How to Control House Lights With Your iPhone

Turn your lights off and on with Siri

Two young women lying on a bed. Lights at the foot of the bed.

Mark Mawson/Getty Images

From setting a mood to making it seem like you’re at home when you’re not, smart lights are great for whole number of reasons. But what makes them really great is how easy they are to operate using Siri on your iPhone.

How to Control Your Lights With iPhone and Siri

Lots of smart lights work with Apple’s IoT platform HomeKit, including Lifx, Philips Hue, and more. While they all offer their own iOS apps, it’s often more convenient to use your voice to turn lights on or off.

  1. Ensure your lights are connected to Apple’s HomeKit platform.

  2. Next, make sure Siri is active on your your iPhone. Open Settings, scroll down and tap Siri & Search.

  3. You have a few options here: You can choose to have Siri always listening for the "Hey Siri" wake phrase, or choose to activate it via a long press on the side button (the home button on older iPhones). Tap the toggles next to the options you want; green indicates they're active.

  4. Activate Siri and say, "Turn on the lights."

    Screenshot showing how to turn on Siri and activate it.
  5. If you have multiple smart lights or lights set up in different rooms, you can be more specific with your request. For example, you can say, "Turn on the living room lights."

  6. If you have color smart lights, you can also ask Siri to set those lights to a specific hue. For example, you can say, "Turn set the kitchen lights to green."

  7. To turn off lights, simply activate Siri and say, "Turn off the lights."

    Screenshot showing how to turn on lights using Siri.
  8. You can also specify your request by saying which lights or room you want to turn off. For example, you can say, "Turn off the bathroom light."

How to Use Siri to Activate Smart Light Scenes

Using the Home app and Shortcuts, you can use Siri to turn on multiple lights without having to request them all individually. Here's how.

  1. Open the Home app.

  2. Tap the Plus (+).

  3. Tap Add Scene.

  4. You now have the option to create a suggested Scene or a custom one. For this example, we're going to use Arrive Home as our template. Tap Arrive Home.

    Screenshot showing how to turn create HomeKit scenes.
  5. The Scene will display all available accessories including all your smart lights. For this Scene, it recommends turning on all available lights at 70% brightness when you get home.

  6. You can customize this array by disabling the lights you don't want to activate. To do this, just tap the lights you want the Scene to ignore and they'll be greyed out.

  7. You can also adjust the brightness at which individual lights come on when the Scene is activated.

    • To do this on an iPhone with 3D Touch, press firmly until the brightness control appears. Slide up and down to adjust the brightness.
    • On an iPhone without 3D Touch, press and hold until the brightness control appears. Slide up and down to adjust the brightness.
    Screenshot showing how to set light brightness presets via HomeKit.
  8. Once set, you'll see the lights that are set up and their predetermined brightness levels.

  9. Tap Done to finalize your scene.

  10. On the main Home screen, you'll now see an Arrive Home listed as a Favorite Scene. Tap it once to run it.

    Screenshot showing how to setup a new scene in HomeKit.
  11. Exit the Home app, open Settings, then scroll down and tap Siri & Search.

  12. Tap All Shortcuts.

  13. Scroll down until you see the suggested shortcuts for Home. Tap Run Arrive Home.

    Screenshot showing how to turn on activate HomeKit scenes via Siri Shortcuts.
  14. You will now be asked to record a Siri launch phrase to run the Scene. Tap the red record icon to record your phrase.

  15. Record your launch phrase.

    You can record any phrase you like, but to keep things simple, try going with "Run arrive home."

  16. Once you've recorded your launch phrase and are satisfied, tap Done.

    Screenshot showing how to record a HomeKit Shortcut.
  17. Launch Siri and say the trigger phrase. In this instance, you'd say, "Run arrive home."

  18. You'll see that Siri has gotten it right and activated the Scene.

  19. That's it! You've got Siri running Scenes, allowing you to activate a custom light set up.