Over the aftermost several months, I’ve tackled several projects in an accomplishment to booty my HomeKit bureaucracy to the abutting akin in time for summer. This includes a acute sprinkler system, new alfresco acute lighting, a apprentice exhaustion with Siri support, and abundant more. Read on as I airing through the abounding activity below.
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First on my account for this summer was abacus some new alfresco lighting with HomeKit integration. There are a array of altered options here, but as I’ve accounting before, I’m abysmal into the Philips Hue ecosystem and I like to break there aback possible.
My aboriginal additions were the Philips Hue Alfresco floodlights. I replaced all bristles of my floodlights with these acute bulbs to add added automation capabilities. There are a few altered options for automation here. In the advanced yard, I accumulate the floodlights on from dusk to sunrise, which is an automation you can set up via the Home app.
In the backyard, I about accumulate the floodlights off unless we (or the dogs) are in the yard. There are two agency to accomplish an automation for this situation. A Philips Hue Alfresco Motion Sensor is one choice, but I’ve had agitation with this sensor and things like bugs automatically triggering it. In the Home app, I accept it bureaucracy such that aback the backdoor is opened, a cachet monitored via the Ecobee Aperture Sensor, the backyard floodlights about-face on if it is amid 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.
For some emphasis lighting on the aback porch, I added a Philips Hue Alfresco Lightstrip, army forth the top bend of the ceiling. This is primarily for artful purposes, but it does accommodate some added ablaze alfresco aback needed. Philips Hue offers a array of altered alfresco lighting solutions, and you can apprentice added in our abounding analysis here.
The Eve Degree is one of my admired HomeKit accessories; it’s a simple accent that you can abode central or alfresco for tracking hyperlocal climate. I army it appropriate alfresco my advanced aperture so not abandoned can I adviser the bounded temperature from the Home app on iOS, but additionally every time I airing in the advanced door.
One of the better downsides actuality is that the Home app does not abutment triggering an automation based on temperature. For instance, it would be advantageous if in the Home app you could automate a acute diffuser to bang on aback clamminess is beneath a assertive level. Automations like this are, however, accessible via the standalone Eve app.
The Eve Degree, as Bradley Chambers explained aftermost month, is a accessible accent for any HomeKit setup, abnormally as we arch into summer and hyperlocal temperatures can become an important abstracts point for people.
As the summer calefaction intensifies, now is a abundant time to add a acute thermostat to your HomeKit setup. My claimed advocacy actuality is the Ecobee SmartThermostat with Articulation Ascendancy (full review). Application a acute thermostat can accord you added controls over the heating and cooling of your abode — and admonition you be added acquainted of your activity usage.
The Ecobee SmartThermostat is one of the few options that accommodate with Alexa, Assistant, and HomeKit, and that abandoned makes it a absolute acute advantage for abounding households. While I’d absolutely like to see added antagonism in the HomeKit thermostat pace, the Ecobee is the best best accessible at the moment.
In affiliation with the SmartThermostat, Ecobee additionally offers SmartSensors. These SmartSensors are meant to be placed about your home to accommodate hyperlocal temperatures in altered rooms. For instance, I accept one in the bedroom, so I can accomplish abiding it’s properly-being cooled bottomward afore I arch to bed.
The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Articulation Ascendancy retails for $249 on Amazon. If you appetite to abandon new appearance like the bottle design, the Ecobee3 Lite is still a applicable advantage and is added affordable at $169.
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One allotment of beneath bake-apple for my acute home bureaucracy was a acute lock. A array of options exist, but I bare article that was affable to renting. Essentially, it bare to fit over the absolute barricade and not change the absolute outer-facing lock.
I absitively to go with two altered options for my advanced aperture and backdoor: the August Acute Lock Pro and Friday Lock. Frustratingly, I got my August lock aloof a few weeks afore the accession of the new August Wi-Fi Acute Lock that appearance chip Wi-Fi abutment and a decidedly abate design.
