When it comes of home automation gadgets, I’m not a fan of “Hey Siri,” though I’m glad she’s there anytime I send her commands. But for me, the best form of automation happens without me having to say anything or click or tap a button to trigger an action. And that’s where the power of time and location automation comes in.
In my home I’ve automated a few lamps, an office fan, and hot water pot in the kitchen, and it’s great that I don’t have to call out to Siri to trigger these appliances and accessories.
With Apple’s Home app, it’s fairly easy to set up time and location triggers that work based on your schedules and needs.
Any device and app that supports Apple’s Home Kit can be automated triggered in the Home app for iOS and the Mac. Currently I use the Wemo trigger for appliances, and LIFX light bulb. I think Wemo can finally connect with the Home app without using the Wemo bridge.
Adding Devices to Home App
If you’ve never added a device to the Home app, Apple makes very easy to do so with a simple scan of a bar code that’s included with a supporting accessory. From there you just walk through the steps to set up connection.
How to Create Home App Automations
Once you’ve set up your devices and had fun with “He Siri” voice triggers, you can now go beyond the voice commands and set up time and location triggers.
I’m going to use screenshots from the macOS Home app, but it works the same way on the iOS Home app.
Open Home and click on File > Add Automation, or you click on the + button on the top-right side of the application.
Now choose an automation trigger based on how you want it triggered. For example, the “Time of Day Occurs” is useful for turning lamps and kitchen appliances on and off at specified times.
Click or tap on the trigger and select the time and day that you want your device trigged.
Next, choose the accessory that you want to trigger if you have more than one device added to the Home app.
Click the Next button, and then click on the device button for it to Turn On and Turn Off at the specified time. Note: you will have to set up two automations for toggling the device off or on unless you set an automatic Turn Off time.
Note the Turn Off feature at the bottom of the window. It’s set to Never, but you can tap or click on the Never button and select how long you want to the selected accessory to remain on after it’s triggered.
So for instance, you trigger a coffee pot on and set it to trigger off in 10 minutes. You can toggle a device off for up to 60 minutes. If you want longer time than an hour, then you will need to create new automation using the steps I’m outlining to have the device or accessory turned off at a specified time.
How to Create a Location Trigger
In the case of the Home app, the location trigger is based on you or other connected members of your family leaving from or arriving at your home or another set location. The steps for setting a location trigger are similar to the time trigger.
I’ve set up a trigger to turn off my office lamp when I leave home during the evening. The lamp is triggered to automatically turn on at 7:45pm and turn off 10:30pm during the week days, but whenever I leave home in the evening, I want the lamp triggered off. I do the same for my office fan.
01 Start a New Automation
Start a new automation and select either “People Arrive” or “People Leave” trigger. Note, other people in your family don’t have to be connected to your device in order for it to work.
02 Select Your Location
Now select your location, which will typically be your home, but the location could be at your job or any other Wi-Fi enabled location.
03 Select the Time
Select the time you want the trigger to fire when you leave or arrive at the specified location.
04 Select the Device
Select the device(s) you want triggered and then click Done.
“Hey Siri” is definitely a major advancement with how to we interact with our computer, iOS devices and supporting accessories, but in the long run we should become less and less reliant on Siri voice commands. Our computer and mobile devices and accessories should trigger actions based on our daily habits, locations, and body movements. Let me know what you think about voice commands vs location and time triggers for your daily activities.