How to Add an Accessory to HomeKit on Your iPad

By Jesse Feiler

Here’s how to set up an accessory in HomeKit on your iPad. The accessory in question is an iDevices Switch. Currently, it sells for $49.95. The iDevices switch is two devices in one: It contains a night light as well as a regular plug into which you can plug lamps, fans, heaters, or other devices. The steps here work the same way for any accessory.

If you follow these directions, you’ll set the iDevices Switch up in the default home and room that come with Home. You can rename them later.

The only part of setting up HomeKit that may be a bit tricky is connecting third-party accessories such as bulbs and thermostats to the HomeKit network. Because it’s all wireless, you may need to try it a couple of times. Take your time and remember that you’re dealing with a network. While you’re setting things up, if a device like a bulb doesn’t respond immediately, give it some time and try again. The old turn-it-off-and-turn-it-on-again routine may solve several problems, particularly if you pause between off and on.

  1. Tap Home on your iPad to open the app (it comes with iOS 10).

    You’ll see the view shown here. (If you have never run it before or have not set up your iCloud account, you’ll be prompted to do so, and the view may look a little different.
    ipad-for-seniors-9e-homekit-home

  2. Power on your new accessory. Make sure it is fairly close to your iPad.

    For the next steps, it will use the short-range Bluetooth communication technology so keep it within about 10 meters (32.8 ft.) of your iPad. This is just for the initial discover step — you’ll add it to Wi-Fi in Step 4.

  3. Tap + in the upper right to add a new scene or accessory.
    ipad-for-seniors-9e-add-accessory
  4. Tap Add Accessory.

If you choose to add a new accessory, you should see it on the next screen.

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If you don’t see it, there are several reasons and several solutions to try (in this order):

  1. The accessory must be powered on (not just plugged in), and it should be near your iPad.

    Once it is discovered, you can move it or move your iPad as long as both are still on your Wi-Fi network.

  2. The accessory might need a minute or two to power on and connect to the network.

    So Step 2 is: Have patience and consider a cup of coffee or tea.

  3. Some accessories connect to what is called a bridge — a hub such as one from Philips or Lutron.

    In those cases, the accessories are set up for the hub using the instructions that come with the hub and accessory. Then, the hub itself is connected to HomeKit. If you move your iPad close to the hub, it often recognizes the hub as an accessory, and you’re ready to go.

  4. You may need to reset the accessory and/or the hub.
  5. If all else fails, consult the documentation for the accessory and/or the hub

    In this case, you might find helpful advice on the Internet or on support.apple.com. If there is something like support.yourhubmanufacturer.com, try that, too.

  6. Once the accessory is located, you’ll be prompted to add it to your network.
    ipad-for-seniors-9e-add-accessory-to-network

    Tap Allow.

  7. You’ll be prompted to add the new accessory to your home. Tap the accessory (if you have several new accessories, tap the one you want to add).
    ipad-for-seniors-9e-choose-accessory
  8. You may be prompted to enter the HomeKit code from the device or its packaging.

    If so, do so either manually or by positioning the code from the device or packaging in the iPad frame. (Note that as the camera focuses, the code will appear blurry, but it will be adjusted automatically. If it isn’t, tap Enter Code Manually and do so.)
    ipad-for-seniors-9e-homekit-code

  9. After you have verified the code, you can complete the add process.

    Tap Identify Accessory to flash its light (or beep depending on the accessory) so that you’re sure which one you’re working with.
    ipad-for-seniors-9e-identify-accessory

  10. Tap the accessory name to change it with the keyboard.
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  11. Tap Location to choose another location if you want.
  12. Tap Done.

    The new accessory will appear on your home screen. The other rooms and scenes will be any that you have created. Tap the new accessory to turn it on or off. With the iDevices Switch, you’ll see the night light go on and off. If you plug in a fan or lamp, you’ll see it go on or off as you tap the switch (remember, you have two accessories in the iDevices Switch).
    ipad-for-seniors-9e-added-accessory