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

HomeKit Weekly Stories May 28, 2021

Aqara M2
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I’ve been using the original Aqara hub in my home for the better part of a year. I’ve done a complete reversal on my opinion on the use of hubs between devices and HomeKit. In my early days of using HomeKit, I preferred devices that worked on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth without using a hub. In practice, I’ve found that the devices attached to hubs are the most reliable in my HomeKit setup. I use the eufy base station in between my eufy cameras, a Philips hub to manage my entire hub setup, and then, of course, a Starling Home Hub to get my Nest products into HomeKit. I am not sure what’s the difference, but it might be the fact that these devices usually connect back to a device that’s hardwired into ethernet vs. directly over Wi-Fi. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been testing the Aqara M2 hub, and it’s a worthy addition to HomeKit.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories May 21, 2021

Eve HomeKit device Thread support
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Smart outlets are one of the simplest ways to start your smart home journey, and I’ve tried almost all of the ones that support HomeKit. With its new Thread support, the Eve Energy will become my go-to recommendation until other products add Thread supports.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories May 14, 2021

VOCOLinc MistFlow
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While it’s entering the humid months here in the southern United States, I am always on the lookout for new HomeKit devices to simplify my life. In the dryer months, my family uses humidifiers to keep our rooms from drying out at night. I recently acquired the VOCOlinc MistFlow smart humidifier for my HomeKit setup. Let’s dive into all it can do.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories May 7, 2021

Ecobee SmartCamera
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In the process of building a new house, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what I want to do camera-wise. I’ve even considered putting in Nest cameras outdoors (bridging to HomeKit via Starling Home Hub) and then HomeKit cameras indoors. As part of that process, I’ve been purchasing every HomeKit camera on the market, so this week, I am looking at the Ecobee SmartCamera as a potential option to build around.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories April 23, 2021

Netatmo Weather Station
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Before I became an adult, I rarely worried much about the weather. Now, I somewhat obsess over what’s happening and what will happen. After tornados ran through my town in 2020 (yes, a tornado during a pandemic), I especially watch the weather much closer in the spring. Dark Sky has been my weather app of choice with occasional use of Carrot Weather. Both apps are fantastic, but I am taking my weather monitoring to new levels by adding the Netatmo Weather Station into my HomeKit environment.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories April 16, 2021

VOCOlinc T Guard Smart Lock
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VOCOlinc is one of the best manufacturers of HomeKit products, and I’ve grown to appreciate their hardware quality and software quality. For the last few weeks, I’ve been testing the VOCOlinc T Guard Smart Lock to see how it works with HomeKit.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories April 2, 2021

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There’s been a lot of discussion about Apple’s decision to discontinue the original HomePod and its relation to what the future of Apple’s Home strategy will become. I highly recommend that you read Zac Hall’s piece on this topic. This week, I want to look at the positive aspects of where Apple is at with its Home strategy. After filling my house with HomePod minis, I’ve now discovered how essential having a voice-driven Home assistant in every room is for your home. Read on to learn why, despite having a lower-quality music speaker, the HomePod mini and HomeKit are the perfect match for each other.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories March 26, 2021

Eve Cam
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As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my wife and I purchased some land that I am starting to think through what some of the HomeKit setup I will end up having as I’ll install everything during construction instead of having to retrofit it. One of the things I am thinking through is cameras. There are several ways I could go. Part of me thinks I should stick with the eufyCam setup I have now, but then part of me wants to look at something hardwired to power like the Logi Circle View. To better prepare my decision-making, I am attempting to test all of the HomeKit cameras on the market to see what I want to include in our new house. This week, I am taking a look at the Eve Cam.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories March 19, 2021

Eve Motion Sensor
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When someone asks me why now is a great time to get into home automation and build out a smart home, I tell them that we’re finally at a place where you can build off of a platform instead of having to buy everything from a single vendor. A product from one company can create triggers to turn on products from other companies. For people in the Apple ecosystem, as long as you see the HomeKit logo, you know that you’ll be able to control it from the Home app and from Siri using your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or HomePod. This week, I want to look at the Eve motion sensor to show you why having motion sensors in all of your rooms is a key part of automating your smart home environment.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories March 12, 2021

