Homekit and SmartThings: The Latest Discussion

Hmm, ok I think I’m getting it now. So should I look at Apple’s Home app/HomeKit, built into iOS 10, as an extra layer on top of existing automation systems (that “work with HomeKit”) giving an additional mode of control of the “smart” devices connected to said existing automation systems?

For example, if you own a Phillips Hue bulb and it’s connected to the Hue Bridge and you already have the Hue app working to control the bulb, you could then separately open the Home app on your iPhone to also control that very same bulb? So it’s just an extra layer of control over the same device that’s connected with a different “hub” or “bridge”…?

I also should have asked… Are there “smart” devices that the Apple Home app can also control directly, without the need for the “smart” device to already be connected to a “hub” or “bridge”? So is there like a “works with HomeKit” standalone lamp outlet that the Home app can just connect to directly without the outlet having to be connected with, say, the Lutron system?

Yes, several. Not a lot yet. Again, the iHome smart plug doesn’t need an additional hub to work with HomeKit , but can also work with several different other systems . Eve just released a new light switch today which will work with HomeKit and does not require an additional hub. (Lutron Caseta switches, as we mentioned, talk to their own smartbridge which then can work with HomeKit. Eve switches standalone.)

Here’s the full list as of October 27, 2016. Some of these can work with multiple different systems, some will only work with HomeKit or their own app.

So it’s not that HomeKit is just an additional layer over an existing control method. Rather, HomeKit integration requires a special chip, a hardware piece, which must be built into the device. (This is why existing devices cannot be retrofitted to work with HomeKit.) If a device has that chip, which is only available from Apple – approved sources, or if it works with a bridge/hub that has that chip and that end device has been specifically approved to work with HomeKit, then it can work with HomeKit through the bridge even though the end device doesn’t have the special chip . The manufacturer may also have added other things to either the bridge or the end device so that it can work with other systems as well.

So it’s more a parallel method of communication than an overlay.

The individual approval step is also important. For example, a number of third-party bulbs can work with the hue bridge, including GE links, cree, etc. when attached to the hue bridge in this way, they can also be controlled from SmartThings.

However, currently only the actual Hue brand bulbs are HomeKit approved. So if you have a HomeKit – compatible hue bridge, you will be able to control the hue brand bulbs connected to that bridge through HomeKit. But you would not be able to control the GE link brand bulbs connected to that bridge through HomeKit, although you could through SmartThings.

So again, it’s not an overlay. There’s a specific approval process for every piece of hardware that can officially connect to HomeKit.

Ok, got it… whew! Really appreciate you breaking it down for me!

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This was interesting.

HomeKit was very briefly featured at the Apple event yesterday – – in the accessibility video. Person transferring from bed to wheelchair starts a good morning routine that opens the shades and turns up the lights.

Here’s the most interesting part: they didn’t do it with Siri. They did it with a tap on the phone.

They still put Siri first among the features on the descriptive page, but they didn’t do it that way in the video.


Very interesting video.

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So there are now three motion sensors that can sort of work with HomeKit. I’ll be trying all three and can see more specifics once I actually get them. Meanwhile:

One) Hue motion sensor. Battery operated ZLL device. We have four of these and really like them. They include a lux sensor, but that is only used to filter when the motion is reported . These can only be used to trigger hue lights attached to a hue bridge. You can then have other HomeKit devices like Lutron switches come on because a hue light came on, but there is a slight lag. So at our house, the table lamp comes on first, then the overhead light comes on a second or two later. $40


A community member has created a custom DTH for this, so it can be used when the motion sensor is connected directly to the SmartThings hub, although then you lose the ability to use it with the Hue app.

Two) eve Elgato motion sensor. This is a battery operated Bluetooth device. should be able to trigger any HomeKit event because it counts as a “security” device (the companion contact sensors can’t trigger events because they aren’t in the security category). Works just fine to trigger any HomeKit device. The first battery powered motion sensor for the HomeKit platform. It’s Bluetooth, so the range is limited – – it has to be within about 40 feet of the iPad acting as the Homekit control center. $50

Three) iHome multisensor. Can report temperature, humidity, lux, sound, and motion and use those to trigger any HomeKit event. Wi-Fi plug-in device with a USB cable so you can position it somewhat. Says it can definitely trigger any HomeKit event-- but that turned out to only be true for the motion sensor.

