What if you want to add a device to your HomeKit smart home, but the device doesn’t support HomeKit? You’ve created a proxy with the iHome iSP5, a low-cost HomeKit-enabled smart plug.
CONNECTED: What is Apple HomeKit?
HomeKit is Apple’s SmartHome platform, and if you want to control all of your devices and devices with your voice using Siri, you’ll need to add them to your HomeKit. If you’ve got some new, HomeKit-friendly stuff like the second generation Philips Hue hub, then you’re all set.
But what about items that are not compatible with HomeKit? What if you want to control a simple window fan, a table lamp, an old coffee pot, or any other sets electrical devices that we all own that aren’t smart at all, let alone HomeKit compatible? What if you have an older SmartHome device that is not HomeKit compatible, but you want to use it with your HomeKit system?
This situation is easy to fix: a HomeKit-compatible smart plug. Instead of replacing an electrical device with a HomeKit compatible one, you can simply insert a smart plug between a power outlet and the device’s power cord to act as a HomeKit intermediary. In other words: it lets you control just about any device in your home with Siri.
This solution has one obvious drawback: it is binary. While a device designed as a SmartHome product, such as a networked music player, may have many settings and configuration options available, the only thing a smart plug can do is control the power supply to the device. Due to this, it can turn the radio on and off, but it certainly cannot change the station or switch between radio and CD inputs.
This is not to say that we should call a smart plug dumb, however, despite the limitation of simply turning devices on and off, smart plugs offer many additional features. You can control the device with your voice, set triggers based on the time of day, and integrate the device into home control scenes.
Sounds like a solution to your SmartHome problem? Let’s see what you need and how to set it up.
What you need
HomeKit is still relatively new and there are only a few HomeKit-enabled stores on the market. Instead of sending you to new markets and trying to avoid mistakes early on, we’ll just direct you to the one model we recommend above all others: the iHome iSP5.
RELATED: How to control your HomeKit smart home when you’re away from home
It’s the most economical HomeKit smart plug on the market — other stores cost $40-$80, but the iHome model costs $34 and often sells for less. Not only does it support HomeKit, but it can also communicate through the iHome system, which has two big advantages.
First, this means Android users in your home can also control the iHome connection through the iHome Android app. Second, it means you don’t need an Apple TV (for HomeKit remote access) to control the plug when you’re away from home (since you can send a signal to it via the iHome app). In addition to all this, it’s also rated for an electrical load of up to 1800W, so you can use it to control everything from a low wattage lamp to a high wattage device like a heater or AC window unit.
Finally, iHome iSP5 also supports integration with Amazon Echo, Wink hub and Nest thermostat. Unlike many SmartHome products that only work with one platform, even if you’ve ditched HomeKit entirely and set up a completely different SmartHome system, you can take the iHome plugin with you.
Setting up iHome iSP5
Setting up the iHome iSP5 is really easy considering you set it up twice (once for the iHome system and once for the HomeKit system). If you don’t remember this, the installation process can be a little confusing because it feels like you’re repeating everything.
Simply plug the iSP5 into a power outlet and then press and hold the button (located on the small wing-shaped protrusion protruding from the top right side of the device) for 12 seconds until the light flashes green and red. This resets the device to factory settings and ensures that there is no lingering configuration left during the quality check at the factory. Once connected and reset, download the free iHome Control app from the App Store and launch it.
You will be prompted to create an iHome account.
If you only want to access your iHome socket from home or at If you have a new HomeKit-enabled Apple TV that allows remote access, you can skip this step. However, we still recommend registering an account as it provides fallback access to the plugin independent of HomeKit and allows non-iOS users to manage your plugin.