HomeKit101: How to Create a Simple Alarm/Siren with Automations

Welcome to HomeKit 101, our guide to navigating the Home App, Creating Automations and More within the HomeKit Universe.

When it comes to the smart home, there are two things that are pretty much synonymous with the technologies involved, automation and security. Unfortunately, on the HomeKit front, there is only one current security solution on the market, the Honeywell Lyric Controller, and its associated accessories. This solution however, requires a monitoring subscription just to enable HomeKit functionality, and does not take advantage of any existing hardware, such as door and window sensors that you may already have set up in the Home App. With the power of HomeKit, one should be able to DIY their own security system, with devices such as motion sensors, cameras, and the aforementioned contact sensors all being readily available. However, the last remaining piece to forming a “traditional” security system is a Siren to use as a deterrent for would be intruders, which there are none available for HomeKit. Thankfully, you can cobble together something that can suffice until that glorious day when a siren is finally released, so let’s get started.

What You Will Need:

Contact or Motion Sensor (already added to HomeKit), we recently reviewed Eve’s Door & Window Sensor and the Onvis SMS1 Motion Sensor

– Smart Plug (already added to HomeKit) such as the recently reviewed Sylvania Smart+ Plug

– Noise Making Device, Such as a Siren (example from Amazon), Radio, or Anything that makes noise when power is applied, plugged in to the Smart Plug

-iOS Home App

Setup:

On iOS 12

– Open the Home App

– Tap on the “Automation” tab at the bottom

– Tap the “+” icon

– Tap on “A Sensor Detects Something”

– Tap on the desired Sensors (Contact Sensor, Motion Sensor, etc)

– Tap on the desired “when” action (Opens, Detects Motion, etc)

– Tap on the Smart Plug that has the Noise Making Device connected

– Make sure that the Smart Plug is listed as “Turn On”, Tap the device tile if it is not already set

– Tap “Done”

On macOS

– Open the Home App

– Click the “+” Button at the top of the Home App Window on Any Tab

– Click “Add Automation”

– Click “A Sensor Detects Something”

– Click on the desired Sensors (Contact Sensor, Motion Sensor, etc)

– Click on the desired “when” action (Opens, Detects Motion, etc)

– Click on the Smart Plug that has the Noise Making Device connected

– Make sure that the Smart Plug is listed as “Turn On”, Click the device tile if it is not already set

– Click “Done”

That’s it! You now have a device all set up to activate your makeshift siren when the specific criteria is met. Of course, you can fine tune things to further enhance this functionality, such as defining what times this automation is active, to have it only active when nobody is home, or to set a “turn off” time which will stop the noise after a certain amount of time. You can also use this new found way to summon a noise to annoy others or make everyone in the home aware that something important is going on (such as dinner time maybe?). Now back to waiting for a proper HomeKit siren or the ability to play a sound on a HomePod…

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