What’s the point of having a home of the future if your family members, roommates or guests can’t take advantage of all its features? Share the future by letting your iCloud account control your smart lights, thermostat, and more.

Why should I do this?

CONNECTED: What is Apple HomeKit?

HomeKit is a framework that brings together all the various HomeKit accessories in the growing stability of Apple-approved SmartHome products. If you’ve upgraded some parts of your home to take advantage of HomeKit-enabled accessories such as smart light bulbs, smart thermostat, smart locks, and the like, then it’s only natural that family members, roommates, or guests will be filled with the use of them. too.

However, by default, the only person who can control all HomeKit accessories is the one who set up the system; administrative controls associated with their iCloud sign-in. Thus, if you want to give access to anyone else in your home, you need to invite them and authorize their iCloud account. Luckily, the process of adding and removing guest users is fairly easy if you know where to look.

Once you authorize your iCloud account, they can use apps and Siri to control your home’s smart devices, just like you, with commands like «Hey Siri, set the thermostat to 72 degrees.» «Set scene to night movie», or using any other commands or apps that support your accessories.

If you’re here because you’ve previously used HomeKit and are sharing your HomeKit system, but everything seems out of place, don’t worry — you’re not going crazy. Between iOS 9 and iOS 10, Apple moved most of the HomeKit settings from the iOS settings menu to the all-new Home app.

What you need

CONNECTED: How to Reset Your HomeKit Devices and Configuration

Before we get into the actual setup process, take a moment to make sure you have everything ready to go. You’ll need at least one HomeKit accessory installed and configured (if you’re in the mood to shop, we can’t say enough good things about the new Philips Hue HomeKit-compatible system).

In addition, you’ll need the iCloud ID of the person you want to add, and they’ll need an iPhone or iPad running iOS 10. Also, if they want more granular control over their smarthome accessories, they’ll need copies of all the relevant apps used to manage them ( like the Philips Hue app to stick with our example). We’ll talk more about this in the «How Guests Can Use Your HomeKit House» section below.

Finally, the only real mistake you’re likely to run into is if you accidentally made someone else an administrator (for example, you installed your HomeKit device on your child’s iPad and it’s now linked to their iCloud account). In such cases, you need to reset the HomeKit configuration and reconfigure it from your device in order for you to be an administrator.

How to invite someone to your HomeKit home

Once you checked the list in the previous section, adding someone to your HomeKit system is easy. For brevity and clarity, from now on, we will refer to any person you add to your HomeKit system as a guest.

Grab the iOS device signed into the HomeKit administrator’s iCloud account and open the Home app.

In the Home app, tap on the little arrow icon at the top left of the screen to access HomeKit settings.

If you only have one HomeKit home, you will be in the default view «House» (or whatever you named your home). If you have multiple HomeKit-enabled homes, take the time to choose the home you want to share with. Once you look at the correct house, look for the «People» entry and select «Invite».

On the next Add People screen, you will be able to view your contact list, manually enter an email address, or, as shown below, conveniently select people who are already members of your Apple Family Sharing Plan. Select as many people as you want (you can invite more than one person at a time) and then select «Send Invitation» in the top right corner.

When you return to the main home settings page, you will see a pending prompt.

There are a few minor settings we need to tweak for the invited users, but they must accept their invitation before we can switch them. Let’s look at this step now.

How to accept a HomeKit invitation

On the guest user’s iOS device, they will receive a notification alerting them to the invitation.

Don’t worry if they miss the notification, they can just as easily open the Home app and tap on the same Settings icon we used to send the invite. Once they tap the notification or the settings icon, they will be asked to accept the invitation.

Once the invitation is accepted, the user has full access to the shared HomeKit home. Before we dive into using HomeKit home as a guest, we need to tidy up.

House cleaning

There is a little oddity that your guest users will probably notice right away. All iOS 10 devices have «Home» set by default in the Home app — even if the user has never used HomeKit before and signing in as a guest in your home is their first and only experience. This can be confusing because they will have two entries for «House»: their default is «Home» and then «Home (Guest)» for your home (or whatever you call your home, e.g. «Brentwood (Guest)» » ».

Also, the Home app wants to default to your «real» HomeKit home, which means your guest users will often switch from the phantom default «Home» to the home they’re in as a guest.

Obviously, if your guest user is a temporary home guest who actually has their own home home to return to, it’s not worth fiddling with their settings or offering to delete anything. If your “guests,” however, are your spouse and children who live in your home full-time, then it makes sense to tidy up.

In the Settings menu of the guest user’s device, navigate to Home and select the entry for the default phantom Home. Once selected, scroll down and click Remove Home.

The simple act of cleaning your phantom home will make life a lot easier for your more loyal visitors.

How guests can use your HomeKit House

Thankfully, HomeKit functionality has come a long way since its inception, and the changes in iOS 10 are making HomeKit more convenient for everyone, especially guests.

Historically, you have had to download every smarthome app for your smarthome device and install it on the guest user’s phone. This meant that if you used the Philips Hue app to control your lights, then them should have done the same (along with any other smarthome app you have used). While they can do this if they want to, they don’t have to.

Every iOS 10 device now comes with the Home app, which can function as a universal SmartHome control panel.

Even if a guest user hasn’t installed any of the SmartHome apps you use, they can still access the dashboard to turn devices on and off, run scenes (which you, the HomeKit administrator, created), and otherwise interact with HomeKit home as you do. Simple, right?

How to Restrict and Remove Guests from a HomeKit Home

In most cases, such as granting access to a spouse or child, you most likely won’t need to revoke anyone’s access. But you may want to restrict it so they can’t edit the HomeKit system. Also, you may want to restrict remote access in the case of guests at home (why would they need to control your home when they’re not there?) or remove them entirely when they leave.

You can do all of this by going back to the screen you originally invited them to (by opening the Home app, tapping on the settings arrow and viewing your People list) and selecting them.

RELATED: How to control your HomeKit smart home when you’re away from home

There you can toggle remote access on and off (you need remote access for the entire HomeKit system for this to work, of course), toggle editing on and off (which allows the user to edit your HomeKit accessory names, rooms, and other HomeKit settings), and finally , you can completely remove the person from your HomeKit system.

That’s all there is to it: with HomeKit settings and some basic app settings on your guest’s iOS device, you can share your awesome future home with everyone in your family.

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