It does report sound, light, temperature, and humidity, but you have to use rules within the iHome app for that and the only devices that can be triggered from it are iHome pocket sockets. Those pocket sockets are directly compatible with smart things, so this is a motion sensor that could trigger both a smart things event and a HomeKit event. To be able to trigger from the temperature/sound/humidity/or lux levels, however, you would need to use the iHome pocket socket as a go-between. $80. :sunglasses:

Any of these could be used to turn on a Phillips hue bulb and then have that coming on trigger something in SmartThings, but there would be a definite lag of several seconds for any follower devices other than the original Hue. (Or, of course, could just be used as a parallel means of control for hue lights attached to a hue bridge.) So might work for some use cases, not others.

I have HomeKit still working with the Hue bulbs (connected to the Hue bridge still) and the Hue Motion sensors directly connected to the SmartThings hub (so I can control lux levels, Motion and temperature) and everything works very well. In the community there is a device handler for the Hue Motion Sensors which works very well so far

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IOS 10.2 has several significant HomeKit improvements, mostly adding new device classes

  • Adds notification support for HomeKit accessories including window coverings, occupancy, motion, door/window, smoke, carbon monoxide, and water leak sensors
  • Adds notification support for HomeKit accessories when software updates are available to HomeKit accessories
  • Improves Bluetooth performance and connectivity with 3rd party accessories

I was wondering what you ended up doing. I am tired of the instability of ST and was considering migrating to all HomeKit devices and rid myself of having to reboot a hub daily

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I am still with SmartThings. I don’t think Apple has what it takes to really compete in this space.

I automate to have my house react to me, I don’t want to use Siri or my phone.

With home bridge, you can simply use a $35 raspberry pi board to have the benefits of HomeKit

Thanks for replying but for what I’m reading on HomeKit user forums there is tons of automation…

And even third parties to expand like this…
Hesperus by Oltica

It would be costly though since I have 30+ non HomeKit compatible devices

Juan Felsmann

We moved a lot of our stuff to HomeKit about a year ago. Since motion sensors and contact sensors became available as triggers a few months ago, it meets all of our needs for simple use cases and is very reliable. However, the logic is much much simpler than SmartThings and you just can’t do as much as you can do with SmartThings without getting off into all of the complicated unofficial stuff which we didn’t want to do.

For example, it’s super easy to set up a notification in smartthings to notify me if a closet door has been left open for two minutes. I can get HomeKit to tell me that the closet door has just opened, or I can ask it if the closet door is open, but I can’t get a delayed notification.

But for just having lights come on on a schedule or from a motion sensor, operating a smartlock, or turning lights off by voice, HomeKit has been solid and reliable at our house. We use it with Lutron switches, Phillips hue bulbs, and both Elgato and Fibaro sensors.

So as always, different things work for different people. :sunglasses:

Thanks JDroberts very helpful

Juan Felsmann

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Hi new to the forum and smart things. I recently bought a smartthings hub and 5 water sensors to monitor potential leaks around the house. Has anyone had any success with connecting smartthings water sensors to homekit via homebridge? I already use homekit and homebridge to connect and control my lifx bulbs already and some elgato eve sensors. I’ve been having issues with connecting smartthings to my homebridge hub but want to figure out if it’s worth the effort before i give it another try or if i should just run it as a separate water monitoring network.

I’d like to be able to use homekit as the master controller but use smartthings as a hub for additional z-wave devices since they’re far more ubiquitous and cheaper.

My fortrezz and Smartthings water sensors work with Homebridge. Ny Aeon water sensor does not. I am using the default device handlers for all of them.

This thread is a great example of the good ol’ days when @Ben and other ST employees engaged with the community without fear of daddy Samsung having to play damage control due to controversy or respectful arguments.


I am still here and muzzle free. I keep up with the community, albeit not as active with posting since I moved over to the engineering side of the table.


We moved a lot of our stuff to HomeKit about a year ago. Since motion sensors and contact sensors became available as triggers a few months ago, it meets all of our needs for simple use cases and is very reliable.

I am curious, do you use an Apple TV in your Homekit integration? I was intending to use Homekit primarily in my own setup, but have been frustrated by the slow adoption by manufacturers. Some will even update their products and still continue to leave Homekit out of it. So I turned to Smartthings because of the vast amount of integration. The reason I ask about the Apple TV is that I do not have one, but I generally have one or more iPad’s plugged in and acting as hubs and I consistently get disconnects in my Homekit products.

Yes, we do have an Apple TV. (We started with HomeKit before the iPad selection was an option.) We do also now have an iPad as the hub.

Our devices have all been very stable except for an ihome 5 switch which was so unstable that we returned it. But everything else stays connected just fine for us.

We have some iconnect pocket sockets, Elgato eve sensors, Lutron Caseta switches, Philips Hue bridge and bulbs, and a few other Devices. Most have been in place for about a year, except for the ones which were introduced more recently like the sensors.

There is a page in the community – created wiki that lists devices that work with both SmartThings and HomeKit: