door opens, you have to have an Apple TV or an iPad that stays in the home connected to your system.

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