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On September 19th, 2017, LIFX finally announced support for HomeKit, Apple’s home automation platform. Support is limited to the third generation LIFX and LIFX + lights and available via a firmware upgrade.
Shop mentioned products
- LIFX Wi-Fi-enabled Smart LEDs (Amazon*)
LIFX makes Wi-Fi-enabled smart LEDs that you can control from your mobile phone. With the latest firmware update, you can now use Siri to turn a light on/off and more.
If you are not familiar with LIFX, I suggest you take a look at my original LIFX review!
Apple HomeKit requires specialized hardware in supported devices. That’s why only the latest generation (Gen 3) LIFX lights work with HomeKit. You can identify Gen 3 lights with the model prefix “LH.”
Note: Apple announced at its last World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) that it would make it easier for device manufacturers to integrate with HomeKit via software, but I don’t know how far Apple has progressed with those changes.
A list of compatible LIFX lights is available here and includes the following models:
- A19 and LIFX + A19
- BR30 and LIFX + BR30
- Mini (available for pre-order)
Unfortunately, the LIFX Z LED strip does not support HomeKit, probably because it doesn’t have the necessary hardware.
“The HomeKit ecosystem is something we’re thrilled to be a member of. Apple builds amazing experiences, and we’re excited to see LIFX added to the HomeKit ecosystem,” said Marc Alexander, Chief Executive Officer at LIFX.
How to upgrade existing lights
I already had a couple of compatible LIFX bulbs in my home that I wanted to update. The process was relatively simple and included the following steps:
- Update LIFX app on my iPhone via App Store to the latest version
- Open LIFX app and follow prompts to update the firmware (v2.69) of each compatible light. Note: There is also a firmware update available for the LIFX Z. So for a moment, my hopes of getting HomeKit support went up. But unfortunately, that was not the case.
- If the app doesn’t prompt you to update the firmware, or if the light you are trying to update is offline, you can start the update process anytime later, by clicking on the light and then on the notification icon.
I skipped the firmware update right after installing the new app, and instead, updated each light individually:
After the firmware you should see an “Update Firmware Welcome to HomeKit” screen that allows you to connect your light(s) to HomeKit via the following steps:
- Get the required HomeKit Code (make sure you write that code down)
- Pair the light with HomeKit
The second step is easy if you have a second device, like an iPad. That way, you can easily use your iPhone’s camera to scan the code. I performed all steps on my iPhone and thus, had to enter the code manually as shown in the screenshots!
With some of the light, I got an error message, likely because I waited too long with entering the HomeKit Code. If that happens to you, just retry.
How to add new lights
Adding a new light is almost as easy as upgrading an existing light. Just add the new light via the LIFX app as I described in my original review and then go through the above upgrade and pairing process.
LIFX app vs. Home app
During the HomeKit pairing process, I noticed a few redundancies. For example, both the LIFX cloud as well as HomeKit allow you to assign the light to a room, location, and group. Unfortunately, those configuration options don’t sync between the two platforms. I decided, to only maintain those parameters in HomeKit for compatible devices. That’s also where I have set up my automation workflows. For lights that are not compatible with HomeKit, such as the LIFX Z light strip, I use the LIFX app and cloud instead. That’s a bit of an inconvenience, but I only have two incompatible light strips that are affected by that. Fortunately, all my other bulbs are HomeKit compatible.
LIFX lights now work with Apple HomeKit
Overall, I am thrilled that LIFX finally supports Apple HomeKit. It feels a bit magical to say “Goodnight, Siri” and all lights turn off within a split second.
More information is available on the LIFX web page.