The best ways to control your HomeKit smart home: from your TV to your Apple Watch

Apple HomeKit UI on Mac, Apple Watch and iPhone
(Image credit: Apple)

If you want to automate your home or control devices whilst you're out, then today is the day for making this happen.

Many updates to how HomeKit looks and functions were announced at WWDC 2022, and the latest Apple event, titled 'Far Out', revealed that family sharing will now be available on the Apple Watch. With these changes, what are the best ways to control your Apple-led smart home?

We lay out the various options below, helping you to decide which might be best for you and your home. Once you've finished scrolling through, check out our best smart home devices which showcases even more of the great products that are compatible with Apple HomeKit.

HomeKit Hubs

These devices operate as central hubs for your HomeKit account, bringing together your devices and ensuring everything works smoothly across the home. 

They should always be connected to the Wi-Fi and powered on, to reduce the chance of downtime for everything connected to it.

Apple HomePod Mini

(Image credit: Future)

Apple HomePod Mini

When dealing with your smart home, your first instinct may be to opt for a smart speaker. After all, your Apple HomePod Mini isn't just a part of your set-up but also a way of controlling everything from the smart lighting and plugs to smart doorbells and security cameras inside and outside the home.

Despite competitors Google and Amazon's Alexa offering a whole range of the best smart speakers and displays, Apple has gone for simplicity by offering just one. After quietly discontinuing the original HomePod in 2021, rumors of an updated mini model have been rampant. However, things have remained quiet.

So, until the HomePod Mini 2 is announced, users will need to rely on the existing speaker for their HomeKit needs. It's a particularly good choice for those who prefer voice commands to screens.

Apple TV

One of the more affordable options for your smart home hub, an Apple TV is a multi-purpose device for your lounge that also happens to connect all of your smart devices across the home. Be aware, however, that you won't be able to amend or create new routines from Apple TV - it is simply a way to access existing routines and communicate with Siri.

The tvOS Control Centre on the big screen will mean that you can activate HomeKit accessories and view Home cameras that you have set up on the app. You can receive notifications when motion is detected at the front door, for example. You can also view multiple cameras at the same time, control an accessory attached to the room you're viewing and watch live footage in Picture in Picture mode.

Using Siri is a good option for navigating to what you want to view quickly. Just press and hold down the Siri button on the remote before voice commanding what you want to happen. You can also just use the TV remote as a remote if you prefer to flick through the layers to get to your end goal.

A person looking at an iPad while surrounded by office supplies

(Image credit: Shutterstock / OPOLJA)


Sometimes you just need a screen. If you want to change your smart home's settings or finesse automation, it could be much easier to reach for your tablet. While the iPhone doesn't work as a hub itself, the iPad serves multiple purposes by having the option to be a Home Hub for compatible accessories or appliances in the home.

You just need to navigate to Settings > Home > Use this iPad as a Home Hub.

It's the closest thing to a smart display that Apple currently offers, as you have the option to place the iPad in a fixed location or carry it around from room to room for constant access. The catch though, however, is that you can not leave the house with it and you'll need to stay connect to Wi-Fi at all times. It's also not the most responsive out of the HomePod or Apple TV, with some users reporting Wi-Fi signal drop outs which obviously isn't ideal.

Still, we think it is a good option if you already have an iPad and only have a few compatible products around the home. It'll help to keep costs down; to use what you already have if that's a thing on your mind right now.

We have heard rumors that with the launch of iOS 16 the iPad will no longer be supported as a Home Hub. As news seeps through we'll update this article of just what is happening with the potential pulling.

More ways to control HomeKit

HomeKit UI on iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)


If you don't currently have an iPhone but want to use Apple's HomeKit, then we would recommend swapping out your Android. That's because, for better or worse, Apple products will always work best with other Apple products, and, to take full advantage of things like widgets, you'll want as much compatibility as possible.

Though you can't use HomeKit with an iPhone alone (you will need one of the HomeKit hubs listed above), it's one of the best ways to get a deep look at your system, fine-tune the details, and set up rules and automation.

Apple Watch

Alongside the iPhone, your Apple Watch is a great way of controlling your smart home whether you're home or away. We've had a long, hard think to decide is an Apple watch worth it and what we've landed on is 'Yes' it is worth if if you like to receive notifications about calls, message, meetings and, you guessed it, when HomeKit tasks are complete.

In the Home app on your Apple watch you'll be able to view relevant, connected HomeKit products to suit a particular time in the day. For example, a coffee maker will replace a bedroom light in the morning Staying the app on your watch you'll also be able to control the connected accessories with a few taps on the screen.

Home security cameras, such as Arlo, will also send audio and motion notifications to your Apple Watch and you can control it, too. If you are an Arlo Smart subscriber you can receive image previews and a descriptions direct to the device on your wrist of what caused the camera to start recording.


If you have a pair of Beats Fit Pro, Beats Studio Buds, Powerbeats (2020 model), Powerbeats Pro or Sole Pro then the good news is that you can control your home when you are listing to the top tunes of the day.

All of those Beats headphones mentioned are compatible with Siri so you can use your voice to control when you want the fan turned on after a run, or if want to switch on the downstairs light after spending the day in the bedroom study.

You just need to say the magic words: "Hey Siri" and follow with the action that you would like to happen. You will still need to have a homehub set up though, so don't go buying a set of Beats expecting to control all the appliances and lights in the home because it won't work - not all accessories are compatible, any way.

Caroline Preece
Freelance Contributor

Caroline is a freelance contributor for TechRadar, working primarily across the smart home and appliances channels. Currently the smart home editor for Livingetc and other homes titles, she has a decade of experience in technology journalism and loves nothing more than using whatever knowledge she has gained to help herself and others make better decisions about what devices to bring into their home.