Using Siri with HomeKit accessories is magical—when it works. If your HomeKit accessories blink out, here’s the fix.
I’ve been testing all sorts of HomeKit accessories throughout the past few months, including Lutron’s Caseta Wireless lighting system, one of Apple’s first HomeKit-enabled accessories to make it to market.
During my first few blissful days of HomeKit accessory ownership, I had altogether too much fun telling Siri to “turn off the Space Shuttle” (basement) or “turn on the lights in the Dog Palace” (living room). But then, disaster struck: After disabling my house’s power that evening to install a thermostat, I found myself prompted with the worst alert—Siri wasn’t connecting to HomeKit.
To save you all the trouble of repeating my evening of hair-mangling, here are a few good troubleshooting tips for getting a cranky HomeKit system to work.
First things first: Let’s figure out what exactly is going wrong.
Make sure you’re logged into your iCloud account
In theory, any device logged in to your Apple ID should be able to understand and execute HomeKit commands. If you’re having trouble with your primary device or an auxiliary one, double-check to make sure you’re logged into iCloud and your Home is showing up under Settings > HomeKit.
Is nothing working? Check your network and individually reset your accessories
When you launch the app, do you get nothing at all? Double-check that your network is online and that your HomeKit-enabled accessories are connected to it either by ethernet (if you’re using a HomeKit bridge) or Wi-Fi. If you’re still not getting any indication that you’re connected, you may want to reset your hardware. Each HomeKit manufacturer has a slightly different process for this, so I advise checking with them to see what you need to do, but it usually involves pressing a tiny button on the side of the hardware or bridge. This won’t delete your existing HomeKit house; instead, it just resets the individual accessory’s connection to HomeKit.
Once you’ve done so, it’s time to re-open your HomeKit app of choice and re-add those accessories.
Are your HomeKit accessories still working inside the app? It may be iOS
Whether you personally have lost connection to Siri or you can’t get a guest to connect to your network, you’ll want to check your HomeKit app of choice. If your connected hardware still seems to be responding when you press on buttons inside the app, you might have a bug on the iOS side of things.
There are a few options to try here, including logging in and out of iCloud (see resetting your HomeKit sync for more information on that front). If all else fails, you’re going to have to reset your HomeKit settings to get everything working smoothly again. This means that you’ll have to reconstruct your HomeKit home from scratch—a huge pain, if you have multiple accessories—but if you’ve explored all other avenues, this may be the one you’ll have to take.
- Open the Settings app.
- Go to Privacy > HomeKit.
- Tap Reset HomeKit Configuration.
This reset will wipe any stored rooms and zones, along with the house name that you’ve asked Siri to remember, and you may have to re-pair your accessories. The next time you open the app for your HomeKit-enabled accessory, you’ll be prompted to give your connected home a new name and re-link your HomeKit bridge or other connected accessories.
Can’t add a guest to your network?
If you’re having trouble adding a guest to your network, check out our troubleshooting suggestions in our adding guests to HomeKit explainer:
Are you on LTE? You might need an Apple TV
HomeKit devices primarily work within the confines of your Wi-Fi network. If you’re on iOS 9 and your HomeKit manufacturer has built in support for HAP (HomeKit Accessory Protocol), you should be able to access those devices on LTE, but if you’re finding yourself out of luck, you might need to hook up an Apple TV.
Normally, all handshaking and Siri commanding happens within the boundaries of your Wi-Fi network. But your Apple TV—in combination with your Apple ID—gives your iPhone or iPad a way to securely talk to your HomeKit devices even when you’re outside the house.
It does so using a under-the-hood mixture of iCloud Keychain and HomeKit frameworks. Say you’re on LTE: You press the Home button to pull up Siri and give the command “Turn on the lights.” Without an Apple TV or support for iOS 9’s HAP protocol, that command goes nowhere: Siri replies with “I can’t do that.”
With an Apple TV or HAP support, however, that command travels over your cellular network to the set top box, where it handshakes using your Apple ID. “This is the owner of this HomeKit network,” Apple TV says to your installed HomeKit bridge. “Here’s a command from them.” The HomeKit bridge then executes the command, and the lights in your home pop on.
To set up your Apple TV with HomeKit, you need only log out of your iCloud account on your Apple TV and back in again. For more information, check out this explainer:
Still having problems?
Still can’t connect to your HomeKit devices after following these steps? Sound off in the comments and we’ll try to give you a hand.