More and more smart home products include compatibility with Apple's HomeKit framework, allowing easy and automated control through an iOS device or Mac. Yet there are some actions that require the presence of a home hub, a device that remains powered on and connected at your home that can relay the commands you give via Siri while you're away. Apple's HomePod can act as such a hub, offering several benefits for your smart home setup.

homepod duo

Benefits of a Home Hub

The key feature a home hub offers is the use of ‌Siri‌ to trigger actions when you're away from home. For example, if you're driving home from work, you can ask ‌Siri‌ to raise the temperature at home to 70º to direct a connected thermostat to adjust the temperature. Without a home hub, using ‌Siri‌ would only generate an error and you'd need to adjust the temperature manually using the thermostat's app or the Home app. While it's not a hardship to make these kinds of changes manually, having a home hub can make it easier (especially when you want to keep both hands on the steering wheel while driving).

If you've created scenes--which are sets of actions to trigger multiple changes at once, like turning off all the lights at bedtime--a home hub also allows you to set these via ‌Siri‌ when you're away from home.

Another advantage of a home hub is the ability to automate some actions based on your location using geofencing. For example, the Ecobee thermostat can automatically switch to Away mode to set the temperature to a more economical level when you leave home. You set the geofence area within the Ecobee app and once you've left it (based on your iPhone's location), your home hub triggers the applicable scene with the thermostat and any other smart home devices you've designated to act.

Setting up HomePod as a Home Hub

When you set up a new ‌HomePod‌ using the Home app, it's automatically designated as a home hub, so no specific steps to make it a home hub are necessary. If you have multiple HomePods, note that only one is designated as a home hub while the others are marked as on standby. While this automated set-up is handy, it's not immediately clear which smart devices you own can take advantage of the ‌HomePod‌ as a home hub -- you may need to explore a bit with each device to see what additional features the presence of a home hub could offer.

ms homepod homekit

If you plan to make use of your ‌HomePod‌ as a home hub, you should just double-check to ensure it's set up with the same Apple ID account email address as the one you're using for ‌HomeKit‌.

Using a Home Hub via Siri Remotely

With ‌HomeKit‌, a home hub operates pretty seamlessly to relay commands given to ‌Siri‌ when you're away from home. While you're out and about, you can ask ‌Siri‌ on any of your iOS devices or Macs that have an internet connection to trigger a scene or change the state of a specific smart home device. Here are some example commands:

  • "Turn on the living room light."
  • "Open the garage door."
  • "Close all of the window blinds."
  • "Turn on the air purifier."

In short, you can ready your home for your arrival or departure, or adjust it for any current occupants by voice as you please. You can also check a device's status with ‌Siri‌. For example, you can ask what the temperature inside your home is, if any lights are on, or if the garage door is closed.

Find a list of all HomeKit-compatible devices. Apple maintains this list and keeps it updated.

Despite being able to play an important role within the ‌HomeKit‌ framework as a home hub, it's not yet possible to directly trigger a ‌HomePod‌ to carry out a specific action as part of a scene. There's a currently a workaround using a ‌Siri‌ Shortcut with the Shortcuts app, allowing you to have ‌HomePod‌ start playing a specific playlist when a scene is triggered. It's possible that Apple may add more functionality related to ‌HomeKit‌ scenes for the ‌HomePod‌ in the future.

Top Stories

april 2021 event coverage feature

Apple Event Live Coverage: New iPads, AirTags, and More Expected [Event Over]

Tuesday April 20, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Spring Loaded" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut updated iPad models and perhaps some other hardware such as AirTags or iMac models based on Apple silicon. Apple is providing a live video stream on its website, on YouTube, and in the company's TV app across its platforms. We will also be updating this article with live blog...
m1 imac colors

Apple Announces Redesigned iMac With M1 Chip and Seven Color Options

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has announced a new, redesigned 24-inch iMac, featuring an M1 chip, a 4.5K display, and a range of color options, as well as an improved cooling system, front-facing camera, speaker system, microphones, power connector, and peripherals. The new iMac features a completely new compact design, and comes in a range of seven striking colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, purple,...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Launching iPhone 12 and 12 Mini in New Purple Color on April 30

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today announced that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in a new purple color starting April 30, with pre-orders starting this Friday. Apple is also releasing a new MagSafe Leather Case and Leather Sleeve in Deep Violet, a Silicone Case in Capri Blue, Pistachio, Cantaloupe, or Amethyst, and a Leather Wallet in Arizona, all available to order beginning today. iPhone...
14

Apple Says iOS 14.5 Will Be Released 'Next Week'

Tuesday April 20, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Apple today in a press release about its new AirTag item tracker announced that iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will be available starting "next week." iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are packed with new features, including the ability for iPhone users who are wearing an Apple Watch to unlock the iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask. iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will also be the minimum software versions...
ipad pro with m1 chip

Apple Introduces Next-Generation iPad Pro With M1 Chip, Thunderbolt, 5G, XDR Display, and More

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:40 am PDT by
Apple today announced the next-generation iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, Thunderbolt and USB4 support, 5G connectivity on cellular models with mmWave support in the United States, and more. With an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, Apple says the M1 chip in the new iPad Pro provides up to 50% faster performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to the A12Z Bionic chip ...
f1618938547

Apple Announces AirTag Tracking Devices Starting At $29 Each

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today announced AirTag, a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that's designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app. AirTags are accessories for attaching to backpacks, luggage, and other items. Any U1 device like the iPhone 12 can be used for precision finding to guide you right to the item you're looking...
Ports 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1 copy

Stolen MacBook Pro Schematics Confirm Apple's Plans to Add More Ports and Remove Touch Bar

Wednesday April 21, 2021 10:31 am PDT by
Schematics stolen from Apple supplier Quanta Computer outline Apple's plans for the next-generation MacBook Pro models that are expected in 2021, and clearly confirm plans for additional ports and a return to MagSafe. MacRumors saw the schematics after they were leaked online, and some of them feature the logic board of the next-generation MacBook Pro. On the right side of the machine,...
iPad Pro

New 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Will Be 0.5mm Thicker to Accommodate Mini-LED Display

Monday April 19, 2021 11:30 am PDT by
The upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be thicker than the previous-generation version, likely due to the inclusion of the mini-LED display. We've heard several rumors about the change in thickness, and now leaked design images have confirmed it. A source that designs accessories for Apple devices sent MacRumors a series of photos that feature exact dimensions for the new iPad Pro models, and...
iPad Pro Feature Orange

Wedbush Analysts Say 'Spring Loaded' Event Will Debut New iPads With 'Modest Price Increase,' Along With 'a Few Surprises'

Monday April 19, 2021 6:37 am PDT by
Apple is planning to launch a new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Pro at its "Spring Loaded" event tomorrow, along with "a few surprises," according to Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe explained that the iPad will be the main focus of Apple's "Spring Loaded" event, with new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and ...
maxresdefault

Apple Event 2021: Everything Apple Announced at Its 'Spring Loaded' Event in Just 6 Minutes

Tuesday April 20, 2021 4:23 pm PDT by
Apple today held its first event of 2021, and it was one of the most exciting events that we've seen in some time. Apple announced a whole slew of new products, including an M1 iMac, an M1 iPad Pro, a refreshed 4K Apple TV, and the long-awaited AirTags. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to introduce all of the new devices during its virtual...