Welcome to my favorite section of the Siri Guide. Siri Home commands encompass two major areas: Siri commands with the Home App and Siri HomeKit Commands, commands that interact with your HomeKit enabled devices. This post should serve as a teaser to the huge number of commands Siri supports with HomeKit—with even more to come.
Siri has subtle yet powerful targeting abilities when it comes to your HomeKit devices. More specifically, Siri handles both broad and specific phrases, meaning you can either pick exactly what smart device you want to interact with or other times you don’t need to even specify which device you want to target. Siri is often smart enough to infer what device you want to control at any given point.
See the most common questions answered in the FAQ section, or view the complete list of Siri commands for HomeKit under Keeping Up With Siri in the table of contents below.
What is HomeKit?
HomeKit is Apple’s framework that connects smart devices to the Apple ecosystem. For most users, it’s simply a technical detail that doesn’t matter much.
This is all you need to know about HomeKit. If you want to use a smart device, like a Smart Light or a Smart Camera, with your iPhone, Siri, or HomePod, it needs to be “HomeKit- enabled.” For instance, If you see the below logo, you know the smart device you’re looking at will work with Apple’s devices.
What do I need to use the Home App?
To use the Home App, you need smart devices that support HomeKit. That’s one of the beauties of HomeKit. To start out, look into getting a few Smart Lights that support HomeKit.
What’s the difference between the Home App, HomeKit, and Siri?
- Mostly just marketing. All three are very much connected. Think of it this way: The Home App is how you interact with your smart devices visually, or with a screen, or the Graphical User Interface.
- Siri is how you interact with your smart devices with your voice, or the Voice User Interface.
- HomeKit is the glue that keeps everything working behind the curtain.
Can Siri control HomeKit?
Yes, absolutely! Siri can control your HomeKit-enabled devices. Generally, the rule of thumb is if you can control it in the Home App, you can also use Siri. For more information, check out the commands below.
What accessories can HomeKit control?
Apple likes to use the term “accessory” when referring to smart devices. I chalk this up to one of Apple’s quirks. With that in mind, Apple does have an official list of supported accessories—or smart devices. This list usually gets updated a few times a year. Here’s the current list of smart device types that HomeKit and Siri supports:
- Air Conditioners
- Air Purifiers
- Garage Doors
- Security Systems
- Sprinkler Systems
Can Siri control home devices?
Yes. If the device is in your Home App, Siri can control and interact with it. Check out some commands below.
Can Siri control Google Home?
No. Siri isn’t integrated with Google’s Voice Assistant, Google Assistant, or with Amazon’s Alexa. Each of these Voice Assistants are working on their own ecosystems, so cross talk is pretty rare.
How should I name my smart device?
How you name your smart device has a huge impact on Siri or any Voice Assistant for that matter. There are some pitfalls to avoid in getting the best experience and not confuse Siri, so I’d recommend you learn how to name smart devices.
If you only take one tip away, it’s this: don’t name your smart light “Light.” Pick something more specific. You’ll thank me later.
Keeping Up With Siri
Are you having trouble knowing what you can say or ask Siri to do? Getting the most out of your iPhone and other Apple devices requires learning Siri commands. But it’s tough to know just what all is available to you. That’s where Keeping Up With Siri comes in. In this series, I outline Apple’s Siri Guide of 366 commands spread out within 28 different categories—Home commands being one of them. This post focuses on using Siri to control HomeKit-enabled smart devices or accessories and the Home App with your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and HomePod—basically anywhere you can control your HomeKit devices.
“Hey Siri, turn on the porch light”
With Siri, you can turn your Smart Lights on or off by name. When you use this command, Siri will turn off your HomeKit light named “porch light.”
Note that the accessory named “porch light” could be anything. For example, you could also name a Smart Switch or Smart Plug “porch light” and use this command. Siri will understand and turn on your smart device like you expect.
“Hey Siri, lock the door”
Siri can control your Smart Door Locks. When you use this command, Siri will lock the door and confirm when your door is locked for you.
What’s also worth noting with this command is that it refers to your Smart Door Lock as “door,” which isn’t necessarily the name you gave it. That’s because Siri also understands smart device types, like Smart Lights and Smart Door Locks. This means you can use Siri to control all smart device types, even if you forget names.
For example, this command also works: “Hey Siri, lock all the doors.” This command will target all Smart Door Locks. While this functionality is subtle, it’s incredibly useful.