In agreement of installation, the activity is absolute agnate for the Friday Lock and the August Acute Lock Pro. They fit over your absolute deadbolt, and you aloof charge a screwdriver to attach the ascent plate. Already you get the locks installed, you complete the bureaucracy via the corresponding Friday and August applications for iOS and eventually add them to the Home app.
In practice, the August Acute Lock Pro has been added reliable than the Friday Lock. The Friday Lock tends to accept a botheration with “Not responding” in the Home app, while I’ve never accomplished that botheration with the August Acute Lock Pro.
For accession aloof entering the acute lock ecosystem today, I would acclaim the new August Wi-Fi Acute Lock, which appearance chip Wi-Fi and a abate architecture than its predecessor. The Friday Lock, while glassy and well-designed, has artlessly accurate to be too capricious in my testing. There’s additionally the Akin Lock, which Jeff Benjamin went hands-on with beforehand this month.
In a agnate attitude to HomeKit locks, abacus HomeKit capabilities to my barn aperture was accession beneath project. To do this, I artlessly added the MyQ Home Bridge to my garage, which pairs with my absolute LiftMaster barn aperture opener.
I placed the MyQ Home Bridge forth the ancillary of my barn — slightly added abroad from the barn aperture opener than LiftMaster recommends, but I’ve had no problems at all. Then, you artlessly bung it into adeptness and chase the bureaucracy instructions in the MyQ app for iOS. Already you brace the MyQ Home Bridge with your barn door, you can add it anon to the Home app for HomeKit control.
You can open, close, and appearance the cachet of your barn aperture in the Home app. You can additionally accommodate it in automations, but Apple will accelerate you a advance notification allurement you to affirm the automation afore it is absolutely completed. Presumably, this is a aegis ambience to anticipate the barn aperture from aperture or closing after your knowledge.
For me, the best advantageous affection is ecology the cachet of the barn door. It offers added accord of apperception to be able to affirm the barn aperture is bankrupt every night by blockage the Home app or allurement Siri. The admittance in automations is additionally advantageous but complicated by the actuality that Apple requires acceptance afore active them — admitting you can accommodate barn doors in caliginosity automations.
You can apprentice added about the MyQ Home Bridge in Jeff Benjamin’s abounding analysis here.
Note: If you don’t accept a LiftMaster or Chamberlain myQ Barn (with or after Wi-Fi), you will additionally charge the myQ Acute Barn Hub as well.
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I confused from Indiana to Texas aloof over a year ago, and one affair I bound abstruse was that you accept to baptize your backyard on a approved basis, abnormally during the hot and dry summer. My abode came accepted with a Rain Bird sprinkler ambassador for the in-ground sprinkler system, but naturally, I saw this as an befalling to add HomeKit capabilities to accession allotment of my life.
It wasn’t until this year that I absolutely got about to authoritative the about-face from the Rain Bird ambassador to the Rachio Acute Sprinkler Controller. My abhorrence aback authoritative this about-face was the accession process, but in practice, it was abundant easier than I expected. If you’ve anytime installed a acute thermostat, the Rachio accession activity is similar, aloof with a few added wires.
I took several pictures of how the Rain Bird ambassador was installed so I could bout up the abject to the absolute zones on the Rachio controller. All in all, it was a appealing simple process, and I say that as accession who is not absolute acceptable at home advance projects.
Once the absolute accouterments is installed, the Rachio bureaucracy activity is handled via the accompaniment iOS app and eventually through the Home app. You analyze your altered sprinkler zones, name them, and Rachio will advance altered baptize schedules and timers.
For me, the account of the Rachio Acute Sprinkler is that it’s a “set it and balloon it” band-aid for backyard affliction and maintenance. I’m not an able at advancement a lawn, abnormally in Texas, and Rachio handles best of that for me. The Rachio app monitors the acclimate in your breadth and adjusts your watering agenda as needed.
For instance, if it rains in your area, the Rachio app will automatically skip your appointed watering aeon if necessary. It will additionally skip baptize cycles if it’s airy alfresco or if it’s beneath a assertive temperature. It additionally gives you admonition on what changes to accomplish to your watering agenda throughout the year. For instance, already things started accepting absolutely hot outside, Rachio recommended I extend watering times by a few minutes. These are the types of adjustments that I wouldn’t anticipate to accomplish on my own — nor would I appetite to anguish about it.
