9/12/16
6:34 am

Controlling Household Electronics with the iOS 10 Home App

iOS 10's Home app allows you to control devices like lamps, lights, thermostats, locks and other things. Setup is very easy if you are using a device that conforms to Apple's HomeKit standard. Your iOS device will quickly recognize the device without any configuration in advance. Then you can even set up schedules and actions for your devices.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. On this episode let's look at a simple example of using the new Home App in iOS 10.

I'm going to use this lamp to demonstrate how you can control an electronic device using your iPhone or your iPad.

In order to do that you, of course, need to purchase something. You've got to have something to communicate with on the other end. So I bought this inexpensive, little device here. It just plugs into an outlet and then you plug a device, like a lamp or something, or a fan, into it. Then you can turn it on and off.

Inside of this not only does it let power pass through but there is a wireless connector in there and it's actually set up using Apple's Home Kit standards so it already speaks the language that your iPhone and iPad will speak. So it's very easy to set up.

Okay. So I've plugged in the device and a green light came on. But I'm going to ignore all the rest of the instructions because as a Home Kit device this should all work automatically. The instructions typically are for other types of systems it may also connect to. So all I've done is plugged it in and waited for it to turn on.

Now I'm going to go to the Home App on my iOS device. Hit Add Accessory. Sure enough my iPad here sees it here automatically even though I've told the device nothing about my network, it doesn't have my iPad password, or anything. It just automatically sees the device. That's the magic of the whole Home Kit system.

I'm going to tap it to add it to my network. It's actually going to ask me the position the sticker, there's a sticker on the instruction booklet with this code, and I can position it in the camera so it can actually read the code or you can enter the code manually. So like if I wanted to try and get the code here, I can position it in the camera and it may or may not read it or I can just hit it manually. But here it grabbed it, you can see automatically, and it says pairing.

So now it's telling the device about things. About my WiFi network, about how to connect to the iPad. Everything it needs to know. So everything is configured automatically and I'm ready to go.

Now I can do various things. For instance I can go in and change the name of it. So I can change it to office lamp. I can change its location so it can give it a room that it's in. So you can have a lamp in your bedroom, lamp in the dining room, etc. It even shows the Type there included in the favorites.

Hit Done. You can see now the screen for the Home App now shows me that there's kind of this button here that I can click just by tapping it and it will actually turn the device on or off.

So let's give this a try now. I'm going to hit the button and it should turn on the lamp. There it works! I can tap it again and turn it off. So I can go back and forth and control it from anywhere in my house using the iPad.

Now if you've got an iPad you can also do something where you set up a hub. I'm going to go into Settings and under Home in Settings I can turn on Use this iPad as a Home Hub. So instead of using Apple TV as a Home Kit home hub which is how you would normally do it with your iPhone you can use an iPad as one especially if the iPad is always in the house.

So then when I set it up as a Hub I can do things now like go into Automation and create automated tasks. So I can create in New Automation My Location Changes based probably where my iPhone is and/or What Time of day occurs. It can have a certain thing happens like have the lamp turn on, have the lamp turn off.

I imagine if I had a more complex device than simply an on and off switch then instead of having a button there, there would be a more complex set of controls like maybe thermostat temperature settings and things like that.

So it depends on what type of device you've got and new devices are coming out all the time. I'll actually include a link to the little device I'm using here. It costs about $30 and it was a good one for me to be able to try this functionality out without spending a ton of money. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost.com.

Here’s a link to the device controller I was using, the KoogeekWi-Fi Smart Plug.

Comments: 15 Responses to “Controlling Household Electronics with the iOS 10 Home App”

    Tony G
    9/15/16 @ 2:56 am

    Gary. Can you override this manually. So someone else can switch the lamp on manually without a phone or iPad etc. ??

    9/15/16 @ 6:15 am

    Tony: that’s up to the device. The one I use in this tutorial has a button on the physical device itself. A thermostat may have a set of controls on it as well. But something like a color-changing light bulb may only be able to change colors through a remote app like this.

    Robert Poland
    9/15/16 @ 8:50 am

    I don’t suppose that the Lynx or X-10 systems will ever connect to iOS 10 Home App?

    9/15/16 @ 9:17 am

    Robert: I don’t know much about them. But I would assume that manufacturers can support both on devices. They already support multiple systems (Amazon plus HomeKit). Plus I don’t see why someone couldn’t build a connection between old systems and HomeKit.

    Barrie
    9/15/16 @ 8:16 pm

    Can you use an iPhone away from home to send a message to an iMac at home to turn your light on?

    9/16/16 @ 6:10 am

    Barrie: No. Since your iPhone wouldn’t be near the controller switch, it wouldn’t work. However, it can work if you have a “hub” that is in your home and on. An Apple TV 4 is the main device used as a hub. But with iOS 10, the iPad (not iPhone) can also act as a hub if you have one in your home and don’t take it with you. See https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207057 for details.

    Paul Reber
    9/16/16 @ 8:27 am

    If you can’t turn lights on and off away from home. What is the point! I can turn my house alarm on and off via my iPhone.

    9/16/16 @ 8:33 am

    Paul: You can. You just need a hub. Your alarm system has a built-in network connection and system. But you wouldn’t want to pay for that for every lightbulb, speaker and lamp switch. And you wouldn’t want a separate app or webpage for each device either. A central hub (like an Apple TV or iPad) takes care of that and can make things worth together.

    rick
    9/19/16 @ 9:46 am

    Would love to set up a hub to use it as a remote. If I do not have AppleTV, or an unused iPad, what else could be used?
    thanks..

    9/19/16 @ 9:47 am

    Rick: Just those two. So get an Apple TV. The cost of these devices is pretty high, so an Apple TV 4 as a hub will only be a small part of setting up the system (plus you get the TV stuff and AirPlay mirroring).

    Jamie Serafi
    9/22/16 @ 9:42 am

    Gary can you please recommend inexpensive products which would be compatible with the Apple home app? How do i know which products would work and which wouldn’t? Thanks

    9/22/16 @ 9:44 am

    Jamie: I don’t have any specific recommendations. I don’t review products as that would require me spending a ton of money buying dozens (hundreds?) or products and lots of time to evaluate each. Just search Amazon for “HomeKit” and you’ll come up with lots of products that list themselves as Apple HomeKit compatible. Then read the details and reviews to figure out which ones would work for you.

    Jamie Serafi
    9/22/16 @ 4:37 pm

    ok thank you!

    george wilson
    10/17/16 @ 1:12 pm

    Gary- would it have to be Apple TV 4, or would earlier versions work?

    10/17/16 @ 2:21 pm

    George: Yes. It is an Apple TV 4 that works as a hub. It is much more advanced than earlier Apple TVs.

Comments Closed.