Building a smart home is simpler than you might expect. Apple has developed a platform called HomeKit that allows smart-home device makers to integrate their products with Apple's. From iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and HomePods, you can turn on lights, crank up the heat and lock your front door.
Apple has been expanding its support for a variety of smart home products in recent months, but some devices are far better than others. And if you're looking to get an Apple-powered smart home up and running, finding quality products that seamlessly integrate with your iPhone is critical.
iHome ISP6X Smart Plug ($29)
From a thermostat to a smart lock, the following products will turn your dumb home into a smart one. One of the nice things about smart plugs is that they let you turn any old dumb product in your home into a smart product. And the iHome ISP6X Smart Plug is one of the best options out there for doing that.
The device plugs into your standard wall outlet and connects to your Apple products over your wireless network. From your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, simply turn on or off whatever is connected, and the device will respond accordingly. And you can create schedules to have the plug turn on and off at specific times.
Philips Hue White Starter Kit ($69)
The Philips Hue White Starter Kit is all you'll need to add smart lighting to your home. The kit comes with a hub for connecting to your wireless network and smart lights that you can plug in to any lamp in your house. The lights connect wirelessly to HomeKit, and then you can turn them up, down or off from your Apple product. With help from Siri, you can use voice commands to control your lights. You can also configure scenes based on what you're doing in that moment.
Apple TV 4K ($179)
The Apple TV 4K is an ideal option for controlling your smart home devices, even when you're not home. You can set the device up as a smart home hub that can communicate with everything from smart light bulbs to thermostats. From the Apple TV 4K menu, simply fire up the Home app and access your connected smart home devices. You can create scenes to turn on different light settings and view a security camera on your TV. You can also use the Apple TV 4K's built-in Siri- and microphone-equipped remote to shout out voice commands to control your home.
Ecobee3 Lite Smart Thermostat ($169)
The Ecobee 3 Lite smart thermostat is one of the more appealing smart home products for the money. The device, which costs $169, connects wirelessly to Apple devices to allow you to crank up the heat or turn on the air conditioning. It also connects with wireless sensors, so its temperature settings can be adjusted based on the temperatures in different rooms. And just in case you want to bring in other smart home technology, the Ecobee3 is platform-agnostic, also working with Google Home and Amazon Echo.
Logitech Circle 2 Security Camera ($179)
With Logitech's Circle 2 security camera, you can keep an eye on the family, your valuables and intruders from afar. The camera, which costs $179, is fully wireless and supports 1080p HD video streaming. It has a 180-degree field of view and can work both indoors and outdoors, because it's weather-proof. Better yet, you can connect to it from anywhere and even view live video using your iPhone or other Apple device. And when it sees something, the Circle 2 will send you an alert.
August Smart Lock Pro ($229)
The August Smart Lock Pro is one of our top picks. For $229, you get a smart lock system for your door that you can unlock and control from afar using your Apple device. You can also set schedules that will ensure that the door automatically locks and unlocks at the right time. It'll even let you know when the door is ajar, so you can close it. Beware that the Smart Lock Pro will require some installation, but we found in our testing that it was a cinch to get this device up and running.