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HomeKit Secure Video, in my opinion, is one of the prime examples of what makes Apple great and terrible at the same time. HomeKit Secure Video is the most secure way to record footage inside and outside your home, but it can also be one of the most frustrating Apple technologies at the same time. This week, I want to discuss how Apple can continue expanding HomeKit Secure Video to solve its problems while making it a better service at the same time. Let’s dive into what Apple can include in HomeKit Secure Video 2.0.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories March 5, 2021

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Spring will be here soon, which means it’s officially time to start thinking about the summer of iOS 15 and macOS 12 betas after WWDC. From my vantage point, HomeKit is at a real crossroads for Apple. It’s a platform that I have invested thousands of dollars in. Still, it’s time to take it to the next level with expanded product categories, increased automation with Machine Learning, and increased stability – particularly with HomeKit Secure Video. Here are some things I want to see in HomeKit with iOS 15.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories February 26, 2021

HomeKit Video
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A few weeks ago, my wife and I put a contract on a plot of land, so we’re looking to build a new house within the next year. Of course, HomeKit will be a significant part of it. I plan to rethink everything about my HomeKit environment for this new house and start from scratch from a software standpoint. Are you building a new home? Follow along with me to gain tips and tricks on creating the HomeKit environment during the home building process. Some of the products will be installed by the builder, but I will install others after moving into the home.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories February 19, 2021

Meross Dual Smart Plug
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HomeKit Smart plugs are one of the easiest ways to get started with smart home technology as they are usually low cost, easy to install, and work great with the lamps you already have in your home. A recent addition to my smart home environment is the Meross dual smart plug with HomeKit compatibility.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories February 12, 2021

HomeKit Video
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A few years ago, I told a few friends that I wasn’t planning to add security cameras to my house. After Apple announced HomeKit Secure Video (HKSV), my mind began to change. I have never been comfortable with security cameras that use third-party cameras, and my initial belief was repeatedly reinforced. Recently, BuzzFeed reported on an ADT employee accessing cameras inside customers’ homes. I want a video system where that’s not technically possible. With HKSV, we have that system. I now have too many cameras to use HomeKit Secure Video for all of them. It’s time for Apple to add a 10-camera HomeKit Secure Video option to the Apple One Premier bundle.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories February 5, 2021

Wemo WiFi Smart Outdoor Outlet
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One of the very first smart home products I purchased for my home was one of Belkin’s Wemo switches. Back before Apple had developed HomeKit, I was already envisioning a smart home. Up until now, there’s only been a single option for an outdoor HomeKit adapter, but late last year, Belkin released a new outdoor Wemo outlet that’s compatible with HomeKit.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories January 29, 2021

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Recently, I did a roundup of the best outdoor HomeKit cameras. I’ve personally been using the Eufy camera system for over a year as I love the picture quality, and I love how easy they are to install. What if you want all the benefits of the Eufy camera system without needing to worry about power? Eufy now has a solution for you with a new Eufy Solar Panel option for continuous charging of your Eufy cameras.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories January 22, 2021

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Integrating your cameras into HomeKit is one of the best ways to build up your smart home environment, but which cameras are the best? This week, I will give you all the information about the best HomeKit cameras for securing the outdoors of your home in 2021.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories January 15, 2021

Logitech Circle View
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There are multiple types of HomeKit cameras, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. I’ve previously reviewed the eufy outdoor cameras, and while I love them, they have to be charged once a year or so. If the opportunity to wire a camera is available, that’s a great option. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been testing the Logitech Circle View to cover part of my side yard, and it’s a fantastic HomeKit camera. Let’s dive into how it works with HomeKit.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories January 8, 2021

