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.

Popular Stories

iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.0.2 With Bug Fixes for iPhone 14 Pro Camera Vibration, Copy/Paste Issue and More

Thursday September 22, 2022 1:04 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS 16.0.2, addressing a number of bugs that iPhone 14 owners have been experiencing since the new devices launched. iOS 16.0.2 comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 16, and it follows iOS 16.0.1, an update made available to iPhone 14 owners on launch day. The update is available for all iPhones that are capable of running iOS 16. The iOS 16.0.2 update can be...
maxresdefault

Video Review: Four Days With the iPhone 14 Pro Max

Wednesday September 21, 2022 7:49 am PDT by
Apple on Friday released the new iPhone 14 models, and MacRumors videographer Dan picked one up on launch day. He's been using the iPhone 14 Pro Max non-stop since it came out, and over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, has shared his initial thoughts on the day-to-day experience with the latest iPhone. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Dan's mini review highlights...
iPad Pro Big Ol Logo

Five Features Rumored for the New iPad Pro Expected Next Month

Wednesday September 21, 2022 1:36 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will announce new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models as soon as next month. The new iPads will be the first update to the iPad Pro series since April 2021 and will be an overall incremental upgrade that brings new capabilities and functionality to the highest-end iPad. According to reports, Apple is planning an event for October to announce the new iPad Pro models, a...
ios 16 lock screen feature

Some iOS 16 Users Complain About Slow Spotlight Search and Battery Drain

Wednesday September 21, 2022 4:25 am PDT by
It's been nine days since Apple released iOS 16 to the public, bringing major changes to the Lock Screen, Messages, Maps, and more. In the days following the release, some users have encountered several issues on their iPhones, ranging from slow system performance to battery drain. In the past few days, iPhone 14 Pro users have shared specific bugs related to Apple's latest high-end iPhones, ...
Dynamic Island For Android Users Feature

Android App Copying iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island Released on Play Store

Thursday September 22, 2022 7:57 am PDT by
A copycat version of the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island has arrived on Android's Google Play Store in the form of an app called "dynamicSpot." The app, still in beta, offers customers several different experiences at the top of their smartphones. In its current form, dynamicSpot offers playback control for songs, timers, battery status, and more features coming soon, according to the app's...
facebook meta

Meta Sued Over Tracking iPhone Users Despite Apple's Privacy Features

Thursday September 22, 2022 5:12 am PDT by
Meta is facing a new proposed class action lawsuit that accuses it of tracking and collecting the personal data of iPhone users, despite features and policies made by Apple which are meant to stop that same type of tracking. In August, it was revealed that with the Facebook and Instagram apps, Meta can track all of a user's key taps, keyboard inputs, and more, when using the in-app browser....
apple watch ultra reddit 1

Lucky Customer Gets New Apple Watch Ultra Two Days Early

Wednesday September 21, 2022 2:03 pm PDT by
With millions of devices shipping out to customers with every Apple launch, there's occasionally someone who gets lucky and gets a new product ahead of schedule. This time around, Redditor playalisticadillac received an Apple Watch Ultra from AT&T two days before the official debut, sharing some images on the social media site. The images include an unboxing and comparisons to the...
new airpods pro ear tips

Apple Explains Why Second-Generation AirPods Pro Ear Tips Are Incompatible With Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 22, 2022 3:12 pm PDT by
Apple today explained why the new silicone ear tips for the second-generation AirPods Pro are not officially compatible with the original AirPods Pro. In an updated support document, Apple said the original AirPods Pro ear tips have "noticeably denser mesh" than the second-generation ear tips. Apple did not provide any additional details, but the mesh density could result in acoustical...