How to Make Your Home Smarter With Apple TV

Apple TV lets you get the most from your connected home

Eve Thermo from Elgato lets you control your radiator thermostat remotely using an iPhone and Apple TV.

Apple TV has a hidden talent: it will act as a relay point to enable you to securely control smart devices around your home.

Apple provides a framework for smart home devices called HomeKit. Devices that support HomeKit carry a special icon on the packaging and have been designed for use with iOS, so you can control these things using iPhones, iPads, the iPod touch and Apple TV. The snag when using HomeKit devices is that you can’t access them remotely unless you do have an Apple TV.

HomeKit devices

Examples of HomeKit-enabled devices include:

Philips Hue Ambiance

  • A smart iOS-controlled light bulb for around the home.

Canary all-in-one home security system

  • This provides a built-in 1080p HD camera, automatic motion detection, night vision, a 90+ dB siren, temperature/humidity/air quality monitoring, and intelligent notifications sent straight to your iOS device.

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt with Century Trim

  • Unlock your door using an iOS device, you can even use Siri

Eve Thermo

  • Simply replace your existing radiator valve with Eve Thermo, and forget about manually controlling your temperature – control it using HomeKit and an app.

How to control HomeKit with Apple TV

In most cases its pretty simple to setup new HomeKit devices to work with your iOS devices, just follow the manufacturers instructions. It’s a little different when you want to use your Apple TV as a hub, so in that case you’ll also need to follow these simple steps:

Update everything

Update all your iOS devices and your Apple TV (third or fourth edition).

Setup

  • When setting up your smart home kit (including any of the example products mentioned above) you’ll need to follow the manufacturers instructions and their accompanying app(s).
  • During setup the relevant app(s) will ask you if you wish sync/access with your Home Data. This is the moment when your device asks if you want it to join a larger ecosystem of connected devices now or in future.
  • Click OK.
  • You’ll be asked to choose the right “home” once you click OK – if this is your first HomeKit device you’ll need to create a new Home network, “My Crib”, for example.
  • HomeKit will save this new home profile in iCloud and you’ll be able to add more HomeKit-enabled devices to your network as you acquire them.

Extend

  • Now you’ll want to enable your new HomeKit network for remote access. To achieve this you must open Settings>HomeKit, select the name of your home HomeKit network and toggle the Allow Remote Access switch to green (on).

Connecting Apple TV

Now you’ll must get everything working with your Apple TV. Switch it on and check the iCloud account the TV is connected to is the same one as that you’ve linked HomeKit to. You can check this in System Settings>iCloud.

Once you set this up your Apple TV will become a gateway to controlling HomeKit equipment. What this means is that you’ll be able to use your iPhone or iPad and the app that accompanies the specific item of connected home kit to control that kit remotely, so you will be able to do things like this from wherever you happen to be:

  • Lock and unlock doors
  • Switch lights on or off
  • Switch on your central heating
  • Or sound your burglar alarm

    If your remote access isn't working, sign out of iCloud on your Apple TV, then sign back in. To sign in, go to Settings > Accounts > iCloud. Don’t forget that once you group your HomeKit accessories together you can grant other people with control of those accessories, though you remain in overall control and can remove others from control in future.

    Troubleshooting

    In the rare event that you can’t use your HomeKit devices with a compatible (fourth or third generation) Apple TV, try these troubleshooting tips:

    • Check the HomeKit device is on – does it need new batteries?
    • Are Apple TV, iOS and HomeKit accessories all logged into the same iCloud account?
    • Check the Internet and Wi-Fi connections on your devices and Apple TV are working correctly and update the software. Make sure your HomeKit devices and Apple TV are on the same Wi-Fi network.
    • Make sure the Apple TV s no more than 25-feet away form any Bluetooth HomeKit accessories.
    • Sign out of iCloud on your Apple TV and sign back in two minutes later.