For Apple users the Home app on your smartphone is the best app for controlling your smartphone devices but what if your device doesn’t support HomeKit? HomeBridge is a free operating system for Raspberry Pi’s that allows you to make your non-homekit devices compatible with HomeKit.
Why use HomeBridge?
The Home app from Apple is on every iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch and has a clear, easy to use interface, interacts well with Siri and has shortcuts available from Control Centre which makes it the perfect way to control your smart home devices. However, the downfall is that often HomeKit compatible devices are at the more expensive end of the smartphone market (with the exception of Meross who are catering for the budget end really well). This is where HomeBridge comes in, allowing you to add your non-homekit devices to your Apple Home app.
Getting this up and running is relatively simple but is probably more for advanced users.
What is HomeBridge?
HomeBridge is a free operating system that is built on top of Raspbian that brings HomeKit support for non-HomeKit devices including those by ring, Nest, TUYA/Smart Life and Eufy. There are a range of official and non-official plugins for HomeBridge.
This allows you to then see your non-HomeKit compatible devices in your Home app and create automations or just turn things on or off.
Getting Started with HomeBridge
Getting started with HomeBridge requires you to have a Raspberry Pi. I run mine on a Raspberry Pi Zero which costs around £35. From there you just follow the instructions on the HomeBridge GitHub to install their Raspberry Pi image and set up your devices.
From that point onwards you just need to add any extra devices and plugins to your HomeBridge setup by visiting the web browser interface.
All Your Smart Home Devices in One Place
Once that’s all set up you will find all your non-HomeKit devices in your Apple home app. You can then use them with automations or just turn them on or off, for example, I have my SONOFF Mini’s hooked up with an automation with my Hue lights via my Home app. This is great because it works every time thanks to my Apple TV acting as the Apple Home Hub.
There are of course, other options out there compared to HomeBridge, the most popular one being Home Assistant which offers many more features however, for the simple task of adding devices to the Home app and doing the rest in that app I’ve found that HomeBridge is brilliant, it’s simple, works well and is reliable. There’s also a great developer network out there which means I’ve successfully got products from Eufy, TUYA, SONOFF, Ring and SwitchBot to work with no problems at all.
If you’ve got any questions about HomeBridge or want to know more about my set up then drop a comment below. You might also like to read our other posts about smart homes.