“Hey Siri, set the Tahoe house to 72 degrees”
With this command, Apple highlights how you can target a smart device with more than just the device name and its type. You can also target with groups in the Home App, like homes, rooms, and zones. What’s also interesting to note is this is the first example of a thermostat command within Apple’s Guide. Even though the command doesn’t specify the thermostat directly, it does mention degrees, which is enough for Siri to know a thermostat is the target.
When you use this command, Siri finds a thermostat in your HomeKit home named “Tahoe house.” Once findingthat thermostat, Siri changes the temperature to be either increased or decreased, depending on the current temperature setting.
“Hey Siri, turn off the living room lights”
The interesting takeaway from this command is the ability to combine types and groups for targeting. It’s really helpful if you don’t remember the names of your devices, for example.
When you use this command, Siri finds all smart devices in the living room that are also Smart Lights and then turns all of those smart devices off.
“Hey Siri, show me the entryway camera”
You can use Siri to open a HomeKit-enabled camera by name in the Home App.
For instance, when you give this command, Siri opens the Home App and shows the camera you specified in full screen.
“Hey Siri, arm my security system”
Siri and HomeKit also support Security Systems, although there aren’t many HomeKit-enabled Security Systems available yet. This command sets your security system to armed, meaning intruder detection becomes active.
“Hey Siri, turn on the TV”
Siri can control your TV. When you use this command, Siri turns your HomeKit-enabled television on. While there aren’t many TVs that are HomeKit-enabled yet, this is a really nice feature to have, especially when using HomeKit Scenes and Automations.
“Hey Siri, set the master bedroom and living room to 72 degrees”
Siri has another unique feature with thermostats. When you give this command, Siri targets thermostats in two different rooms, setting them both to 72 degrees.
The assumption here is you have two thermostats and one in each room called “master bedroom” and “living room.” A pretty rare scenario. How many homes have two separate thermostats? Maybe this command is specific for Tim Cook’s home?
“Hey Siri, dim the floor lamp and the nightstand lamp”
You can target multiple devices by device name. Watch out, though, as there is one gotcha to look out for with this command. Notice how both targeted smart devices are lamps? That’s an important detail. Siri won’t let you target two different smart device types at once. For instance, you couldn’t say, “turn on the floor lap and the tv.” Siri doesn’t support that.
Also with this command, Apple shows that Siri understands the words “dim” and “brighten.” Both of these words will cause Siri to slightly increase or decrease the brightness of your Smart Lights. That’s a nice addition, as the words are much more natural to use than the cluckly and more robotic phrasing of “set the lights to 5%.”
“Hey Siri, turn on the lights upstairs, except the nursery”
Siri continues to show us the capability for more complex targeting. With this command, Siri removes smart devices from being targeted. So if you want to turn off all lights except one in a particular room or home, this command is for you.
For instance, after giving this command, all lights in the upstairs zone will be turned on, minus the lights in the room named “nursery.”
This pattern is a bit harder to put into practice, though. It still has the limitations that the previous command has. All smart devices targeted need to be of the same type, which can make things confusing and even frustrating.
“Hey Siri, turn off everything except the bedside lamp”
Here’s a clearer command example with the word “except.” When you use this command, all lights in your home turn off, minus one. Siri won’t target the light named “bedside lamp.”
If you find yourself using this command often, it’s probably time to set up the “Good Night” Scene in the Home App.
“Hey Siri, make it warmer”
With this command, Apple shows how Siri understands some relative phrases, rather than absolutes like 5 degrees, in order to adjust the temperature. If you aren’t concerned about the temperature value too much, try this out.
When you use this command, Siri increases the temperature 5 degrees or so. Also, the inverse works as well. You can “make it cooler,” a much more useful command down here in Florida where it’s currently 91F but feels more like 103F.
“Hey Siri, set the living room lights to 75%”
This command puzzles me, as I’m not sure why Apple included it here. My only guess is Apple wants to show that Siri can control brightness with Smart Lights using percentages.
For instance, when you give this command, Siri sets the brightness on all Smart Lights in the living room to 75%. Pretty straightforward.
“Hey Siri, open the shades halfway”
With this command, Apple highlights how Siri also supports Smart Shades or Blinds. The term “halfway” is also understood to mean the same thing as 50%.