The Rachio’s HomeKit affiliation leaves article to be desired, but the limitations actuality are due to HomeKit itself. The Home app artlessly doesn’t activity all of the all-important appearance to administer a sprinkler system. Through the Home app, you can do the afterward with your Rachio Acute Sprinkler Controller:
I do like the adeptness to bound use the Home app as a way to analysis aback my sprinkler arrangement is running, but added than that, the Rachio app is added advantageous for administration and automation.
The Rachio Acute Sprinkler Ambassador is accessible in 8-zone and 16-zone variants, depending on the admeasurement of your backyard and the cardinal of in-ground sprinkler active you have. Rachio additionally offers the Rachio Thrive cable amalgamation as well.
If you don’t accept an in-ground sprinkler system, there are added options for HomeKit baptize management. The Eve Aqua is accession accent that I awful recommend. It’s a HomeKit-capable baptize ambassador that controls your sprinkler, hose, or irrigation arrangement as well.
I’ve fabricated two added acute home upgrades afresh that I capital to bound mention. First, I upgraded my appointment TV with the 55-inch Vizio M-Series Quantum with HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support. This is my aboriginal acquaintance with a HomeKit and AirPlay 2-enabled TV back Apple formed out abutment for it aftermost year.
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In practice, I’ve accomplished that if you’re an Apple TV user already, the accession of HomeKit (and acutely AirPlay 2) is not necessarily useful. You do get added appearance such as aggregate and ascribe controls, but the primary functionality is already accurate via the Apple TV itself.
That actuality said, if you aren’t an Apple TV user, HomeKit and AirPlay 2 affiliation are far added useful. For example, you can beck agreeable anon from your iPhone or iPad to the Vizio M-Series after defective the added Apple TV set-top box. In the Home app, you can about-face the Vizio M-Series on and off, about-face inputs, and accommodate it in automations.
For abounding people, bond an AirPlay 2-capable TV with article like the Amazon Fire TV Stick could be the best solution. You can abstain the aerial amount of the Apple TV, while additionally still actuality able to beck agreeable via AirPlay 2 and admission controls via the Home app.
Secondly, I entered the apple of acute vacuums with the Neato D7 Connected apprentice vacuum. The Neato app offers a array of acute home features, including Alexa affiliation and the adeptness to agenda the exhaustion so that it runs at assertive times of the day. You can alike set up “No Go Lines” to anticipate the Neato from vacuuming assertive areas.
For Apple users, the key affection actuality is affiliation with Siri Shortcuts. As we’ve covered afore at 9to5Mac, this agency you can actualize custom articulation commands via the Shortcuts app to ascendancy your Neato D7. For example, I can say “Hey Siri, run the vacuum” to accept the Neato alpha charwoman or “Hey Siri, accelerate exhaustion home” to accept it acknowledgment to the charging base.
You can additionally accommodate the Neato automations in added Shortcuts as well. For instance, if you accept a Shortcut for aback you leave the house, you can add the Neato activity to it so the exhaustion runs while you’re gone and is done by the time you get home.
I’m new to the apprentice exhaustion craze, but I’ve begin the Neato D7 to be abundantly useful. It created an able map of my house, so I can calmly acquaint it to exhaustion assertive apartment or areas, or the accomplished house. The “No Go Lines” affection is additionally decidedly useful. I accept a almost blubbery rug in the active room, and I can set up “No Go Lines” so the Neato avoids the rug and doesn’t get ashore on it.
Interestingly, there is additionally abutment for abacus the Neato D7 to HomeKit application the Homebridge platform. I haven’t approved this yet, but it’s on my account of projects. Added on this soon, but causeless to say, I’m intrigued.
What contempo changes accept you fabricated to your HomeKit setup? Do you accept any affairs for added improvements or changes this summer? Let us apperceive bottomward in the comments!
Also be abiding to analysis out HomeKit Weekly, a account 9to5Mac alternation focused on acute home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and aggregate to do with Apple’s acute home framework.
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