When you begin down the smart home path, you rapidly notice that it’s a endless journey. Not solely are there at all times extra gadgets on the market ready to tempt you, however there are all of the apps.
From Apple’s Dwelling app by means of producer companion apps to third-party apps, there are lots to select from – particularly relating to Philips Hue lighting.
We have a look at three producer apps you would possibly need to proceed to make use of even after you might have your gadgets configured, along with six third-party apps that may assist your good dwelling turn out to be even smarter …
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Along with Siri, Apple’s personal Dwelling app is prone to be your major interface along with your HomeKit devices. It could possibly management completely all of your gadgets, individually, as teams and thru scenes.
It’s price noting that its management of some gadgets is restricted. You’re restricted to 6 colours at anybody time for Hue lights, for instance. You may edit these colours, however there’s no fast technique to choose an arbitrary shade.
That stated, you may’t beat the sheer comfort of getting management over all of your gadgets inside a single, well-designed app. The power to place your favourite scenes and most-used equipment on the primary display makes it fast to make use of, and the room-by-room screens are a fast technique to give entry to all the pieces in that room.
After you have your Eve Energy gadgets setup, there’s no use to make use of the app: all the pieces you are able to do with the gadgets will be achieved by means of Siri or the Dwelling app. However the one distinctive characteristic the app does provide is each stay and projected vitality utilization – together with a forecast of annual working prices for every linked machine.
It’s actually helpful to get an perception into the prices of utilizing completely different gadgets. For instance, Eve tasks that the halogen normal lamps I’ve in each living-room and workplace are costing round £45 ($55) a 12 months – whereas the blue LED temper lighting strips price simply £2/12 months ($2.50) between them.
The most effective factor in regards to the Nanoleaf Aurora is its animated scenes. I’m a giant fan of Northern Lights, in addition to Fire, which does a fairly convincing simulation of the nice and cozy, flickering glow you get from an actual hearth.
You may choose these by way of Siri, which is so simple as talking the title of the scene – you don’t have to preface it with something to specify the Nanoleaf – it figures that out by itself. However you continue to want the Nanoleaf app to obtain new scenes, in addition to to delete undesirable ones to cut back digital muddle.
Each Siri and the Dwelling app can change Philips Hue bulbs on and off, modify brightness and set a restricted vary of colours – however you’ll need the Hue app to get fine-grained management. Setting the color you need for a bulb or group of bulbs is very easy, merely sliding your finger across the shade swatch within the app.
You additionally want the app to arrange widgets which let you management Hue lights by way of your Apple Watch. Sadly, the Watch can solely set normal scenes, not the complete vary of colours.
Ambify describes itself as ‘the Hue-enabled jukebox.’ It creates fully-automatic disco lighting in sync along with your music. It’s configurable, however with a really easy-to-use, minimalist UI. If you need an immediate occasion, Ambify is the app to make use of.
It does, although, have one big downside: to auto-sync with music, it’s essential to play that music by means of the Ambify app itself. I actually want it may simply use the microphone to hearken to music performed by way of the usual Music app on the iPhone or iTunes on the Mac.
Hue Disco does allow you to play music from any supply, and it claims to make use of the microphone to adapt to it, although that declare appears a little bit doubtful. But it surely’s in any other case a extremely enjoyable app, providing an enormous variety of choices, from rave-like strobing by means of disco-style lighting to very light animations that may happen over as lengthy a interval as 90 minutes.
It’s clearly nice for events, however the extra stress-free animations are pretty anytime. Set a cycle time of a number of minutes, for instance, and the transition time to ‘Smooth,’ and you’ve got a very easy technique to get selection in your lighting with out having to do it manually. The Temper Theme permits you to restrict colours to a set vary of your selecting, so you may cease if getting too carried away with wild shade selections.
At first look, OnSwitch is one other scene app for Philips Hue bulbs with comparatively costly in-app purchases wanted to unlock the entire options. However the app additionally works with LIFX ones, and the place OnSwitch wins out over competing apps is that the fantastic thing about the scenes.
The evaluations help this, with a mean ranking of four.5 throughout greater than 200 evaluations. Seen within the context of the cash you spend on the bulbs within the first place, $15-20 extra to activate all of the well-thought-out scenes is respectable worth.
Lightbow has much more costly in-app purchases – costing $24.99 for the whole set. However the app presents two compelling advantages. First, it might probably management Philips Hue, LIFX and WeMo devices, so if in case you have a mixture of package – even when a few of it isn’t HomeKit-compatible – that’s sufficient cause to purchase it.
Second, you additionally get a implausible, full-featured editor to create your personal results – in all probability one of the crucial highly effective on the market.
The ever-useful If This Then That app has plenty of Philips Hue recipes, albeit not brilliantly organised and with a point of repetition.
However I’m a fan of the app on the whole, and the power to make use of it to manage lighting actually extends its usefulness. For instance, I exploit a location recipe to modify on the hallway lighting when arriving dwelling. Some recipes are extra gimmicky, and even downright dumb – like blinking all of your lights when it begins raining, one thing which has no cut-off dates so will fortunately activate at 3am (don’t ask me how I do know this …)
Lastly, iConnectHue doesn’t technically belong on this piece because it’s not truly HomeKit suitable, but it surely’s a massively highly effective app for programming Hue lighting and, particularly, switches. For instance, you may assign a number of actions and animations to switches, and as these are despatched to the hub, they may work whether or not or not you might be working the app – or even when the iPhone with the app isn’t current.
It additionally presents – by way of an in-app buy – very versatile geofences which work with a number of iPhones, so you are able to do issues like have it change on lights when the primary individual arrives dwelling and change them off when the final individual leaves.
Have we missed any cool apps? You probably have different HomeKit apps you like, do tell us within the feedback. Should you’d wish to share my very own good dwelling journey, try my Smart Home Diary collection.