Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Entertainment/Gaming/Gadgets

How to Automate Your Home with Your iPhone or iPad

  • Print
  • + Share This
In this article, Jason R. Rich takes a look at a handful of optional products that can be used with your Apple iPhone or iPad in order to automate and control appliances, lights, the thermostat, and other devices within your home from anywhere. Plus, you’ll discover how to use your iOS device as a wireless baby monitor, home video monitoring system, or even to track the location of your dog in real-time.
Like this article? We recommend

If you own a television set, you’re probably familiar with the concept of a wireless remote control that’s used to change the TV’s channel or adjust the volume. When used in conjunction with various apps and third-party products, your Apple iPhone or iPad can be used as a wireless remote control—not just for your television set, but for a wide range of electrical appliances, lighting, and even to adjust the temperature in your home from anywhere your iOS device has an Internet connection.

When used with optional wireless video cameras that are available from a handful of companies, your iPhone or iPad can also be used as a baby monitor that allows you to view live video feeds remotely via the Internet, whether you want to keep an eye on your child’s nursery or keep tabs on your home (and your pets) while you’re at work.

You’re about to discover a handful of cutting-edge, yet affordable products that can be used with your iOS mobile device that allow you to automate and/or monitor various aspects of your home. For the majority of these products to function, you’ll need a wireless network set up in your home, plus your iOS mobile device will need Internet access while you’re out and about.

The Nest Home Thermostat Can Keep Your Home’s Climate Comfortable

Electronic and programmable thermostats have been around for a while. However, the Nest Learning Thermostat not only gives you full control over the device using your iPhone or iPad from anywhere (inside or outside your home), it also learns your daily route and will adjust the air conditioning or heating system in your home based on your desired temperature while you’re present, but then automatically conserve energy and help to lower your utility bills while you’re away.

Once installed in your home, the Nest thermostat learns your personal schedule and will automatically turn down the heating or cooling system while you’re away, but ensure that while you’re home, the desired temperature is maintained. However, at anytime, you can remotely adjust or re-program the device using your iPhone or iPad.

With its sleek, contemporary, and circular design, the Nest thermostat ($249.00) will fit the décor of any home, and is virtually guaranteed to lower your utility bills if it’s used properly. You can install the device in about 30 minutes or a trained professional installer can do it for you for an additional $119.00.

According to Nest Labs, the creators of the device, the average savings during its first three years of use in a single family home will be $520.00. To learn more, visit their website, or any Lowe’s Hardware Store.

Control Your Lights and Electrical Appliances with Belkin’s WeMo

Belkin has introduced a quick and easy way to automate your home and control lights and electrical appliances using your iPhone or iPad. WeMo is a line of modular, Wi-Fi-based products that transform your iOS device into a feature-packed remote control.

The WeMo Switch ($49.99 each) is a small adapter that gets plugged into a standard electrical outlet. You can then plug in any electrical device, such as a light or small appliance, into the adapter and control it from anywhere using a proprietary app on your iOS mobile device. The WeMo Switch is fully programmable, so that you can set a specific schedule from the convenience of your iPhone or iPad. The WeMo Switch + Motion ($99.99 each) offers the same functionality as the basic WeMo Switch, but includes a motion sensor that activates a plugged in device (such as a lamp) whenever motion occurs within the room.

What’s nice about this home automation system is that it’s modular and scalable. You can buy just one WeMo Switch or multiple switches and/or Switch + Motion adapters, and then place them throughout your home. Each device can be controlled separately, or they can be used in tandem in conjunction with your iOS mobile device.

The WeMo system is available from Apple Stores, Verizon Stores, or directly from the Belkin website. Setting up the system takes just minutes, as long as your home has a wireless network.

SmartHome Offers a More Elaborate Home Automation System

SmartHome has developed three do-it-yourself home automation systems, ranging in price from $385.00 to $925.00, that can be managed using your iPhone or iPad, and used to control lights, appliances, and security cameras while also continuously monitoring motion, window, and door sensors throughout your home.

Whether you’re in your home and too lazy to get up from the couch and turn on or off a light, or you’re halfway around the world on a business trip or vacation, using one of these systems, you can control lights and appliances. Or if someone enters your home, the system will alert you immediately of their presence.

