Homekit Geolocation Door Lock Workaround

I started to get into home automation in the last year and because I’m an Apple fanboy I went with Homekit from Apple.  The good part is that Apple tests every product to make sure they are high quality and don’t have vulnerabilities.  But, this also means you get fewer products and you are at Apple’s mercy for abilities.  Generally I like this walled garden approach but the most glaring problem is using geolocation triggers to unlock/lock a door.

The use case is obvious: You want the door to automatically lock as you drive away and automatically unlock as you arrive.  But Apple has decided that this is too insecure so you have to unlock your phone and accept a message each time the geolocation triggers.  Well here’s my workaround: have the geolocation trigger a different Homekit device.  Then set up an automation so that when that device changes, it locks/unlocks the door.  This works really well if you have an unused switch sitting around or if you have an iDevices switch because all the iDevices products come with a nightlight that is controllable as a separate Homekit device.

Here’s the automations I have set up:

  • When I arrive home, turn on iDevices night light.
  • When I leave home, turn off iDevices night light.
  • When iDevices night light turns on, unlock door.
  • When iDevices night light turns off, lock door.
  • When door is unlocked, turn iDevices night light on.
  • When door is locked, turn iDevices night light off.

I’ve got a iDevices switch that is behind a chair so I use the nightlight on it to control the August door lock.  The last two automations are there to make sure the door and nightlight are always in sync if the door is manually locked/unlocked.

I’m hoping that as Homekit becomes more widespread Apple will change this and just allow geolocation triggers for doors natively.  But until this, lets hope this “hack” keeps working.

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