One of the great benefits of the Apple Home app is the ability to create Automations. Automations, which require you to have a HomePod or latest generation Apple TV (4K or 4th Generation), allow you to setup automatic changes in smart home accessories. These can be based on when you are home or you leave home, or the time of day. These are similar to Scenes which you can create in the Apple Home app, but give you a bit more control.
In this How To, I am going to walk you through how to setup an automation in the Home app. Specifically, I’m going to show how you can setup one to turn lights on or off at a give time of the morning or evening. It is a pretty painless process and a handy way to control your smart home accessories.
First some general housekeeping. In order to setup automations in the Apple Home app, you need to have an Apple HomePod, Apple TV 4K, Apple TV 4th Generation, or an iPad at home. If you decide to use an iPad, that iPad has to stay at home in order for things to work properly as the iPad effectively become a HomeKit remote bridge for you to access. Next, make sure the devices you are going to use are running the latest version of iOS to assure things work properly.
Right, let’s get to it. First, open up the Home app on your iPhone or iPad. At the bottom, tap on the Automation tab where you should see a screen with a big orange button “Create new Automation”.
Tab that button and you will be brought to a list of the types of automations you can do. There are four to chose from:
- People Arrive (when you arrive home)
- People Leave (when you leave home)
- A Time of Day Occurs (an action happens a certain time on selected days)
- An Accessory is Controlled (sets an action for a specific accessory)
For this How To, I’m going to focus on the A Time of Day Occurs action but the principles here are pretty much the same across all of them. In my case, I like to have my office desk lamp and office floor lamp come on at 6:00 am and turn off at 9:00 pm. That is the use case I will be showing in this How To.
In my example, I tapped the A Time of Day Occurs option which brings me to the details of setting that one up. First, I need to indicate when this action will happen. I can have it happen at sunrise, sunset, or a specific time. Second, I need to select the days of the week that I want this to happen. In my example below, I’ve selected a Time of Day of 6:00 am every day of the week. Finally, you can select People as part of this as well. This would be if you want this action to happen when you are home. For example, I can set this up to not happen when I’m not home.
With the time set, tap Next to select the devices you want to be a part of this automation. In my case, I’ve selected both of the lamps in my office to turn on. If you have a scene created, you can also add that to this automation here.
Once you’ve selected your devices, tap Next. You are done. You will be shown your automation and it will go into effect immediately once you tap Done.
Keep in mind that just because you setup an automation doesn’t mean you can’t use Siri commands. In my example, I can still say, “Hey Siri, turn off the office lights” anytime I want. Automations just make it so I don’t have to do that if I don’t want to do so.
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