Get smart with these home con­trol apps

Michael An­saldo re­veals the Ap­ple Watch apps that will let you con­trol your home from your wrist

Macworld - - Contents -

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.

Withings Home

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 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.

SmartThings Mo­bile

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.

Sim­ple Con­trol

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.

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