This page describes a simple approach to setting up Apple HomeKit using a HomePod mini device as the HomePod controller.
- HomeKit — The term HomeKit refers to the overall collection of devices and controllers. The Home app is the software used to control the system.
- HomePod — The term HomePod refers to the required control center that manages all of the devices for your HomeKit. This function can be provided by an Apple TV, Apple HomePod mini, Apple HomePod, or Apple iPad.
Using an iPad as a HomePod System
If a person already has a fairly new iPad, it could be used as the HomePod system. This could be a way to save money, but there are some drawbacks. The iPad must remain on and plugged in when not being used. As long as the iPad is on and at home, the other devices can remain connected and controlled. If the iPad is mistakenly left unplugged and the battery runs out, then the ability to turn on lights, for example, would not be available. For these reasons, the HomePod mini system ($99) is being recommended below.
STEP #1 — iPhone or iPad for HomeKit Setup
You will need an iPhone or iPad for the basic setup, configuration, and control of the HomeKit system. The Home app will be used during the initial setup of the HomePod mini described below. You will need a working WiFi connection to setup and use the HomeKit system. Connect your iPhone and/or iPad to the available WiFi.
STEP #2 — Setup HomePod mini
- NOTE: There is also a HomePod model that costs about $300 and features more powerful audio. When paired with a second identical speaker, the two can produce stereo sound for about $600 total. If clearer sound is desired or required, the two-speaker option would be a better choice. [Best Buy Product Page]
Once unboxed and turned on, you will use an iPhone or iPad for the initial setup of the HomePod mini. There is a guided step-by-step process.
STEP #3 — Adding Devices
To add a device to your HomeKit setup, you would want to purchase a HomeKit compatible outlet switch. A two-pack of the MEROSS-brand outlets would be about $20 on Amazon. A four-pack is available for about $40.
From the Home app on your iPhone or iPad, tap on the plus icon in the top right. Choose Add Accessory, and then scan the identification information printed on the outlet device you are setting up.
If you are setting up more than one device, it helps to give each device a unique name during setup. Then you can more easily use Siri to request a specific item be turned on or off.
STEP #4 — Using Siri
The HomePod mini is able to listen for Siri commands and questions. Questions about the weather or requests to turn on a light will most likely be handled by the HomePod mini. You can still make requests for your iPhone to process, such as, “Siri, make a phone call.”
STEP #5 — Advanced Programming
If you sometimes fall asleep with the lights on, it would be possible to program the HomeKit system to turn daytime lights off and nighttime lights on at a certain time. There may be other devices you want automatically turned on or off at certain times.
The above equipment setup keeps costs down and provides the main functions a person would want for home automation.
The following links provide more information about Apple HomeKit.