Expanding on our reviews of HomeKit control apps, this post reviews the iDevices HomeKit control app for iOS.
The iDevices app falls into the category of manufacturer created apps for HomeKit management, as iDevices manufactures a handful of HomeKit compatible devices, including indoor and outdoor plug-in outlet switches, thermostats and cooking thermometers. Recently, Weber purchased the grilling and kitchen thermometer product line from iDevices, so it will be interesting to see where that goes in the future.
It is worth noting that, unlike many of the other manufacturer apps we will review, we have not yet tested any of iDevices actual devices or products, so this review will not include the brief device review section some of the other manufacturer app reviews have included.
iDevices Connected iOS App
The iDevices Connected app (iTunes link, iDevices website link) is one of my favorite manufacturer built HomeKit control apps. As noted in our review of the Elgato Eve iOS app, the Eve app is my go-to app for quick control of the system, but I always keep the iDevices app handy as well for more in-depth system configuration and management.
The main drawback to the iDevices app is that it takes more steps than is probably absolutely necessary to make changes to a device’s status. This is especially irritating when trying to adjust the color or brightness of a Hue device. In the Eve app, I am able to go to the room that contains the light, tap on the characteristic I want to change which causes that characteristic to expand inline in the room view, and adjust the characteristic as desired. In the iDevices app, from the room view I can turn the device on or off, but to edit other characteristics I need to tap into the device, and then tap into the characteristic I want to edit, which opens a view of the characteristic from which I can actually make the changes I want to make. While the total number of taps is about the same, the fact that the iDevices app has to load multiple additional views to complete this action slows the process down tremendously.
When it comes to building and managing HomeKit scenes, the iDevices app is one of the best tools currently available. The scene building and editing tools provide a very user-friendly view of your device’s controllable characteristics, and the way you add and remove devices and characteristics from a scene as you are building it or editing it is very intuitive and user-friendly (which can’t be said for all of the apps that support HomeKit scene management at this time).
While the iDevices app doesn’t have a full implementation of HomeKit triggers, it does support the basic time-based triggers (which it refers to as “schedules”), and actually associates them with the scenes they trigger in a way that most other apps that support triggers don’t. The device view described and shown above also provides access to a view that shows all of the scenes you currently have that include the device you are viewing, which can be useful when you have a large number of scenes and you add a new device to your system, this view can be used to ensure you have added the device to all of the scenes it belongs in.
Building or editing a scene in the iDevices app is a very intuitive and user friendly experience. For example, if I wanted to modify my “Brew Espresso” scene (shown here) to also turn on one of the bulbs in my Kitchen ceiling light when it turns on my Espresso Machine (which is already an action in the scene), I would:
- When viewing the scene I wish to add a device to, tap on “Add Actions”
- Select the device I want to add an action for to the scene from the list of devices that appears (note that you can also quick-add a basic command for an entire category, such as Lightbulbs, if you just want to turn everything in that category on or off and don’t need to control individual devices characteristics with the action)
- For the device, determine whether I want it to be turned on or off via the toggle on the same line as the device’s name (shown here in the “Off” state), and then customize the device’s characteristics to be set by the scene (for the bulb shown here, which is a standard white Hue bulb, this means adjusting the brightness, for color bulbs you could also adjust the color and saturation here)
- After I have configured the action I want to execute for the device, I would tap “Done” in the upper right corner and that action will be added to the scene
While this process does still involve a lot of tapping and views, the fact that it clearly shows all of the relevant information and characteristics for devices makes it much more intuitive than the scene configuration tools in many other HomeKit management apps.
In the iDevices app you can also replace the default images for homes, zones and rooms with pictures you take of your actual home and rooms (all of the images shown in the screenshots above are the default images the app selected for the homes and rooms when they were created in the app).
There is also an iPad version of the iDevices app, but it is basically identical to the iPhone version. While some iPhone to iPad conversions take advantage of the larger screen size to add a menu tier to the app with multiple views on screen at once, the iDevices app just displays more of a given view on the screen at once (so a list of scenes will show more scenes on screen at a time). This is somewhat disappointing in the case of the iDevices app, as an app with the depth of menus this one has is perfectly position to take advantage of a multi-panel menu tiering system on iPads.
As noted above, I have not actually tested any of the iDevices devices (say that five times fast…), so I’m not able to comment on the functionality of the devices in general or as it relates to the app.
iDevices does make some interesting HomeKit compatible products though, in addition to the basic indoor and outdoor outlet control switches they make kitchen and grill thermometers (which as noted above were recently sold to Weber), a thermostat and a product called “iShower” which is a waterproof bluetooth speaker for use in the shower, but doesn’t integrate with HomeKit and wouldn’t be something I would technically consider a SmartHome product.
While I don’t recommend the iDevices app as your primary HomeKit control app, it is one you should definitely have available on your phone for configuring scenes for your HomeKit setup. The app is really nice looking and user friendly, even though it does require a few more taps and views than necessary at times.