Just picked up a HomeKit-enabled device? Here’s how to get it to work with Siri.

The first round of HomeKit devices are here, and with them comes the first home automation devices that can interact with Siri, Apple’s voice-activated assistant. Once you’ve installed and connected your HomeKit device, here’s how you set it up with Siri!

How to set up Siri with your HomeKit accessories

Apple doesn’t make a unified Home.app, so each of your HomeKit accessories has to first be set up separately within their respective apps. Once you’ve done so, you’ll need to open up the Siri Integration screen of the app to add those devices so that Siri can recognize them.

Siri understands custom names for devices, rooms, and zones (groupings of multiple rooms). By default, once you’ve named a HomeKit-enabled device, you’ll be able to control it with its name, but you may also want to set up groupings of rooms and zones. Here’s how to do so, though a note — exact steps may vary by app.

Add HomeKit Rooms to Siri

  1. Open the Siri Integration screen in your HomeKit app of choice.
  2. Tap on Rooms.
  3. Tap the plus button to add a new room.
  4. Name your room and select the devices you want to control within it.
  5. Press Save.

Add HomeKit Zones to Siri

  1. Open the Siri Integration screen in your HomeKit app of choice.
  2. Tap on Zones.
  3. Tap the plus button to add a new zone.
  4. Name your zone and select the rooms you want to control within it.
  5. Press Save.

Now, you can control all the devices in that room or zone by referring to it by name. It may take a few minutes for Siri to register those names, so don’t panic if it doesn’t happen immediately.

How to use your HomeKit accessories with multiple Apple IDs

If you have more than one person living in your home that you want to be able to control your HomeKit-enabled accessories, you can give them access via the Siri Integration screen. Here’s how.

  1. Open the Siri Integration screen in your HomeKit app of choice.
  2. Tap Edit Home & Users.
  3. Tap the Add User link to add your user’s Apple ID.
  4. Tap the Add User button.

Here are the commands you can use with Siri and HomeKit

When it comes to HomeKit commands, Siri is currently pretty limited: It understands custom device, room, and zone names; names of accessory types like “lights”, “blinds”, or “thermostat”; and commands like “on, off, or dim”.

This means that while you can call your rooms or zones something funny like “The Compound”, attempting to say something like Rene’s wishful “Crash the Compound!” will only get you a confused Google search from Siri (and pouting from our editor-in-chief). Saying “Turn off the Compound” will work just fine, however.

Using those guidelines, I’ve put together some common phrases you can use when controlling your rooms and zones with Siri.

“Turn on the lights” – This all-purpose command will turn on any HomeKit-enabled lights that you have in your home.

“Turn on Whitey lights” – This will turn on the HomeKit-enabled lights called “Whitey”.

“Turn on the lights in the Space Shuttle” – This will turn the lights on in a specific room (The Space Shuttle).

“Set the Living Room lights to 65” – This will dim the living room lights (if possible) to 65%. Note: You have to say “Living Room lights”, because if you just say “Living Room”, Siri will get confused and think you’re talking about a HomeKit thermostat or other numerically-controlled device. Likewise, say “Living Room thermostat” to change your thermostat function.

“Close the Space Shuttle blinds” – This will close your automated blinds.

“Turn off the Compound” – This will turn on every device in The Compound (my custom grouping of both the Space Shuttle and the Living Room).

Here’s what Siri can’t do with HomeKit

Along with the aforementioned lack of support for custom phrasing, like “Crash the Compound!”, Siri doesn’t yet understand combining geofencing with phrases. You can’t say, for example, “Turn the Compound lights off when I leave the house”; Siri will just assume you mean that you want the lights turned off immediately. There are several HomeKit devices that support geofencing and programmable scenes, however, so I’m hopeful that Siri might get this support sometime in the future.

Also disappointing: Siri on Apple Watch won’t currently accept any of these commands, booting you instead to your iPhone with Handoff. Add this to my list of Apple Watch features that I hope get added with version 2.0 of Watch OS.

Anything I missed?

Found a HomeKit Siri command I haven’t covered above? Mention it in the comments.

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