How Siri can set up your smart home

The inside and out of Apple's personal assistant.

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What is Siri?

Siri is Apple’s virtual personal assistant. Using the phrase “Hey Siri,” you can give the software-based assistant voice commands to do a variety of tasks, from answering questions to reading news and traffic reports to interacting with other physical devices over the Internet.

While Siri is only available on Apple devices, support has grown significantly to include iPhones, Apple TVs, iPads and the new HomePod.

How can Siri control my smart home?

In 2014, Apple released HomeKit, a framework for third-party hardware manufacturers to create smart devices you can control from your iOS device through Apple’s Home app. By purchasing HomeKit-enabled devices and registering them to the Home app, you can turn them on and off, adjust their settings and check their status through the app instead of juggling separate remotes for each device.

More importantly, the Home app supports Siri, so you can use voice commands to shut off your smart lights, crank up the air conditioner or display the feed from your security camera. To do this, you’ll first need to add each smart device to the Home app on your iPhone by searching for it through the app and entering or scanning the eight-digit HomeKit code located on the device. You can then name the device, such as “front door camera” or “bedroom light.”

Once you’ve set up your HomeKit devices and configured the Home app, you can issue Siri a number of commands such as:

  • “Hey Siri, turn on the lights in the kitchen.”
  • “Hey Siri, set the temperature to 70 degrees.”
  • “Hey Siri, turn off the radio.”

For added complexity, you can also create “scenes” in the Home app, which allow you to group multiple actions together under a single voice command. An “I’m home” scene might combine turning on the living room lights and heat and playing your favorite music. A “bedtime” scene might activate your security cameras, dim your bedroom lights and lock the front door. Just say the name of the scene to Siri to activate it.

You can also control your smart devices through the Home app when you’re out of the house by setting up an iPad or Apple TV as a Home Hub. In the iCloud settings section of either the iPad or Apple TV, you’ll find the option to use your device as a Home Hub. After activating this, add your Apple ID (and the Apple ID of anyone else you want to access your smart devices) to the Home app by selecting Invite and editing the user’s permissions to allow remote access. You’ll need to leave your iPad or Apple TV turned on and connected to your home Wi-Fi network to control your smart devices through the Home app on another iOS device while you’re out and about.

What smart devices does Siri work with?

There are now more than 50 brands that create devices supported by HomeKit and Siri. Look for the “Works with HomeKit” label on the device packaging to see if it’s compatible:

homekit-label

These devices span a wide range of home automation categories, with some of the most popular product lines including:

Lights

  • Philips Hue
  • Nanoleaf Aurora
  • iLuv Rainbow8

Light switches

  • Elgato Eve Light Switch
  • Koogeek switches and dimmers
  • Leviton Decora switches and dimmers

Power outlets

  • Elgato Eve Energy
  • iHome Control Smart Plug
  • Koogeek Smart Outlet and Smart Plugs

Thermostats

  • ecobee ecobee3
  • Elgato Eve Thermo
  • Honeywell Lyric

Sensors

  • Elgato Eve sensors
  • Fibaro sensors
  • iHome sensors
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