5 useful smart home automations to set up in Home App

Create Home Automation on Mac

We’ve shown you how to create Scenes with the Home app which let you control multiple accessories at once based on your actions like arriving or leaving. In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through how to set up Automations.

With Automations, you can have your accessories respond to each other. For instance, you can have a light turn on when your smart lock unlocks the front door. Or you can have your smart thermostat adjust the temperature at a certain time of day.

Depending on the smart home accessories you use, you should get some great suggestions here for setting up Automations in the Home app.

Set up smart home automations

Automations versus Scenes

You may be wondering why you have options for both Automations and Scenes in the Home app. So it’s important to understand the difference.

You can think of a Scene by its name; you’re “setting a scene”. This lets you create a Scene for say, Bedtime. At bedtime, you can have your lights turn off, your door lock, and your thermostat set to a certain temperature. So, you can set the scene for bedtime.

Automations, on the other hand, can run at a specific time on certain days, when a sensor detects movement, or when another accessory is triggered. This lets you set up things like when you unlock your smart lock, all your smart lights will turn on.

So, let’s take a look at some cool automations you can set up in the Home app for your accessories.

Create an Automation

To get started, open the Home app on your device and select Automation.

  • On iOS, tap Create New Automation.
  • On Mac, click the plus sign button and choose Add Automation.

For our tutorial, we’ll be mostly using the Home app on Mac. But you can follow the same steps to set up these automations on your iOS device.

When people arrive

If you use smart light bulbs in your home, automations are super handy. So how about creating an automation to turn on the lights when anyone arrives home in the evening.

1) Select When People Arrive.

2) Choose Anyone Arrives. (You can also select when The First Person Arrives if you prefer.)

3) For Location, make sure your home is selected.

4) For Time, choose At night. (We don’t need the lights to turn on during the day.)

5) Click Next.

6) Mark the smart lights you want to turn on and click Next.

7) If they are currently off, double-click the icons to indicate you want to turn the lights on for the automation.

You’ll see a summary of your automation. Make sure it’s correct and if you need to edit something, you can use the arrow on the top left to go back. And if you want to check it out, click Test This Automation.

Home Automation When Anyone Arrives Mac

Optionally, you can have the automation Turn Off the accessories that it turns on. You can choose from after one minute to up to after four hours. If you plan to turn the lights off yourself, you can choose Never.

Home Automation Turns Off Mac

If you’re happy, click Done

When people leave

When someone leaves the house, whether each person or the last person at home, you can have your smart lock automatically lock. This way no one has to remember to do it or risk forgetting!

1) Select When People Leave.

2) Choose Anyone Leaves. (You can also select when The Last Person Leaves if you prefer.)

Home Automation Anyone Leaves Mac

3) For Location, make sure your home is selected.

4) For Time, choose Any. (You can pick a certain time of day if you’d rather.)

5) Click Next.

6) Mark your smart lock and click Next.

Like with the smart light automation above, you will see a summary of the automation and can edit or test it. Remember, in order to test it, you’ll need to unlock the lock first. Click Done when you finish.

Home Automation When Anyone Leaves Mac

When a certain time or day of the week occurs

If you have a smart thermostat, it likely has a schedule you can set up. But if you prefer to do it in the Home app or simply want to change it for a short time, it’s easy.

Maybe you want to adjust your home temperature based on the time of day, for certain days of the week, when the family will be out of town.

1) Select A Time of Day Occurs.

2) Choose When from Sunrise, Sunset, or a specific Time of Day that you can enter. For Sunrise and Sunset, you can click the Info icon for more times surrounding Sunrise or Sunset. For example, you can set it for 30 minutes before or after sunrise if you like.

Home Automation Sunset Times Mac

3) Choose the days of the week for the automation to Repeat. By default, each day is selected. Just click to deselect a day or days.

Home Automation Pick Days Mac

4) Optionally, you can have the automation apply to People in your home. So if you’re setting this up for a time when your family will be on vacation, you can pick When nobody is home.

5) Click Next and choose the accessory, such as Thermostat.

6) Click Next and click the accessory to set it. For our example, we are adjusting the temperature to 74 degrees.

Test the automation if you like or just click Done to save and enable it.

Home Automation Certain Days Mac

When another accessory is triggered

You can automate accessory actions based on other accessory actions. For instance, when the dining room light turns on for dinner, you can have your HomePod play some relaxing music for your meal.

Since you control what plays on your HomePod from the Home app your iOS device, we’ll set this one up on iPhone.

1) Select An Accessory is Controlled.

2) Choose the accessory that will start the automation and trigger the second accessory and tap Next.

3) Choose what you want that accessory to do. For our example, we’ll pick Turns On.

When Accessory Triggered First

4) Optionally, you can set Time and People options like the other automations above.

5) Tap Next and choose the second accessory, such as HomePod.

6) Under Media configure what you want your HomePod to do. For our example, we’ll pick Play Audio and then Choose Audio that we want to play.

When Accessory Triggered Second

7) Tap to go Back and review your automation.

You can test the automation, pick if and when you want to turn it off, and tap Done when you finish.

Home Automation When Accessory Triggered iPhone

When a sensor detects something

If you have sensors in your home for motion or smoke detection, we have one more cool automation for you. You can have a light turn on at night when motion is detected in room.

1) Select A Sensor Detects Something.

2) Choose the accessory and then what you want it to do. For our example, we’ll pick Detects Motion.

3) Optionally, you can set Time and People options like the other automations above. This is handy if you want to only turn on lights at night, as in our example.

4) Click Next and choose the accessory, such as your office light.

5) If the light is currently off, double-click the icon to indicate you want to turn it on for the automation.

Check out a summary of the automation, test it or select a Turn off time if you like, and click Done.

Home Automation When Motion Detected Mac

Wrapping it up

These five suggestions cover each of the automation options you have in the Home app. Obviously you may not have all these smart home accessories, but you get some great ideas for those you do have.

So are you going to set up automations for your smart home? If so, let us know which ones you create!

For more help with the Home app, take a look at how to change the app and room wallpapers or check the status of your HomeKit hubs.