HomeKit is the least popular smart home platform of the big three. Both Alexa and Google Home are more popular, largely in part to the much wider range of compatibility both platforms have versus HomeKit. Despite that downside, HomeKit has one major bonus going for it: Incredibly easy installation in the majority of situations.
On the other hand, it poses some of the worst obstacles to installation of any platform. This odd two-faced coin makes HomeKit a unique platform that both offers a tremendous amount of promise and has a lot of areas for improvement and refinement.
Easy installation, no app required
HomeKit is representative of the promise that the Matter protocol offers — easy-to-install devices regardless of platform. HomeKit allows users to add devices to the platform without downloading the proprietary app; for example, you can install a LIFX bulb to the HomeKit platform without having the LIFX app present on your phone.
This is different from the Alexa or Google Assistant platform. You need to set up the app and connect the device to your network before these two platforms detect the device and prompt you to add it. If HomeKit offers an easier installation method than the product’s own app, it makes it a great alternative.
If you’ve never installed anything through HomeKit, let me provide an example. From the Home app on iOS, all it takes is a simple tap of the + symbol in the top-right corner of the screen. From there, tap Add Accessory. You then have two options: You can use the HomeKit Setup Code, which is found on the packaging or the product, by scanning it with your device’s camera. Alternatively, you can hold your device near the accessory.
The next option is to tap I Don’t Have a Code or I Can’t Scan, which brings up another screen. It presents options for any compatible nearby smart devices. If you choose to set up a device through this method, you’ll be prompted to enter an eight-digit code found either on the device itself or in its packaging. If you still don’t see your device, well, that’s one of the downsides. You’re mostly out of luck, outside of performing a hard reset.
No code? Installation is possible, but find some Advil