The Apple Home app appeared on the iPhone screen on November 15, 2017.  The Home app allows people to control accessories in their home, such as living room and kitchen lights, from their phones.

How to use Home Assistant to make HomeKit see more of your gadgets

enlarge / The Apple Home app appeared on the iPhone screen on November 15, 2017. The Home app allows people to control accessories in their home, such as living room and kitchen lights, from their phones.

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

I’ve been buying and tinkering with smart home devices for years. As a result, my home network resembles a model United Nations of devices, bridges, protocols, assistants, and applications. I tried to broker alliances, settle disputes, and reassure everyone, myself included, that this whole complex thing is still worth it.

my redemption is home assistanta small server for you Local control and extensive automation power. Every device in my house is connected to Home Assistant, which runs on a tiny Raspberry Pi 3B+ under my printer. I have a custom dashboard with all switches, sensors, speakers and lights. I have full control, custom dashboards and unlimited automation.

But sometimes, I just want to change the thermostat on my iPhone’s lock screen, or tell Siri on my phone or watch to turn on the lights. Yes, Home Assistant has its own app, as well as a mobile-friendly website. But I also wanted to save my partner from learning how a completely different, somewhat cumbersome app works to access the lights and switches.

Conveniently, Home Assistant isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. Of course, you can use it to take the big tech companies out of your smart home and design your own dashboard. But you can also use it as a gateway between cluttered, non-HomeKit-friendly gadgets and Apple’s Home system. Alternatively, you can switch between the two for more control or easier access.

Let’s dive into how Home Assistant can help HomeKit find every device in your home for free, even those it doesn’t officially support. It can also connect Google and Amazon’s apps and assistants to rare devices they don’t support, albeit for $5 a month (but also supports Home Assistant development).

One note before diving in: If you only use Apple devices to control your smart home devices, you only care about HomeKit compatibility, and you have a spare Raspberry Pi, HomeBridge is another solution. It’s more limited in scope than Home Assistant, but that might be a plus for some.

Keep your home organized

Home Assistant setup, pre-organized.
enlarge / Home Assistant setup, pre-organized.

First, you need to get Home Assistant up and running and connected to your device. Walking you through the process is beyond our scope, but there are many resources you can consult.from The Official Guide to Home Assistant Get the system running on a Pi, NUC, NAS, always-on system, Docker container, or virtual machine. Basically, a home assistant can live on any little computer that can be turned on all the time.

Once Home Assistant is running, add as many devices and services as you can in your home (called “integrations” in Home Assistant) to the ones you want to access through your phone or speaker.If you hit a wall, home assistant subsection, forumand Discord A great place to look for troubleshooting tips.I found out a lot about Kirill Peyansky’s Blogalso.

If you looked at Home Assistant and couldn’t find the integration for one of your devices, consider installing Home Assistant Community Store (HACS), A summary of integrations and other add-ons maintained by the unofficial community. Search (in the upper right corner of the HACS page) to see if your device or brand is available.

Home Assistant Community Store (HACS), the place to find the wackiest gadgets (and Nest Protects) you own.
enlarge / Home Assistant Community Store (HACS), the place to find the wackiest gadgets (and Nest Protects) you own.

Some HACS integrations may require more work to configure.I had to build a Mosquitto Messaging Broker Access a friend’s circular path light on his Home Assistant settings. For some devices (usually cheaper off-brand devices), you might register an API key on a little-known company’s developer portal. You can decide if the extra step is worth pulling down to access these gadgets right away on your phone.

If you’re already running Home Assistant and connected to everything, and you want to add a HomeKit bridge, you have a special task: GeGet rid of as many old, redundant or unresponsive devices as possible. Go to Settings, Devices & Services, then the Entities tab and sort by status to see what is no longer connecting or responding. When you connect Home Assistant to HomeKit, Google or Alexa, the server sends the entire device class, whether they are duplicates or unresponsive. Especially on HomeKit, it’s annoying to delete invalid or duplicate entries, and the Home app can get you into trouble until you configure your device.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.