When you use this command, Siri sets your smart shades at 50%.
“Hey Siri, turn up the heat a little bit”
Here’s another temperature command where you don’t have to specify the exact temperature value. “A little bit” means the same thing as “warmer” when talking to Siri. For example, when you say this command, Siri increases the temperature 5 degrees or so.
“Hey Siri, cool the bedroom”
Apple makes it clear that the inverse of “warmer” also works. When you use this command, Siri targets the thermostat in the bedroom and reduces the temperature by 5 degrees or so.
“Hey Siri, set up for a party”
“Hey Siri, Good Night”
“Hey Siri, I’m home”
“Hey Siri, I’m leaving”
“Hey Siri, Movie Night”
All of these commands are examples of HomeKit Scenes. What’s a Scene? Think of a Scene as a special phrase that lets you configure multiple smart devices at once.
In the Home App, you can create Scenes with a name that Siri understands, like “Good Night” or “I’m Home” or any of the examples Apple gives above.
For each scene you create, you can add any smart device, or accessory, to the scene. By adding a smart device, you also specify what setting you want your smart device to be in. For example, if it’s a Smart Light, you can specify whether you want it on or off, the brightness, and the color. Then, when you use the scene’s name with Siri, all devices you added to your scene will be set up the way you want.
Some popular scene names are:
- Good Morning
- Good Night
- I’m Home
- I’m Leaving
These are popular because the names allow you to set up your smart home at specific events of the day. In all of these cases, you can set up your smart home to be in just the right configuration that you want. I find “Good Morning” and “Good Night” to be especially useful.
“Hey Siri, did I lock the door?”
I really like this command. I use it often with my Smart Door Lock. When you use this command, Siri tells you if the door is locked or not. If the door isn’t locked, Siri asks if you want to lock it. If you reply yes, Siri locks the door for you.
It feels natural to say, and it has the extra benefit of helping me lock the door if I had previously forgotten to.
“Hey Siri, is the porch light on?”
When you ask this, Siri gives the status of the smart light—whether it’s on or off. Nothing more.
“Hey Siri, what’s the temperature in the living room?”
Here’s another command that gives you the status of your smart device, but there’s one subtle difference. The command doesn’t specify any smart device. Instead, you’re asking about a measurement. This command highlights Siri’s ability to know that temperature is linked to temperature sensors and thermostats.
Ask this command to have Siri read out the current temperature, either from a temperature sensor or a thermostat. It’s up to Siri to choose the right smart device to read from.
“Hey Siri, is my security system tripped?”
This command is a bit of a reach. How would you ask if your security system is going off? It begs the question of would you even need to.
Truthfully, I’d want my security system to let me know it’s tripped, but asking Siri doesn’t make too much sense to me. When you ask this command, Siri responds with the status of your security system. Good luck remembering this phrasing though.
“Hey Siri, did I remember to turn off the lights?”
“Hey Siri, did I leave the garage door open?”
Both of these commands have similar behavior to when you ask, “did I forget to lock the door.” Siri tells you the status and asks if you want to change it. Here Apple shows that behavior works for other smart devices, not just for Smart Door Locks. Siri also supports Smart Lights and a new smart device type, Garage Doors.
I find this pattern really helpful and unique to the Siri experience.
“Hey Siri, is there movement in the living room?”
When you give this command, Siri tells you the status of any motion sensors you have. Siri simply responds if there is or isn’t movement.
Not really useful. I don’t believe many people are asking Siri about their motion sensors. Instead, motion sensors are much more useful for automations in the Home App.
“Hey Siri, what’s the air quality indoors?”
Air Quality can be controlled by Air Purifiers and Air Quality Sensors. When you use this command, Siri responds with the quality setting of your Air Quality Sensor.
Note that the term “indoors” is an important addition. That extra word is how Siri knows you’re talking about your smart devices, not the outside air quality from a weather service.
“Hey Siri, show my security camera recordings from yesterday”
Here’s another command related to cameras and a fairly new addition with iOS 13 with HomeKit’s improvements to cameras. When you give this command, Siri opens the Home App on the recordings screen. The slider is placed on recordings from the previous day.
With the above commands, you’re able to get the most out of your smart home using Siri to control your HomeKit-enabled smart devices. If you’re interested in learning more of what Siri can do, follow along to the series Keeping Up With Siri Commands.