One of the new features of iOS 12 that hasn’t gotten much attention is shortcuts. Shortcuts are automation routines that you can run on your iPhone or iPad, making complex tasks as easy as tapping a button or giving a command to Siri. Shortcuts aren’t that simple to create, but you can find many pre-made shortcuts and use them as is or adapt them to your needs. Here’s a primer on using shortcuts for iOS.
“Smart home” devices are everywhere these days–you can buy internet-connected light bulbs, thermostats, door locks, sensors, and dozens of other products. But these devices aren’t very smart on their own. Apple’s HomeKit platform offers a way to integrate, monitor, control, and automate smart home devices from a wide variety of manufacturers. Using the built-in Home app on an iOS device (perhaps along with third-party apps), you can connect to your various smart devices, see what they’re up to, control them, and even get them to operate on a schedule or respond to changing conditions in your home automatically.
Even with HomeKit, however, home automation can be a daunting prospect. That’s why TidBITS Managing Editor Josh Centers wrote Take Control of Apple Home Automation. The book walks you carefully through every step of the process, showing you how you can start with a basic system that costs less than $50 and work your way up to as much complexity as you want or need. And you don’t have to be a computer geek to simplify and improve your life with HomeKit-compatible products. Even if you don’t know a wire nut from a macadamia or which end of a screwdriver to stick in a socket (spoiler: neither!), Josh’s thorough advice will enable you to work wonders in your home.
In this book, you’ll learn:
The most common home automation myths (and why you shouldn’t worry about them)
How to choose HomeKit-compatible devices that meet your needs, and which products you might want to avoid
Exactly what HomeKit is, what it does, how it works, and what its limitations are
Why you need a hub (in the form of an Apple TV, HomePod, or iPad) and how to set it up
Important safety rules for working with electrical products, especially those that require wiring
How to install advanced accessories such as a smart switch, thermostat, or door/window sensor–including illustrated, step-by-step instructions
What Apple’s Home app for iOS does–and how to configure homes, zones, rooms, accessories, services, and scenes
Tips for controlling your smart home using an iOS device, Apple Watch, or Siri
Ways to automate your smart home using schedules, sensors, geofencing, and other tools (without making your house seem haunted)