HomeKit Weekly: Signals for HomeKit lets you communicate with your family without shouting

One of the headline features of the HomePod mini is the new intercom system where you can send messages to different rooms in the house. Intercom will work across HomePods, as well as iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. As much as I am looking forward to trying out the intercom system, as a dad of three, I need less noise in our house, so I am really enjoying using Signals for HomeKit.

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HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.

Signals for HomeKit allows you to alert your family that it’s time for dinner, time for bed, or really anything using only HomeKit. Signals works with HomeKit bulbs or outlet adaptors with lights attached. Normally, when it’s time for dinner, you’d have to yell at your family to come to the dinner table. With Signals, you simply run a command that makes the bulbs flash a certain color. You can create another Signal to let your kids know when it’s time to leave for school by flashing a bulb blue.

Signals is designed to take advantage of the smart lights you already have, and use them as a communication feature in the home.  With a single tap, you can flash any combination of lights in the house, immediately getting their attention – couple it with a text, and you’ll know they got the message.

Signals can be triggered in the app, using Siri Shortcuts, and even right from your home screen with the iOS 14 widgets, so it’s extremely simple to trigger a command to inform your family of something.

Lighting effects included in Signals are flash, hold, and pulse. The flash function will slowly fade a particular light in and out. The hold function will show a solid color for a preset time, and then return to the original color. Pulse is simply a flash but in a much faster pattern. In my house, we always use the pulse to get everyone’s attention that dinner’s ready since our kids are younger.

Signals has robust Shortcuts support, it’s easy to customize them even further. You could create the ‘time to go’ Signal mentioned, and then modify the Siri Shortcut to send a ‘Let’s Go’ text to everyone in your house.

I’ve really enjoyed using Signals since the new version 2 has been released. It’s a great addition to HomeKit that I could see Apple building into the Home app in the future. Version 2.0 also included a new iPad version, and a Mac Catalyst version is coming soon.

Signals is a free app on the App Store, and there is a $4.99 in-app purchase to unlock the ability to create Signals. If you’re looking for a way to mimic Apple’s new intercom function without making noise in every room of your house, check out Signals for HomeKit.

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