Ever since Apple launched its own smart platform HomeKit in 2014, and updated it with the release of iOS 10 in 2016, it's had to compete with the Alexa and Google Assistants of the world for the loyalty of smart home owners across the world. However, those who rely on iPhones and Macs know the quality and reliability of everything the company touches, and so have embraced the technology.
Others may wonder which devices actually work with HomeKit, and which only support other platforms. It's no use expecting a Ring doorbell to work with your HomePod Mini, for example.
This article will run down which smart home gadgets and tools are compatible with HomeKit, and so will work with Siri and Apple smart speaker voice control. Ranging from smart lighting and plugs to video doorbells and security cameras, there's no shortage of choice.
HomeKit Smart Speakers
The best smart speakers are the element of the smart home that seems to be getting the fastest integration into people's everyday lives. They are often the element that unifies a smart home, allowing you to talk to your digital assistant and request a light dimmed, a radiator heated or a door locked.
Unsurprisingly, only one smart speaker is compatible with HomeKit, and it's Apple's own HomePod Mini. This was originally a more compact version of the company's first smart speaker - the HomePod - but the larger model has now been discontinued.
There have since been rumors of a brand new HomePod release, so keep your eyes peeled.
HomeKit Smart Thermostats
Smart internet-connected thermostats are one of the most popular parts of a smart home because of their ability to save time, money, and energy, and HomeKit users don't have to miss out. Unfortunately, market leaders like Nest don't have HomeKit support, but other great options exist.
Brands like Honeywell and ecobee, for example, offer a range of the best smart thermostat options that are completely compatible with HomeKit. Some come with smart room sensors to ensure you're only heating and cooling rooms you need to, and there are also extras like geofencing and smart radiator dials.
HomeKit Smart Lighting
The best smart lightbulbs are an essential part of any self-respecting smart home setup with the ability to change color, turn on and off with a pre-planned schedule, and even dim to suit your mood.
There's something immensely satisfying about turning your lights off with your voice, you can use them as a burglary deterrent by having them come on while you're away, and you get the added benefit of never having to worry if you've left a light on.
There are quite a number of smart lightbulbs on the market now, with more getting added to the list of HomeKit-connected products regularly. But leading the pack are the likes of Philips Hue, LIFX, and Nanoleaf, which all have their own selling point.
Nanoleaf Shapes, for example, allow you to create interesting patterns in your home, and something like Twinkly string lights bring smarts to something previously relegated to holiday decorations. Philips Hue and LIFX, meanwhile, offer total control over your mood lighting.
Just make sure that you buy the correct bulb for your region and fitting type.
HomeKit Smart Switches
If you want to make your lighting smart without changing all of your bulbs, you can change your light switches for the best smart switches and then control your lights from your phone or with your voice.
Moreover, because all your devices are connected using HomeKit, you can program your switches, so they control far more than just your lights. In short, smart dimmer switches like those from Philips, Lutron, WeMo, or ecobee, give you more control over your lighting, whether you've invested in smart bulbs or not.
HomeKit Smart Plugs & Outlets
The range of products that are becoming 'smart' seems to be growing every week, but undoubtedly you aren't going to want to replace everything in your home, and there are certain products that will take a long time before they make the switch, if ever.
That means some products with the highest 'Did I leave that on?' factor are frustratingly left behind. Well, smart plug outlets can help you control your more antiquated technology using your phone by switching them off at the wall.
This not only means no more leaving your iron on when you're running late for work, but also that you can schedule lamps to come on at specific times, and stop your TV from running up your power bill on standby mode.
HomeKit Smart Locks
The best smart locks can keep your home safer and make the process of leaving and coming home much more convenient. Ever been struggling with shopping bags and wish the door would open itself?
You might be hesitant to entrust your home's security to a smart connected device, but HomeKit certification requires security to be built into the hardware of the device itself. So long as your smart lock has the stamp of approval from Apple you know that the data it's sending is end-to-end encrypted, which should prevent anyone from hacking your front door.
If you do decide to invest in a smart lock you'll find it has a number of advantages, from being able to gain entry to your house using your phone, assigning 'guest keys' to friends, and even remotely letting people into your house.
HomeKit Smart Doorbells
Distinct from smart locks, smart doorbells are (you guessed it) doorbells with smarts. So, you may be thinking, 'How can you make a doorbell smart? You press a button, and it rings.' Well, it turns out that the humble doorbell has been distinctly lacking in some features you never knew you needed.
As well as the button, there is usually a camera and a speaker in the unit too. This means you can use your smartphone to see who's at your front door from the comfort of your couch or even at the office. And with that handy speaker, you can use the doorbell as a tannoy to tell the delivery driver that you're happy for the package to be left with a neighbor.
Most come with the option to record as well, meaning if you're uncertain about a caller, you have a record of them, and if you're trying to figure out who's ringing your doorbell and running away, wonder no longer.
Sadly, HomeKit's compatibility with leading smart doorbells from the likes of Ring and Google remains lacking to this day. There are a few brands offering Apple compatibility, though, including big names like Logitech and Netatmo.
HomeKit Security Cameras
As with smart doorbells, brands like Ring and Nest are out of the running if you want the best home security camera with HomeKit compatibility. But all is not lost, as there is a lot of choice outside of these companies. Arlo cameras, for example, are compatible with Apple's platform, as well as eufy, ecobee, and Eve.
Security cameras might seem like overkill to some, but they're actually a fantastic way of keeping an eye on what's happening both inside and outside your home whenever you want. Like video doorbells, they allow you to see a live view of your chosen area in addition to sending alerts and recording video.