HomeKit Weekly
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Now that it’s 2021, many of us have goals and resolutions to accomplish this year. For some, it’s weight loss. For some, it’s to finally clean out the garage. When I think about HomeKit, I want one thing this year: an automated way to deal with the No Response error in HomeKit.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories January 1, 2021

VOCOlinc Flowerbud
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In my house, I always want everything to smell fresh. I am constantly lighting candles, spraying Febreze, and other types of air fresheners. With three small children running around our house, there is usually an odd smell from somewhere that I am trying to cover up. When I came across the VOCOlinc Flowerbud, I knew I had to try it as a way to automate the process. I know some people believe essential oils are as good as medicine, and while I am not going to debate that, I am more focused on providing a pleasing smell in the main area of my house.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories December 18, 2020

Adaptive lighting in HomeKit
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Adaptive lighting in HomeKit was one of the new features from Apple in iOS 14. While it took a while for manufacturers to begin rolling it out, I’ve finally been able to spend a few weeks with it. It’s another way that HomeKit is providing experiences to automate your life for the better.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories December 11, 2020

Philips Hue Play Lights
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Some HomeKit projects are about convenience, some are about security, and others are just for fun. The Philips Hue Play lights certainly fit in the last category of HomeKit products.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories December 4, 2020

VOCOlinc light strip
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One of the significant changes I’ve made to my HomeKit setup this fall is adding a “second home.” No, I didn’t buy a second home, but I added a new home in HomeKit at work. When the HomePod mini was announced, I took my full-size HomePod to work in favor of two of the HomePod minis at home. Once I added that HomePod, I started slowly taking a few HomeKit devices to work, and I have a full-blown HomeKit at work.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories November 27, 2020

HomeKit with Christmas lights
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It’s the Christmas season, so many of us are decorating our homes with Christmas trees, outdoor lighting, and other items to put our homes in the Christmas spirit. I’ve been using HomeKit to simplify the operation of our Christmas decorations for years, so read on for some tips, tricks, and essential gear to buy.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories November 20, 2020

Aqara G2H camera
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HomeKit cameras, for the longest time, were like Bigfoot. We heard all about them, but they were nowhere to be found. Now, there are countless options for integrating cameras into your HomeKit experience. One of the simplest options is the new Aqara G2H camera.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories November 13, 2020

HomeKit Surge Protector
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HomeKit outlets are an easy way to turn an existing appliance into one that works with your smart home setup. What if you need more than one? HomeKit surge protectors are the easiest way to turn multiple devices into ones that work with HomeKit. I’ve purchased a handful of them and now have my favorites, so read on if you want to learn about the best HomeKit surge protectors.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories November 6, 2020

HomeKit Eufy
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I’ve got quite the HomeKit set up at this point as I have over 50 devices on my Wi-Fi network at any given time. A few weeks ago, I woke up on a Tuesday morning with motion alerts on my eufy cameras. This alert is not uncommon as there is a neighborhood cat that frequently walks around our porch at night. Little did I know that once I checked the alerts, my day would get a lot more complicated. Read on to learn how HomeKit likely prevented my car from being stolen.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories October 30, 2020

Signals for HomeKit
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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 Stories October 23, 2020

HomeKit Bulbs
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Philips Hue is the gold standard of HomeKit bulbs, and I am delighted with the ones I own. They’re bright, rarely need to be rebooted to fix a disconnection, and offer many color combinations. On the other hand, they’re somewhat expensive since it requires a purchase of a hub. If you want a low-cost way to switch over to HomeKit bulbs, check out these two options.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories October 16, 2020

VOCOlinc light strip
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Over the summer, my school did a significant remodeling project, and as a result of it, I moved into a brand new office. One of the ways I decided to make it my own was to begin adding HomeKit products. Of course, I started with a HomePod as my HomeKit hub, and the very first product I added next was the VOCOlinc light strips.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories October 9, 2020

