Read Me First – Take Control of Apple Home Automation

Read Me First

Welcome to Take Control of Apple Home Automation, version 1.3, published in October 2020 by alt concepts inc. This book was written by Josh Centers and edited by Dan Frakes (version 1.0), Lynnea Fleming (version 1.2), and Joe Kissell (versions 1.1 and 1.3).

This book explains how to use Apple’s HomeKit home automation platform to control smart devices in your home, such as lights, outlets, thermostats, and more.

If you want to share this ebook with a friend, we ask that you do so as you would with a physical book: “lend” it for a quick look, but ask your friend to buy a copy for careful reading or reference. Discounted classroom and Mac user group copies are available.

Copyright © 2020, Josh Centers. All rights reserved.

Updates and More

You can access extras related to this ebook on the web (use the link in Ebook Extras, near the end; it’s available only to purchasers). On the ebook’s Take Control Extras page, you can:

  • Download any available new version of the ebook for free, or buy any subsequent edition at a discount.

  • Download various formats, including PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket. (Learn about reading on mobile devices on our Device Advice page.)

  • Read the ebook’s blog. You may find new tips or information, as well as a link to an author interview.

If you bought this ebook from the Take Control website, it has been added to your account, where you can download it in other formats and access any future updates.

What’s New in Version 1.3

Version 1.3 reflects HomeKit changes in iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS 11 Big Sur, and tvOS 14. Here are the high points:

  • HomeKit routers: Support for HomeKit routers has been around for a while, but is just now starting to take off commercially. To get the most security benefits, you need to either set up the router first or set up your accessories all over again. See Configure Your Router with HomeKit.

  • Accessory setup changes: The way you set up accessories has changed a bit, which I cover in Set Up Accessories.

  • Control Center overhaul in iOS/iPadOS: The way Home works with Control Center in iOS and iPadOS has been overhauled, so that you now have quick access to suggested accessories and you’re no longer limited to just nine favorite accessories and scenes. See Use Control Center in iOS and iPadOS.

  • Overhauled Home status: Previously, Home status was just a wall of text that wasn’t worth saying much about. Apple has overhauled it for iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS 11 Big Sur to be more graphical and interactive, so I added a new section, Check Accessory Status.

  • Control Center in Apple TV: tvOS 14 introduced new Home controls in Control Center that lets you view camera feeds and activate scenes. See Use Apple TV Control Center.

  • Expanded coverage of cameras: iOS 13 introduced HomeKit Secure Video, but at the time there was only one camera that supported it, the camera was expensive, and you had to give up a lot of functionality to even use HomeKit Secure Video. There are now inexpensive HomeKit cameras from Eufy that I discuss in Learn the Types of Accessories. I cover configuring cameras in Adjust Camera Settings, and how to view them in View and Control Cameras.

  • Adaptive lighting: Apple has announced a feature that lets smart lights change color throughout the day, sort of like Night Shift for real life. Unfortunately, there aren’t any smart lights that support this yet, so there isn’t anything to say. When there is, we’ll update the book again.

What Was New in Version 1.2

Version 1.2 reflects changes to HomeKit in iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and macOS 10.15 Catalina:

  • New interface: The Home app interface has been overhauled in parts, which I reference throughout the book.

  • HomeKit Secure Video: Apple now lets you securely store footage from HomeKit security cameras in iCloud, but right now support is severely limited. See the Cameras section in Learn the Types of Accessories for more information.

  • HomeKit-enabled routers: iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 introduced support for HomeKit-enabled routers from Eero, Linksys, and Spectrum, which can, in theory, isolate your HomeKit accessories from the rest of your network. However, none of those vendors have yet added support to their routers as of December 2019, so it’ll be covered in a future edition and/or on TidBITS.

  • HomePod and AirPlay 2 speakers: AirPlay 2 devices like the Apple TV and HomePod can be controlled and automated with HomeKit. See Control Your Accessories and Automate Your Music.

  • Siri Shortcuts: You can now incorporate Siri Shortcuts into HomeKit automations. See Convert Automations to Shortcuts.