DIY Home Automation Apps and Accessories for your iPad

Apple’s iPad can wear many hats. It’s a game machine, a music player, an ebook reader, a notebook, and an entertainment device. It’s so advanced that you can even use it to control your entire home. That’s right, the iPad integrates with several different home automation systems, allowing you to control elements like lighting, temperature, alarm systems, and more.

If you’re feeling ambitious and want to get your hands dirty with a serious DIY project, check out a few of these systems and apps that will turn your house into a home straight from the future.

Nest ($249) – Nest is an advanced thermostat system that integrates with your current heating and air conditioning solution. Nest is quick and easy to program, and it is guaranteed to save you money within days using its habit learning capabilities. When you are out of the home, you can use the accompanying mobile app to connect to your thermostat from anywhere, to turn it down or up based on your preferences. Nest may be pricy, but it is a gorgeous temperature solution that’s sure to make your life easier.


Philips Hue ($199.95) – The Hue lighting system from Philips allows you to control your home lighting environment with your iPad or your iPhone. For $200, you get a starter pack of three connected light bulbs and a bridge controller, which connects the bulbs to your home WiFi system. Your iDevice can be used to turn the bulbs to any color of the rainbow, and you can even create light settings based on your favorite photos. The accompanying app comes with several different lighting schemes for different moods, and the bulbs can even be used to help you wake up in the morning.


Crestron – Crestron makes a wide range of home automation systems, including the Total Home Technology set up that streamlines and simplifies the technology in your home for both comfort and convenience. With the system you can control blinds, lights, alarm, temperature, and your home theater. You can use the Crestron Mobile Pro G to transform your iPad or iPhone into a touchpanel that is able to control all of your home automation features. Crestron isn’t a cheap solution, but it is the ultimate in luxury.


Savant – Savant is another company that designs total home automation systems. With Savant, you can use your iPad or your iPhone to control lighting, climate, security, audio/video components, digital media, and more. Savant boasts the world’s most integrated Apple-based control system, and it was the first company to produce native home control apps for Apple’s devices. This is another system that will cost you some serious cash, but if you’re looking for a complete home automation solution, it’s a great choice.


Belkin WeMo ($49.99) – Want home automation on the cheap? If so, the Belkin WeMo is the accessory that you’re looking for. The WeMo plugs in to your existing light sockets, turning them in to smart sockets. You can turn your lights on and off remotely, or turn on the TV when you’re out of the house. You can also set a timer to turn lights on and off. The WeMo uses your iPhone or your iPad and connects to your home WiFi, allowing you to access your lighting from anywhere. There’s a switch and a motion detector (which sell for $99 together) allowing you to trigger lights and other electronics with motion.


About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli

  • Bill McLaughlin

    I would point out that Crestron is NOT DIY. It is sold and installed only by overpriced high end audio shops. If you want DIY home audio try HTD or Sonos….

    • Aaron Green

      Actually Crestron can only be installed by approved Crestron integrators, I doubt very much there are any audio shops that would supply this to anyone but an approved integrator. Anyway, CommandFusion’s iViewer kills any of those solutions.

    • Chad Krisher

      I would say that you definitely get what you pay for with technology, calling Crestron overpriced is a testament to a lack of experience with the industry and products. It’s is definitely not DIy, and also should not be viewed in the same catogory as these off the shelf toys.

  • CodeSmoke

    This article is incorrect. Creston and savant require one of their techs to install the system plus every time you want to add something you again have to pay for them to do it. This is also true with the bundles you get from alarm and cable companies.

    If you are looking for a DIY home automation look at Micasa Verde’s Vera (great support forums) or home seer.

    I personally use Vera and it is awesome. Allows you to control everything form temerture, door locks, blinds, lights, cameras, fans, appliances, alarm system, and much more. The great thing about this route is it lets you start out with a few items and add more every now and them. Vera uses Z-Wave so no wires to run, and you can use any manufacture, just look for the z-wave logo and it works.

  • Steve Charnock

    Some of these apps are great. One that’s not mentioned is Loxone home automation system – that integrates heating, lighting, blinds, music, home cinema, everything (and comes in at a lot lower price…). Works on iPads, iPhones and Android too.