Get to Know HomeKit for Your iPad - dummies

By Jesse Feiler

HomeKit is a database that’s built into iOS 10 as well as an app (called “Home”) that’s installed on your iPad along with iOS 10. Together, the database and app let you automate your home. For that you need three things:

  • Home. That’s your home, be it a house, a condo, an apartment, or a tent (equipped with power and Wi-Fi). You can actually have several homes inside HomeKit (maybe a weekend home and another home if you’re lucky).
  • Room. A home contains rooms. Most of the time these are the rooms you live in every day, but you can create special “rooms” such as a dining area within a main room. To get started, just think about guiding a friend through your home: What are the rooms you would point out?
  • Accessories. These are Wi-Fi-enabled devices such as light bulbs, a thermostat, door and window locks, a garage door opener, or a smoke alarm. Each accessory has its own power supply and is connected to your Wi-Fi network. Note that if you’re using Wi-Fi-enabled light bulbs, a light fixture with three bulbs in it is three accessories.

HomeKit relies on one device in your home being on all the time and connected to the Internet. For many people, that’s an Apple TV that is on your local Wi-Fi connection. It can also be an iPad (even an old one) that you keep running and plugged in. There is a very minimal amount of setup work the first time you launch Home on your iPad. Just follow the directions on the screen.