Go Beyond “Hey Siri” with Home App Automations

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.

For me, the best form of automation occurs without me having to say anything or clicking or tapping a button to trigger an action. And that’s where the power of setting up time and location automations in Apple’s Home app come in.

In my home I’ve automated a few lamps, an office fan, and my 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 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 it 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 the connection.

How to Create Home App Automations

Once you’ve set up your devices and had fun with “Hey Siri” voice triggers, you can now go beyond the voice commands and set up time and location triggers.


To illustrate the steps for this tutorial, I produced screenshots from the macOS Home app, but it works the same way on the iOS Home app.

1.

Open Home and click on File > Add Automation, or you click on the + button on the top-right side of the application.

2.

Now choose a 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 toggled.

3.

Next, choose the accessory that you want to trigger if you have more than one device added to the Home app.

4.

Click the Next button, and then click on the device button for it to Turn On or Turn Off at the specified time. Note: you will have to set up two automations for toggling the device on or off 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 the selected accessory to remain on after it’s triggered. 

For instance, you can have a coffee pot triggered on at a specific time, and then set it to trigger off in 10 minutes after it is triggered on. 


You can toggle a device off for up to 60 minutes.


If you want a longer time than an hour, then you will need to create a new automation.

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How to Create a Location Trigger in Home App

In the case of the Home app, the location trigger is based on you or members of your family leaving from or arriving at your home or another set location. The steps for setting up a location trigger are similar to setting a time trigger. 


I’ve set up a trigger to turn off my office lamp when I leave home during the evening. The lamp is set to automatically turn on at 7:45pm and turn off at 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 the “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

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.


Conclusion

“Hey Siri” is definitely a major advancement for how we interact with our computers, iOS devices and supporting accessories, but in the long run we should become less and less reliant on 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 versus location and time triggers for your daily activities. 

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