You'll soon be able to control your household of HomeKit gadgets from a single app on your iPhone's lock screen.
If you’re dabbling in a spot of home automation via Apple HomeKit, your iPhone’s screen is most likely cluttered with all of the various third-party and product apps that control your various gadgets. HomeKit is merely the gateway that links your devices to your phone, but you can’t actually do anything with it.
Thanks to Apple’s new Home app, however, things are about to get much cleaner, simpler and easier. Rolling out with iOS 10, Apple Home is a one-stop platform that lets you control your entire house full of smart HomeKit-ready gadgets and accessories.
Now, chores like locking your smart front door lock, opening the garage, adjusting the thermostat and dimming lights are all possibly from the Home app. Here, you’ll see all of your gadgets in a tiled layout, making it easy to tap and adjust settings in seconds. You can now, for instance, tap once to turn on the lights in the kitchen, or even press and swipe to dim them.
Home also introduces ‘scenes’, which lets you create customised sequences, rules and schedules for your gadgets to work together. Create a ‘Goodnight’ scene, for example, to have your lights switch off, your thermostat crank down, your door lock and your blinds close all at once. Siri can interact with scenes too, so you can just say the word to make the magic happen.
If you like your gadgets to react to your changing lifestyle, Home also throws in automation like geofencing, which means certain smart home scenes will kick in when you and your phone are within a certain radius of your house. You could ask your garage door to open, your lights to come on and your hot tub to start up when you roll into the driveway, for example.
There are some extra bonuses if you’ve got devices like security cameras and a video doorbell. The Home app will let you access your live camera feed in a tap, and even put you in control of your video doorbell’s intercom for two-way chatting with visitors on your doorstep.
The real boon with Home is that it has placed itself right on your lock screen. Swipe up on your iPhone’s Control Centre, then swipe right, and you’ll see all of smart home controls ready to use – all without having to unlock your phone and enter the Home app. Apple Watch wearer? It’s going to get Home support too, so you can control your HomeKit house straight from your wrist.