Homebridge : If you want more than just smart home appliances approved by Apple on HomeKit, here’s how to use Homebridge to unlock that.
As well integrated as HomeKit can be for iPhone and iPad owners building a smart home, there is an ongoing problem: compliance with the vast world of resources available to Amazon Alexa and Google Home users. Here’s how to put one together for use with bridge.
What is Homebridge and how does it improve HomeKit?
In fact, Homebridge is a free open source software that mimics the HomeKit API. You install the server software on a device that is always open (and always connected) such as a PC, Mac, or Raspberry Pi, and then there are plugins for the types of apps you are trying to install. Within the Apple Home app, bridge is treated as if it were just another bridge or harp.
The result, however, is that previously restricted accessories to Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Samsung SmartThings can be controlled via Apple Home and Siri. That includes features such as Alarm cameras, Nest thermostats, and Kasa smart plugs, complete with contextual controls. You can search the Homebridge.io website to see if you have created a plugin for your specific resources.
How to install Homebridge
Mainbridge platforms Windows 10, macOS, Raspberry Pi OS, Linux, and Docker. Although the exact directions will vary, the part that stays open / stays connected is important throughout the board. If you install bridge on a PC, for example, but turn off the machine every night, you will lose access to connected services in that window.
For this reason the Raspberry Pi is often regarded as the best Homebridge platform, as it is a cheaper and more integrated computer that is more hungry for power than a PC or Mac. Homebridge.io provides instructions on how to flash a Homebridge Raspberry Pi image to SD card or install software on your Pi.
Homebridge Wiki provides detailed instructions for other forums. We won’t cover them all here, but with Windows 10, the whole process looks like this:
Install the LTS version of Node.js. There are 32- and 64-bit versions, but you will probably want 64-bit on PC.
Install the Homebridge and Homebridge UI using the following Node.js administrator command: npm install -g -unsafe-perm homebridge-homebridge-config-ui-x
Set Homebridge as a service with hb-service install command.
How to Use Homebridge
Thankfully, the Homebridge community has created a local web interface that you can access at http: // localhost: 8581 once the server is installed. The default username and password are both “admin,” but you can and should change this.
Tabs in the web interface allow you to check server status and configuration information, but one of the first places you will want to visit is the Plugins tab. This allows you to install, update, and delete plugins for your services, otherwise Homebridge does not work.
The Status tab is important not only to show if bridge is working properly, but also to generate HomeKit codes to be compatible with the Apple Home app. The UI extracts both QR codes and numbers, the latter as a retrospective.
Here’s how to add Homebridge to Apple Home:
Bring the Status tab to the Homebridge UI.
On your iPhone or iPad, open the Apple Home app, and tap the merge icon at the top right.
Touch Add App.
Point your iPhone or iPad camera into the QR code, and the option to pair a standard bridge (see above) should appear automatically.
If it does not, press the text More options … from the Add Accessories screenshot, followed by My Supporter Not shown Here. You will get the option to enter a code set number.
Note in advance that the installation process can be even more complicated depending on which plugins you choose to install. Some may need a git utility, for example, or install windows-build-tools to integrate native code. As a rule, you should get (or be able to get) instructions if the plugin requires certain steps on your part.
The last thing you know as a beginner is that there are three important hb service commands in Node.js: start, stop, and restart. Forcing a start or restart can sometimes solve problems if bridge does not work properly.
That should be the hard part, though! If Homebridge works well, you can handle connected accessories like anything else in HomeKit. That includes direct control via Siri or Apple Home, as well as scheduled automation connected to apps and terms.