Hueblog: For Apple users: This is how the HomeKit control unit works

For Apple users: This is how the HomeKit control unit works

This small guide is intended for Apple users who use HomeKit. I would like to explain what the HomeKit control centre is and how it works.

I myself like using HomeKit very much – and there are quite a few accessories that are supported by HomeKit. Philipe Hue of course, LIFX, Elgato products and many more. These devices can be bundled and controlled in the Home app. But if you want to access the devices remotely, you will have to set up a so-called control center.

If you want to control your lamps and accessories even outside the WLAN and/or Bluetooth range, you have to set up a control center. This can be an iPad with at least iOS 10.3 or an Apple TV 3 or Apple TV 4. Please keep in mind that the third generation does not support automation. In order for the control center to work, the two-factor authentication for the Apple ID, which became mandatory with iOS 11, must be enabled. You should also check if the device is activated as a control center.


  • Apple TV: Settings > Accounts > iCloud
  • iPad: Settings > Home > Use this iPad as a control center. Also make sure that both Home and the iCloud keychain are enabled in the iCloud settings.

HomeKit control unit: Connected, Standby & Disabled

To ensure remote access, the HomeKit control centre must always be online. We would also like to explain the differences between “Connected”, “Standby” and “Disabled”. You can view the status in the Home app by clicking on the location arrow in the home settings. In order for remote access to work, it is essential that “Connected” is displayed there.

If you have only one control centre set up and “Standby” is displayed, remote access will not work. Please check that all the above settings are correct. Sometimes only a complete reset will help. And if you use an iPad as control centre, you should always use it as your home iPad. If you also take the iPad with you to the office, you might get problems.

If you have multiple control centres, multiple Apple TVs work as repeaters and tunnels. One device is labeled “Connected” and the other is labeled “Standby”. HomeKit devices will automatically connect to the “connected” Apple TV. If this option is not available, the other control centre will be contacted. However, the standby device is still active and allows the switching of devices nearby – just not remotely.

If your status is “Disabled”, you probably have an Apple TV 3 and Apple TV 4 in use at the same time. When an Apple TV 4 is added, the old Apple TV 3 is disabled for remote access to HomeKit.

Assign user rights for HomeKit

If you want your girlfriend, partner, mother, father etc. to be able to access your HomeKit devices as well, you have to add each user to your “house” via Apple ID. The options available here are remote access and the editing and adding of new devices.



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