Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Last week I told you about HomeKit, which is Apple’s framework for securely controlling multiple smart home products—such as smart lights, door locks, and shades—with your iPhone or other iOS device. I described how HomeKit uses “scenes” to control multiple smart devices at once, so a scene could lower the thermostat, turn off the lights, lower the window shades, and lock the doors. I concluded last week’s column by saying that while both of the smart lighting products I’m using have their own iOS apps, I found another app I like better.
But before I tell you about that, let me tell you about the state of HomeKit apps in general. Since every manufacturer has to provide its own app, at present there are dozens of free and paid iOS apps that let you control one or more smart devices—some from the hardware manufacturers themselves; others from third party developers. I’ve tried at least half a dozen and the only one that checks all the boxes for me is Eve from Elgato.
Elgato offers a variety of interesting smart products: Eve Room, Eve Weather, Eve Door & Window, and Eve Energy, but I’ve only tested Eve Room, which is a wireless sensor that constantly measures the air quality, temperature, and humidity in a room. Alas, since my home office has excellent air quality and its temperature and humidity are relatively stable, I didn’t find much use for Eve Room. But when I noticed that the free Eve app could control all of my other HomeKit devices, and that it had a slicker user interface than anything I’d seen so far, I was hooked.
The Eve app's At a Glance view shows all my devices and their rooms, all in one place.
HomeKit recognizes rooms, zones, scenes, and individual devices, and Eve has a superb interface for creating, configuring, and using all of them. Plus, the Eve app is the only one that recognizes all nine of my HomeKit devices—6 Phillips Hue lights, 2 Lutron Caséta lamp dimmers with remotes, and (of course), the Eve Room sensor.
Now there’s nothing inherently awful about the Phillips or Lutron apps, which I used to control their respective lighting products before I stumbled onto Eve. But neither worked with all nine of my HomeKit-enabled products; only Eve does.
So I prefer the Eve app primarily because it lets me control all my HomeKit-compatible devices and the other apps don’t. But I also like it for its clean, intuitive interface and ease of use.
Setting a scene in the Eve app is easy and straightforward.
To be fair, I’ve only tried a handful of HomeKit control apps to date and most of them were from HomeKit hardware makers. So, if you’re using an iOS app for HomeKit that you like better than Eve, please let me know.
And that’s all he wrote…