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Good Bye HomeKit

Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Dave!I have spent the past 35 years falling in love with everything Apple. It started with the Apple ][ personal computer and continued through the Macintosh then continued right up through the iPhone. I jump head-first into whatever Apple releases, and I've loved it.

But recently things started to change.

After waiting way, way too long for Apple to release a new "Pro" Mac, they came out with a steaming turd in 2013 which looked pretty, but was overpriced and lacking the things that pro users need. Then... THEN... they did the exact same thing with their MacBook "Pro." And it keeps going... they standardized on an expensive Thunderbolt peripheral port, then abandoned it... they developed the brilliant MagSafe power adapter, then abandoned it... Apple TV can't stream worth a crap, even in its 4th generation model, and the remote is horrific... their mice are built to pit and deteriorate... the list goes on and on, and it's nuts.

And the software side isn't much better. MacOS X has developed so many problems that it feels as though it's been abandoned. They dumped Aperture, their photo cataloging software, after luring people into adopting it. They screwed up iMovie so much that a once-joyful program to use is a frustrating joke.

But the final straw for me was HomeKit.

I've long obsessed over home automation, so when I bought a home where I could install home automation devices, I went full-throttle. Apple had been developing their own home automation ecosystem, called "HomeKit," but it was tough to find any devices. And so I held off until HomeKit devices were released.

Then it happened. Schlage released "Sense" HomeKit-enabled door lock. So cool!

Until I got them, that is.

The locks are great, but the HomeKit functionality is garbage. It never works reliably, and half the time I can't even connect... despite having AppleTV's within 6-feet of them (HomeKit uses AppleTV as a hub). But that's not even the half of it. After all my waiting, HomeKit was laughably incapable and feature-poor. Tons of devices weren't supported... or even available if they were supported.

I immediately regretted buying HomeKit locks, and never bought another HomeKit device. And ever since then I've been dying to replace my locks, but couldn't bring myself to walk away from the hundreds of dollars I spent on them.

And then...

Schlage has released a WiFi interface which allows you to control your locks without having to use crappy HomeKit...

Schlage WiFi Interface

If your locks are set up with HomeKit, you have to reset them to factory defaults and start over again. If you don't, you can't connect them to the WiFi Adapter. Also... they will start screeching an alarm if you try, which I found out the hard way (sorry kitties).

Your lock has to be within 40 feet of the adapter (just like HomeKit, since both use Bluetooth connections). This was no problem for me, and I was able to use one adapter for both my locks (it supports a maximum of two).


It works as advertised. Once you set up a Schlage account as a gateway between the locks and your phone's Schlage app, you can control your locks remotely and see their status. Access is blazingly fast and reliable compared to HomeKit. Every once in a while I'll get a bit of a lag, but at least I can always connect.

Then there's the ability to ask Alexa if a door is locked... and then lock it if it isn't (for security reasons, you can't unlock a door via Alexa). I don't know how handy this would be, but it's nice to know it's there. Except when it's not. Because no matter how many times I link and unlink and re-link the skill, Alexa tells me the lock can't be reached... even though both locks show up in my Smart Home list. I've sent an email to Schlage customer service for help... fingers crossed.

And so... good bye to the massive failure known as HomeKit. And good bye to the seventy bucks it cost me to rectify this disaster. But, hey, at least I didn't have to spend hundreds to replace my locks!

My hope is that one day Apple will just bag HomeKit and buy out a company like INSTEON so they have an integrated home automation system that works. Heaven only knows they've got the cash. Until then, I'm just glad to be rid of that one piece of home automation that's never worked for me.

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Categories: Apple Stuff 2018, Home AutomationClick To It: Permalink


  1. Daniel Nowak says:

    Like you I agree that homekit is a steaming pile of shit. I know you like Alexa integration. I have tried a newer way of doing things that might work for you. I use Home Assistant. Its open source and has a little bit of a learning curve. But I find that I like using one of these hubs because they integrate with everything. Like for instance I know you use the harmony hub. It works great with Hue but I have found it hit and miss with my insteon system. But home assistant works just fine with all three. So I set the rules in Home Assistant. If you setup Alex intergration you can still have Alexa send commands to Home Assistant. If you have the ability to program you can make it do wild things. Now I just set it up, So I don’t have it fulling doing everything but I like that it integrates with everything I have. Even if you keep your current setup while you play with Home Assistant to see if you like it. It also helps you get single pane of glass info about your home. The setup is cheap. You need a raspberry pi three. If you give it a try just start by getting your items setup. And in your free time setup rules to control everything.

    • Daver says:

      I wasn’t smart enough for Home Assistant. :-) I went with an ISY 994i instead and then use MobiLinc Pro to control it with my iPhone and Alexa. It’s also programmable (I have it doing wild things, like using the porch light to remind me to take the garbage out on garbage day when I pull up… and change color if it’s the week to recycle as well). Thanks to ISY and Alexa, every single thing I have is integrated… except for my door locks, which relied on HomeShit. Now that they are no longer using HomeShit, everything is (finally!) working perfectly!

      • Daniel Nowak says:

        I have heard great things about the ISY994i When I was ready to throw my insteon out the window I thought about buying it. Now I am just going to remove the insteon from my house and replace it with Lutron.

        You know its funny you say you were not smart enough for Home Assistant. I had the same experience but with OpenHAB. I like what it does better than home assistant but dam is it hard to get configured right.

  2. martymankins says:

    I know many others, like yourself, that have has nothing but issue with HomeKit. I’ve never dived into this home automation platform and never planned to. Sad they dropped the ball on so many levels here.

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