Use a Wireless Camera to Transform Your iOS Device into a Baby/Pet Monitor

Several companies have developed extremely portable and wireless cameras that can stream full-color video and sound via the Internet to your iPhone or iPad. Using specialized apps, these cameras can be used as a baby monitor between the nursery and whichever room in you’re in, or they can be used to keep tabs on your infant (and their caretaker) while you’re at work.

These same devices can also function as pet monitors and allow you to watch over your pets while you’re away from home, or as an added level of security to monitor your home when you’re not there. As long as you have a wireless network, any of these cameras can be set up in minutes and begin streaming a video feed to your iOS mobile device using the Internet.

Priced at $129.95, the iZon Remote Room Monitor from Stem Innovationis an app-controlled video camera. It offers live and full-color video and accompanying audio that can be watched in real-time and/or automatically recorded and stored online using a private (password protected) online service.

The iBaby Monitor from iBaby Labs ($199.95) is another highly portable and wireless video camera that can be controlled using a proprietary iPhone/iPad app. What sets this camera apart, however, is that from your iOS device, you can control the camera’s movement remotely, and tilt it up, down, left, or right.

You can also set the camera to automatically follow the motion of whatever subject is in the room. Plus, through your iPhone or iPad, you can talk to your child remotely. The iBaby Monitor has an infrared night vision mode, so you’ll be able to see in the dark while your baby is asleep.

Full Home Security Can Be Controlled from Your iOS Mobile Device

Several well-established home security companies, including ADT, offer systems that can now be controlled remotely using an iOS mobile device. However, cable TV/Internet and VoIP service provider Xfinity (Comcast) has also launched a complete home security and automation system.

Using the Xfinity Home system, which must be professionally installed, you can remotely turn on or off the home alarm system, be alerted if someone enters your home, access a home security camera video feed, plus control your electrical appliances that are connected to the system. The service includes 24-hour monitoring of the security alarm, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, as well as the system’s window, door and motion sensors.

Xfinity Home offers three levels of security and service that are somewhat customizable. The Basic and Preferred systems are priced at $199.00, but also requires a $29.95 per month or $39.95 per month monitoring fee, respectively. The Premier plan ($499.00) requires an ongoing $49.95 per month monitoring fee. To learn more about this home security and automation system, call (855) 709-1198 or visit http://http://www.comcast.com/homesecurity/features.htm.

Using Your iPhone/iPad to Track Your Pet

The SpotLight GPS Locator ($99.99) is a small, lightweight GPS tracking device that connects to your dog’s collar. You can then track the position of your dog or cat remotely from your iOS mobile device using a specialized app. If your pet manages to get loose often, this is a quick and easy solution for tracking and finding him.

SpotLight GPS is one of several products that are available that offer remote GPS tracking capabilities using your iOS mobile device. Some, however, require a monthly monitoring fee, but offer additional features that make recovering your lost pet easier.

Your iPad or iPhone Can Control Your TV, Too

From the App Store, you’ll discover a handful of apps that can transform your iPhone or iPad into a feature-packed remote control for your television and/or home theater system. If you have a TiVo Premier DVR, for example, a specialized (and free) app is available to remotely control and program this device. While you’re away from home, use the TiVo app to schedule program recordings or look up programming schedules.

The free Remote app from Apple allows you to use your iOS mobile device to control your Apple TV or the iTunes software that’s running on your computer as you’re listening to music or watching video content, such as TV show episodes or movies.

Meanwhile, the optional L5 Remote ($59.00) is a small device that connects to your iPhone or iPad and works in conjunction with a proprietary app to serve as a programmable remote control for all of your television, stereo, and other home theater equipment.

Have More Control Over Your Life from Anywhere

Using apps, your iPhone or iPad can help you manage your contacts, to-do lists, and schedule. However, with optional accessories, your iOS mobile device will help you take control of your home, plus keep tabs of your kids or pets. The capabilities of what’s possible using these accessories is constantly evolving, yet it’s becoming increasingly more affordable to purchase and utilize them without having to be a technological genius in order to set them up and make them work.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020