Eve Flare
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Now that it’s fall here in the US, my family is spending a lot of time outdoors at night. After bracing through the 90 degree days of August and the first half of September, we’re undoubtedly enjoying the cooler 70 degree days. One of my favorite things to do at night is come out to the screened porch and read something from Apple Books, listen to an audiobook on Prologue, or even watch some TV. One of the recent addition to my HomeKit setup is the Eve Flare, and it’s been a perfect addition to our porch.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories October 2, 2020

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HomeKit adds many benefits to a home, but oftentimes, it can handle mounting products on the wall, above the door, or even swapping out a doorbell. There are plenty of HomeKit projects that work well in apartments or homes you are renting, though. Read on to find out the best HomeKit products for apartments and rentals.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories September 25, 2020

Starling Home Hub
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The HomeKit doorbell market has turned into somewhat of a joke. Countless companies have announced support for them in the future, but very few have delivered it. Currently, Yobi and Robin ProLine are the only two options that are shipping. Countless others have announced upcoming products or upcoming firmware updates for existing products to add HomeKit compatibility, but very few companies have. The Yobi doorbell is a great option, but it lacks a way to record. Robin is a nice product, but it’s costly and requires power over ethernet to operate. What if I told you the most economical HomeKit doorbell was Nest?

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HomeKit Weekly Stories September 18, 2020

HOOBS
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I consider myself a technology enthusiast, but I am not someone who wants to maintain a complicated setup. I previously wrote about the Starling Home Hub and how it turned the Nest Homebridge project into a turnkey solution. This product is my ideal type of setup. It’s a turnkey solution that accomplishes something very technical. Homebridge is a growing platform, though. There are countless other projects going to make all of your smart home products HomeKit compatible. Suppose you want to take advantage of the growing Homebridge ecosystem (2,000 plugins) without the hassle. In that case, you’ll be delighted to hear that HOOBS is available as a Homebridge in a box setup.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories September 11, 2020

OneLink Smoke Detector
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After my experience installing the OneLink Safe and Sound, I decided to expand my OneLink setup by replacing another smoke detector with OneLink’s Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide detector.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories September 4, 2020

Hue Bulbs
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My family has never used overhead lights unless we have company over. We prefer natural light and lamps. A few years ago, I swapped out all of our bulbs to LED light bulbs, and I invested in HomeKit compatible outlet switches as a way to control them from the Home app, HomePod with Siri, and HomeKit automations. As part of my outdoor lighting project I did earlier this year, I invested in a Philips Hue Hub with the Hue outdoor floodlights. After a few months of using them, I decided that I was ready to begin converting my switched outlets to Hue bulbs.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories August 21, 2020

August Wi-Fi Smart Lock
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As someone who loves technology, it’s easy to get excited about new things. I love to tinker with the latest gadgets, but I know for those who aren’t into this stuff, that seems like a nightmare. My wife doesn’t get excited about new technology, though. As long as it makes her life easier, she’s content. She wants it to work. Right after Christmas of 2019, I purchased the 3rd generation August Smart Lock Pro. Since then we’ve absolutely loved every aspect of it. A few weeks ago, I decided to upgrade to the 4th generation August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. Read on to hear more about August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, and why it’s worth upgrading to the latest generation.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories August 14, 2020

Aqara Smart Home
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Aqara is a manufacturer that’s pretty new on my radar in terms of smart home support, so I was excited to get to use their devices and see how they work with HomeKit. This week, I want to take a look at the Aqara Smart Home Start Kit and the Aqara Water Sensor to see how easy the setup is, how to connect it to HomeKit, and how it works day-to-day.

