Get smart with these home control apps
Michael Ansaldo reveals the Apple Watch apps that will let you control your home from your wrist
Plenty has been said about how the Apple Watch changes the way we do everything from working out to making purchases. What’s been glossed over is that it’s also ideal for interacting with our homes. Tapping, pressing, swiping and glancing make for a fluid way to access and control smart-home products. And it’s always on your wrist, so you don’t have to dig for it in your pockets when you need to dim the lights or take a peek at the security cameras. Apps abound for connecting with and controlling smart-home appliances. Here are our favourites.
Price: Free A must for Philips Hue users, this third-party app gives you complete remote control of the energy-efficient lighting system. Huemote goes beyond the basic functions of Philips’ official Hue app, enabling you to control up to 16 lights simultaneously, save your favourite light settings as ‘scenes’, and sync your settings across devices via iCloud.
WeTap! for Belkin WeMo
Price: £1.49 Belkin’s WeMo technology powers a range of smart-home products, from cameras to coffee makers. The company’s official app doesn’t yet support all its devices, but it does allow you to easily manage your WeMo lights and switches. The only requirements are that you have at least one switch installed and all devices are on the same Wi-Fi network.
Drip for Dropcam
Price: £2.29 The Nest Cam (formerly Dropcam) is the granddaddy of home security cameras. Owners of either model would do well to download this app. While it doesn’t show live camera feeds, it does display a live image every three seconds, so you can keep an eye on the homestead. It supports multiple cameras, and you can turn each of them on and off from the app. Future versions will let you enable/disable night vision.
Price: Free This app connects to the Withings Home, a DIY security camera with night vision, two-way audio, and a 135-degree viewing angle. It streams the camera’s live feed and sends motion- and sound-detection alerts right to your wrist. You can even access the camera’s ‘Homelapse’ feature, which condenses the day’s events into a few seconds of video for digest-sized viewing.
Price: Free Alarm.com is a smart home as a service provider with more than two million subscribers. If you’re one of them, this app allows you to remotely arm or disarm your security panel, control lights, lock and unlock doors, watch live and recorded videos from your security cameras, and receive Glances on your home status. You can also get alerts about specific events, such as when your children arrive home from school.
Price: Free Samsung’s SmartThings Hub lets you to wirelessly integrate hundreds of compatible smart devices. This app doesn’t support all of them, but it lets you control lights, thermostats, and security devices via pre-configured settings for mornings, nights, and times when you’re away.
Price: £7.99 for the app, plus subscription fee Run your home entertainment system from your wrist, and you’ll never have to worry about misplacing your remotes. That’s the idea behind this app, a universal control for TVs, Blu-ray players, cable and streaming boxes, receivers, lighting, cameras, and thermostats. It’s compatible with many of the biggest brands in home automation and home entertainment system.
Price: Free Ecobee introduced the first Wi-Fi-connected smart thermostat in 2009. Its flagship product, the ecobee3, uses multiple remote sensors to help deliver the right temperature based on where you are in your home. This app lets you remotely manage temperature and humidity settings; change fan modes; and view system status, sensor data, and local forecasts so you can create the optimum environment.
Insteon for Hub
Price: Free Users of the Insteon DIY smart home system should download this app. Once you pair your Apple Watch with your Insteon Hub, you can remotely control your thermostats, lights, and other appliances; view camera feeds; receive alerts from motion and water leak sensors; and more. You can also create ‘scenes’ to activate multiple appliances at once.