Apple TV required for controlling HomeKit devices with Siri while away from home

“CES 2015 has given us a deluge of new HomeKit announcements,” Thomas Ricker and Jacob Kastrenakes report for The Verge. “Thus far, we’ve seen several smart outlets, a garage door opener, light bulb adapters, a door lock, and a power strip from vendors such as iDevices, iHome, GridConnect, Chamberlain, Schlage, and Incipio. Elgato announced an entire range of HomeKit sensors while Insteon introduced a full-on hub that bridges HomeKit-compatible devices with Insteon’s vast catalog of otherwise incompatible smart home accessories.”

Ricker and Kastrenakes report, “Each new Wi-Fi device also shares one common trait: an Apple TV is required if you want to control them with Siri while away from home.”

“So, while commands like “Siri, turn off the lights in the living room” will always work while connected to your home Wi-Fi network, they won’t from the airport unless you have an Apple TV. But that’s it — you can still switch off the lights with an app, no Apple TV required,” Ricker and Kastrenakes report. “Only third-generation or later Apple TVs running software 7.0 or later will support HomeKit.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Essentially, the Apple ‘TV’ has joined The Internet of Things.

    Next up: Hackers bashing on the Apple TV via the Internet to see if they can PWN and bot it. This has already been happening with a wide variety of IOT devices that have been implicated in huge botnets. It seems silly to me, but one’s ‘smart’ refrigerator could be mining bitcoins for some bums on the other side of the planet, or spewing spam, or contributing to DDOS attacks. I’d hate to see the Apple TV be similarly PWNed.

    How does one run anti-malware software on one’s Apple TV? Is Apple integrating XProtect? Is Apple walling the Apple TV garden as with other iOS devices? Will there be HomeKit related adware? Will stupid MacKeeper attempt to infect itself onto an AppleTV? Imagine that horror. 😉

    1. Probably the reason Apple picked it. It will be easier to firewall an Apple TV than any of their other products. It only needs one open port and they can limit the port to Apple owned IP addresses.

        1. Couldn’t a Time Capsule be equally ideal? Or any Airport model? As we know, Apple TV needs a display to be used effectively. Many, perhaps most, users would prefer to control their Homekit from their existing iOS or Macs, not their televisions.

  2. Wonder if this will work with Apple TV when your not home as good as the apple made remote app works with Apple TV, for most people it just doesn’t work! Read all the reviews in the App Store. So ya, add more broken basic functions to Apple TV, then wait a year to fix it, if ever. Not so excited for this anymore with the constant lack of apple fixing things in a timely fashion when they’re broke!

    1. I too am not ready for upbeat american company with wiggling cords that I read about on tech blog to broke!

      I spend a ton of money through my Apple TV and have had zero issues with the physical or app remotes. I am a heavy user.

  3. At least it explains why to a degree Apple TV is lagging behind a potential big upgrade. As is usual Apple policy it waits until it can announce the whole game rather than just bits that might get lost and have less impact. Or on the other hand maybe they just forgot what cupboard they put the plans in.

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