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HomeKit Weekly Stories August 7, 2020

eufy pan and tilt
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After years of not much news around HomeKit cameras, it seems like we’re getting new cameras regularly now, and it’s great to see the products begin to finally mature. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been testing the new eufy Security 2K Indoor Cam Pan and Tilt camera. I also have been testing the eufy Security 2K Indoor Cam and recommend you check out Chance Miller’s review of the product as well to decide which one is best for you. expand full story

HomeKit Weekly Stories July 31, 2020

Apple HomeKit
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Because my entire home is filled with HomeKit products, I often forget that some people are getting started with HomeKit and other smart home platforms, so I wanted to take some time this week to explain some basics of how to get started with HomeKit and what products should be your first purchases. Read on to learn more about HomeKit, and what items should be your first purchases in your Homekit starter kit. expand full story

HomeKit Weekly Stories July 24, 2020

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I’ve written about my eufyCam setup in the past when considering HomeKit Secure Video. I have multiple outdoor cameras, the wired Eufy doorbell, and I am testing various indoor eufy cameras for an upcoming review. As you can see, I am all in on Eufy as my camera manufacturer. They are low cost, reliable, and work well with HomeKit. For my smart home needs, that is all I am looking for in a camera. I recently picked up a eufyCam 2 Pro to compare the quality to my existing cameras and expand my outdoor coverage. expand full story

HomeKit Weekly Stories July 17, 2020

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When you think of HomeKit enabled products, most people think of light switches, cameras, and door locks. Have you ever considered what an air purifier with HomeKit would look like in your home? I hadn’t until I tried the VOCOlinc PureFlow Air Purifier, but it’s confirmed my thinking that I want everything in my house to controlled with HomeKit. expand full story

HomeKit Weekly Stories July 10, 2020

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Door sensors are a central part of any security system. I’ve written about my experience with abode in the past, and I use its door sensors for my primary Homekit triggers with automations as well as security alerts for entry. Since abode is monitored, I know that if a door is opened while I am gone, I’ll get an alert. But what do you get if you only want a door sensor for HomeKit automations or want an unmonitored alarm for entry? The VOCOlinc door sensor will fit your needs nicely if that is what you’re looking for. expand full story

HomeKit Weekly Stories July 3, 2020

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I have been eyeing the OneLink Safe and Sound for a few months now, and I decided to pull the trigger a few weeks ago and see what it’s like in day to day use. My house is seven years old, so I’ll be looking to replace all of the smoke detectors in the next few years, so if I wanted to go for a smart home route, I wanted to have time to spread out the purchases. expand full story

HomeKit Weekly Stories June 26, 2020

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HomeKit excels as a platform because it allows you to tie together multiple products from different manufacturers across your home. This reality will enable you to use a motion sensor on one side of your house to trigger a light from a different manufacturer somewhere else in your home. My biggest complaint about HomeKit is that I have a string of third-party manufacturer’s apps on iPhone that are solely used for firmware updates. What should Apple do to fix this? expand full story

HomeKit Weekly Stories June 19, 2020

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When “HomeKit buttons” came out a few years ago, I initially laughed them off. My thought was if I wanted to press a physical button to turn on my lights, I’d use the regular light switch. That thought was before I aggressively expanded my HomeKit use cases. Like with anything related to smart homes, it’s not about tying an individual action to an automation, but rather tying devices together. While I love using Siri via HomePod to activate scenes, after thinking through our routines, I realized a physical button might make sense in our daily lives. Is the Eve Button a useful device for a HomeKit home? Let’s dig into what it can do. expand full story

HomeKit Weekly Stories June 12, 2020

homekit vacuums
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When I open the AmpliFi app on my iPhone, I see 50 devices. The majority of them are HomeKit enabled devices, and I’ve recently become obsessed with a product line that needs HomeKit compatibility. It’s led me to think about what I’d like to see added to Apple’s supported categories for HomeKit in the future. Would you buy a HomeKit vacuum? expand full story

HomeKit Weekly Stories June 5, 2020

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After I reviewed the eufyCam 2 and Netatmo cameras, I got several emails asking why I am so passionate about HomeKit Secure Video when it has had a somewhat of a buggy/slow rollout. Rather than respond to each person individually, I thought it would be better to write about why HomeKit Secure Video matters, and why I think it’s a fundamental part of the HomeKit experience. Before you invest in a home camera platform, you need to consider long term security. expand full story

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