You can tell from the numerous improvements iOS 11 brings to HomeKit that the standard has evolved into a core component of Apple’s smartphone operating system. Bluetooth-based accessories respond much quicker to user commands, and automation becomes much more powerful through presence detection and refined options for timers and conditions. Let’s take a look at the most significant changes.
Enjoy quicker status updates for Bluetooth accessories
iOS 11 enables HomeKit to process status changes of Bluetooth accessories much faster than before. Users of Eve Energy and other Eve accessories will notice this improved responsiveness immediately after updating their devices to iOS 11 and tvOS 11. Moreover, soon after iOS 11 launches, Elgato will publish firmware updates for certain sensor-based accessories (namely Eve Motion, Eve Door & Window, and Eve Light Switch), which will enable user commands and automation to be processed with minimal delay. Combined with iOS enhancements, Elgato’s firmware updates will benefit all respective Eve products, regardless of their purchase dates and product revisions etc.
Discover HomeKit’s new features
Apple has invested a great deal of effort in refining timers, triggers and conditions, all of which expand the versatility of HomeKit-enabled accessories. Below you’ll find a few examples and instructions to implement them using the Home app.
Please note: Automation requires a home hub in the form of an Apple TV (fourth generation), an iPad with iOS 11, or the upcoming HomePod.
Automation based on occupant arrivals
There’s a new option in the Home app’s automation section called, When People Arrive, which enables the activation of a scene when either the home owner or an invited guest arrives home.
Under When you can choose between two triggers: Anyone Arrives and The First Person Arrives. Tap the info button to select which person’s arrival should serve as a trigger.
Example: Heat the house to 22 degrees when the first person arrives.
If you have multiple homes, select the applicable one in Location. The Time option lets you refine your rule further by setting active and idle times (for example, become active 15 minutes before sunrise, become idle 30 minutes after sunset). The Specific times option lets you pick exact times, such as 9 AM to 10 PM.
Automation based on occupant departures
The When People Leave option follows the same principles. A possible scenario: Reduce heating to 18 degrees when the last person leaves. In iOS 11, HomeKit can determine who’s at home and who’s away, which significantly enhances personal automation configurations.
Combine timers and user presence
Timers also get smarter. In iOS 10, the Home app was capable of scheduling actions based on specific times, or at sunrise and sunset. In iOS 11, HomeKit still supports times relative to the sun’s position, like 30 minutes after sunset. But now, you can set a timer to only activate if people are present or absent. Example: Turn on the floor lamp in the family room 30 minutes after sunset, but only if I am home.
Control devices and use sensors
Under An Accessory is Controlled, HomeKit-enabled accessories – such as Eve Energy and Eve Door & Window – can already be used as triggers. The automation is triggered by a status change when, for example, a door or window is closed or opened, or a socket is switched on or off. Now, in iOS 11, the user also has the option to restrict execution according to times and people. Example: When the living room door is opened between sunset and sunrise, turn on the entertainment system, but only if I’m home.
The use of sensors such as Eve Motion is analogous, When motion is discovered …
Run scenes for a limited time
Thanks to iOS 11, scenes can finally be activated according to time references, e.g. Switch on the light in the corridor – for 5 minutes at sunrise on weekdays – when opening a door equipped with Eve Door & Window. You can use Home to create scenes that are only activated at a certain time, such as in the evening, during the day or specific periods of time. Example: Turn on the hallway light when the first user arrives home, but only between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Time conditions associated with daytime and nighttime can be used relative to sunrise and sunset. For example: If the user leaves the house during the day between 30 minutes after sunrise and 15 minutes after sunset, turn off all lights.
Time-limited scene with expiration and restricted HomeKit notifications
With iOS 11, scenes can be automatically deactivated after a fixed duration. This allows you to create a scene that will turn off lights after 10 minutes: Turn on the floor light for 10 minutes when the first user arrives home, but only between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Furthermore, until now, some HomeKit-enabled accessories (including Eve Door and Window, and Eve Motion) sent notifications every time a door was opened or closed, or whenever motion was detected. With iOS 11, you can finally choose to receive notifications only when you’re out of the house, and only at specific times.
Home and Eve
As of now, the aforementioned functions and many more can be tested across all Eve accessories. Bear in mind, though, that Apple’s Home app is required to configure most of our scenarios.
As was the case when iOS 10 was released last year, Elgato will again issue firmware updates and an updated version of Eve – free of charge – shortly after the official iOS 11 launch.